A Good Good-Bye

by Doranna

It never does get any easier.

But sometimes, it goes as well as it can.

This shouldn’t have surprised me, Belle being who and what she’s always been–utterly focused on being perfect.

In the middle of March, I learned of Belle’s illness and wrote her a bucket list blog.  What I didn’t anticipate was how well she’d respond to the new management.

At the time I wrote the blog, I thought we’d have a week with her–the changes had been coming so quickly even between the time of calling to make her vet appointment and taking her in, it seemed pretty inevitable.

But she did really well on the new mealtime protocol, and even better on the new supplement.  She luxuriated in her new access to the Forbidden Tripping Zones (AKA, “Sleep under mommy’s feet”) and what had been a rising edge of anxiety turned gentle.  She spent her mornings in the spring sun and her afternoons with me in the office.  Evenings she shared with the Beagles here in the office.

Hospice suited her.

It worked for me, too–quiet final days with my best princess girl.  Good days.  The only thing that truly bothered me was that I wasn’t…well, all teary-eyed and stuff.  Instead I kept smiling at her, and absorbing her presence, and enjoying her.  Didn’t seem quite right.

In the end, we got two weeks.  Each day presented subtle new changes, but nothing she found distressing.  First she stopped losing weight, and then she gained back what she’d lost in the first place.  For a couple of days, she seemed to be holding ground.  But really, she wasn’t.  And then there came a day when I knew it was close, and the next day I ambled out into the kitchen to feed her breakfast and she looked at me from her crate, and I burst into all the tears I’d been hiding.

So I knew, in the way that the heart does. 

After that I had to pull apart the pieces of the decision and second guess myself, but it turned out that everything still fit together, and after a morning of kisses from family and a chance to sleep out in the sun with her boy Beagles one more time, Belle’s Auntie Vet came to visit us and Belle quickly and quietly slipped away.

Good girl, BelleBelle.  Still perfect, after all that.

One last sunny snooze. Might not get any better than that.

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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21 Responses to A Good Good-Bye

  1. Heather Dryer says:

    A beautiful good-bye that has my screen all blurry again. Hugs.

  2. Teresa Bigbee says:

    Beautifully said and something we go through every time we are faced with this situation. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but I truely believe that the last greatest gift we can give them is exactly what you’ve done. Peaceful final days filled with love and a quiet painless sleep.

  3. Pam Smith says:

    Once again I’m crying for you and Belle. What a beautiful tribute to a great dog! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    What Heather said. You turned her anxiety and distress around and gave her a couple of peaceful, loving weeks in which she felt secure. A good hospice experience, what it’s supposed to be. Could not have been done better.

    Oh yeah. More tears.

  5. Mona Karel says:

    There never is a good good bye. Sometimes a bit of relief for her sake but it doesn’t lighten our hearts.

  6. KarenJG says:

    No, it never gets easier. But there are good ways and bad ways for them to leave us, and this was a better way than most. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  7. Doranna says:

    Writing this blog was a purely selfish endeavor, I freely admit. Such things help me keep my head on straight. But then, that’s why I’m a writer in the first place–!

  8. Heather Dryer says:

    I haven’t done it in years, but I used to write poetry (probably really bad poetry) to express my feelings when sad or upset (or mooning over some guy in high school). We all have to have our outlets, and sharing with us is a good one, in my opinion. That’s what friends are for, even ones who live half way across the country and we’ve never met in person. HUGS.

  9. Kendra says:

    When you posted your bucket list for Belle, it helped me so much, come to terms, with my elderly German Shepherd’s situation. I continually thanked you for it as i cleaned up his inside mdidn’tes, feeling Right about it instead of all mixed up cause i didn’t want to look at what was coming head on. And then things came to a head for 2 long days and Nothing was right Or clear. He fought so hard to hang on, but he lost his sanity. One of the hardest ways to go for all involved. But ended finally. Such a traumatic ending. But your entry today is what I’ve missed since then. To remember his Good times! Thank you!

  10. Kendra says:

    messes not mdidn’tes

  11. Jeanne says:

    I have always been grateful that my dogs and cats have made it very plain when it was time to let them go. It doesn’t make it easier, but it does make it possible. Each one (if they didn’t help me by making their own decision during the night) was held in my arms until the end, and I remember them with both tears and smiles.

    I hope that you mostly smile when thinking of Belle.

  12. Doranna says:

    Kendra, I’m SO glad. I hope you can always remember the good things–let those overlay the very difficult time you’ve had.

    Jeanne, yes. My dogs have always made it very clear to me. The hard part has always been the days leading up to it–as in this case, worrying whether I can make things work as well as possible, especially given that there’s usually a third party involved (vet). I’m really grateful that for Belle, they did.

  13. Marilyn says:

    I am so glad that Belle had a good couple of weeks! My Sunny got six weeks from diagnosis to leaving us. Belle was, indeed a “belle,” and a beautiful girl, and I’m glad things went gently for her.

  14. Doranna says:


    Six weeks is great…I knew right from the start that we wouldn’t have that long. As soon as the vet saw her and all the pieces came together, combined with the rapidity of the changes in the days between making the appointment and going in…

    Well, I’m glad we had two.

  15. Robert says:

    What a blessing to have this time of grace, a time for that special sharing. Thank you so much for sharing this time with us. To pass your last times with those you love and who love you, that surely is the way to go.

  16. Ilona says:

    My condolences to you and the family on losing such a perfect friend. She obviously went with a glad heart to have known the love you gave her.

  17. Doranna says:

    I need to find some sort of “like” plug in so I can show my appreciation for each and every post here…

  18. Sue Farrell says:

    Belle was one very lucky dog—not only did she have a wonderful family that loved her and will keep her in their hearts forever, she has had her life recorded in your elegant writing that has made her so real to those of us that never met her that we also will remember her fondly.

  19. doranna says:

    Disqus has apparently killed all my beloved comments. I’m working on it…

    • doranna says:

      I reply to me! The comments are all still there, behind the scenes. Will just have to see if I can get them to show up. And get rid of the “around the web” thing down there.

  20. Patty says:

    I waited to read this..didn’t want to cry. Lovely, last days! But hard. Best.

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