May 9, 2009 by Ellen Stimson in Eloise, Love

Eloise has had it. We have upped the pain meds and are giving her all we can. She is droopy and her tail is wagging less and less. Last night she didn’t want cheese for the first time maybe ever. Our sweet vet, Rob, who has been there in the middle of the night for a colicky lamb, pumped Pippi’s stomach when she got the cheese laced with Eloise’s narcotics, made room in his tiny office for all five of us when we said goodbye to Sophie our eighteen year old tabby cat amid tears and funny stories, will come to our house at 2 o’ clock on Tuesday. Hannah will be home from college and Eli will come home early from school. The pain in Eloise’s leg would make getting into the car an ordeal and she has never liked going to the vet anyway. So instead he will come here and she will have scrambled eggs for breakfast and cheese and smoked turkey for lunch.

We have a houseful of company coming for Benjamin’s graduation beginning on Thursday. And there is no way she should have to endure that chaos. She doesn’t feel good. And all that company can make an old girl a little grumpy even when she feels just fine.

The question of when is the right time has been consuming us. We don’t want to wait until one of her fragile bones breaks and she faces intolerable pain for even a little while before we can get her to the vet. But neither do we want to shortchange her or ourselves of any of this last precious time. This question is just really hard. Waiting too long because it is better or easier for us would be wrong. How do you know? We have wondered this again and again. Making this decision for a beloved friend who cannot tell you her own thoughts on the matter is an awesome and painful responsibility. And her mind is perfectly clear. She communicates with ease just as she always has. I wish I could ask her about her thoughts on euthanasia, or whether she is ready. But of course I can’t. We must rely on our own values and beliefs and so must Eloise.

Last night when she didn’t want the cheese and then this morning when going outside took several minutes to accomplish the answer began to seem clear. A little while later she rallied when Eli came home from an overnight party. She limped to the door to greet him and then mooched some of his lunch just like old times. But now she is asleep in a heap, sighing heavily. She is counting on us to do this hard thing……


  • Jamie

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine the feelings you all are going through–knowing what lies ahead. That Eloise, she’s a lucky, lucky girl. I’ll be thinking about you.

  • starrlife

    Oh Ellen… so sad, so hard…. My vet would take my calls so calmly and patiently as I grilled him, when, when? He’d say “you will know when it’s time. He will tell you”. And I felt like he did. It did not make the doing any easier and I still grieve. Hugs and more hugs….

  • katiedid

    i am so sorry my friend

  • Library Lady

    I’m so sorry that there will be such a shadow on this week for all of you. But I’m proud to know people who love their friend well enough to spare her intolerable pain and suffering. Give her a hug for me, I already miss her.

  • Mighty Morphin' Mama

    Oh dear Mrs. P, my heart is aching for you. I am so sorry for your loss, you will be in my heart all week and especially Tuesday.

    You were in my thoughts yesterday as I think of you as my blog mom:) I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day with your family nearby, even with this loss in your heart.

  • GutsyWriter

    It’s so sad to think that we can’t communicate with words to our pets, but as you say, they let us know. Their eyes must tell us when it’s time. So sorry for Eloise and all of you. I feel the love.

  • Abigail Mae Hudson

    You have my deepest sympathy.
    Saying goodbye to a beloved friend is one of the hardest things we must do in life.
    You are doing it with love and integrity. You and your Eloise have been very lucky. You have found that deep love and connection that some never find.
    Bless you my dear

  • Bia


    I wish I had your email . . .

    I wish I lived nearby so I could bring you something . . . anything . . . some homemade bread, a bottle of red wine, a box of tissues, a statue of St. Francis of Assisi . . .

    Even though we’ve never formally met, I think of you as a friend and I am so sorry about Eloise.

    I will offer prayers for you, your family, and dear Eloise today. Please know that.

  • starrlife

    Thinking about you and Eloise today- a peaceful passing I hope. Hugs again- tears again.

  • carrster

    Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Eloise. I went through a similar thing with a cat a couple years ago and it's just so hard…so so freaking hard.

    My thoughts are with you & your family today. Remember all the good times that Eloise gave you. It's amazing to have a wonderful pet like that.

  • Mighty Morphin' Mama

    Thinking of you today.

    And yes, he came home early this morning!

  • Beesknees

    It is such a shame that they don’t live as long as we do. This is really hard stuff….
    Blessings to you and your family

  • Molls

    I have thought of you guys off and on all day.
    I hope it was gentle and that all of you are feeling the peace of having done a hard thing well

  • Bia

    Just checking in . . . just thinking of you . . .


  • Bia

    A new day . . . hope you are well.


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