Monday, 08 October, 2001

Farewell to Tiffany

When we got home from our trip yesterday, we found that our poodle Tiffany hadn't been eating and was very lethargic.  We rushed her to the vet, who checked her out, diagnosed dehydration and some organ dysfunction, and put her on an IV.  We had to leave her at the emergency clinic overnight and take her back to the vet this morning, where Debra stayed with her all day as her condition deteriorated.  We had to put her on a ventilator late in the afternoon, and it was soon clear that she wasn't going to get any better.  

We adopted Tiffany and her daughter Tasha about four years ago when Tiffany was 7 years old.  We took them from a home where they spent most of their time alone outside in the Arizona heat.  In return for a little attention and a comfortable place to live, Tiffany gave us her undying devotion.  She would meet us at the door every day when we got home--ecstatic to see us again.  If Debra came in when I was already home, Tiffany would run to me, as if to say "Mom's home!  We're a family again!"  She loved to play chase around the couch, or walk down to the mailbox with me.  She was terrified of thunderstorms.  She liked chasing the deer out of the yard.  (Watching a 10 pound poodle chase a full grown deer will make you laugh every time.)  When I was sad or not feeling well, she'd cuddle up and just be there, offering to help in whatever way she could.  Was the little bit of time, effort, and money on our part really fair payment for the joy she brought to us?  I'm not so sure, but she certainly seemed to think so.  No matter what happened there she was, looking up at us with those adoring eyes.

We only had Tiffany for a little over four years, but she meant the world to us.  She lay there on the table in the vet's office, fully alert, pleading with her eyes for us to make it better.  We cried for a while, telling her that we wanted to, but were powerless to help.  Asking the vet to administer that shot was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but watching as whatever it was killed her slowly and painfully would have been infinitely worse, and unimaginably cruel.

I'm sad today, and I'm going to be sad for a good long while.