Still Waters: Good night, sweet Ebony

Ebony went to sleep on Tuesday evening. She was 13 years old, older than any dog I had ever had. Most of my sweet canine friends pass away by age 12.

Ebony had been having more trouble getting around but was still doing pretty well for a dog her age. Last week she didn’t want to eat, which is a sure sign something is wrong. She got to the point where she didn’t even want her favorite snackies. And she was breathing harder than before.

So I took her to the wonderful folks at Alpine Veterinary Clinic to see if there was something I needed to do for her. She enjoyed sticking her head out of the car window on the ride over.

It would be our last ride together.

That was late afternoon on Tuesday. The X-ray showed masses of cancer in her lungs. She was not going to get better. Although I hadn’t taken her in that evening with the purpose of putting her to sleep, I knew it was going to have to happen, if not that day, soon.

I called Sue whose daughter Casey had owned Ebony before I got her in 2012. One of Casey’s sons was allergic, and she needed a new home for her black lab/pit “pup.” She gave me Casey’s number, I left a message, and then Casey called back and said she and the boys would come over to say goodbye. By the time they arrived Ebony, or “Ebber” as I called her sometimes, was asleep but had not been given the fatal injections. We all cried as we petted her black fur. I appreciated their company.

They stayed in the waiting room while the final injections were given and Ebony went to sleep for good. I petted her again and told her, as I had many times, what a good girl she was.

She had been a good girl most of the time. When she first entered the family, she and my Freckles and Boca Burger didn’t get along, and there was a period of time I had to keep them separated until they sorted things out, but by the time Freckles passed away in 2013 and then Boca last September, Ebony had become part of the family. She and Boca never were bosom buddies, but they had grown “accustomed to your face.” I think Ebony was probably lonely after Boca died. She became more clingy, always following me into whatever room I was in and reminding me she was there and still needed attention and love.

The weekend before her death we took a good nap together on the couch.

I have no regrets. I am glad I could give Ebony a new home when she needed one. She was a big stubborn dog who didn’t do much of anything she didn’t want to, but one thing she wanted to do was to love.

That is the most wonderful characteristic about dogs. They were created to love us. In my opinion, they were God’s best creation, and I am grateful for the many four-legged (and sometimes three-legged) friends who have shared my life over the years.

And although it rips my heart out and leaves a gaping hole every time I have to say goodbye to one of my canine companions, I will probably always have them, as long as I am able.

For the first time since probably 1989 I have no furry friend in my house. It has been so incredibly lonely the past few nights, and will continue to be, with no one to greet me when I come home, at whatever hour that might be.

I find myself checking the water dish or the snackie stash to see if I need more, and then I remember there is no one who needs them now. I expect Ebber to push her nose against the bathroom door to come in for a pet or to see her sleeping in the doorway, on guard, when I get up in the middle of the night.

I miss my big, lanky sweet friend.

I know there will be other fur faces who will need me in the future, and my house will once again enjoy the presence of canine companions.

For now it is quiet and lonely.

As I have said before I firmly believe our furry friends will be reunited with us in heaven someday, and it will be quite a reunion with fur flying and slobbery kisses.

I can hardly wait.