We are very sorry to let you know that our oldest hospice girl has died. Claire came into rescue almost four years ago, and every single day that she was with us was joyous. She was surrendered to a crowded, high-kill shelter by her family at the age of 20, and she brought with her a long list of health issues - including an ulcerated and slightly bulging eye, limited sight in both eyes, kidney problems, a hind leg that would simply collapse on her, and an irregular heartbeat. We weren't sure how much time we would get with Claire, but we knew we could fill every single second with love.
Claire thrived in her foster home. She hated being handled by anyone and would snarl and threaten at the vet's office, and growl and bark when she arrived at the groomer's, but she adored her foster mom, her canine friends and her feline companions. She was a patient guardian whenever new foster dogs arrived. She would give up her bed to whoever wanted to get comfy, and she even allowed new arrivals to curl up with her. She always appeared to be watching everyone's actions from the dog beds and blankets in the living room that her family called "Claire's Corner," and she seemed to understand when a new foster arrived needing extra attention, or even just extra cuddles.
Claire's many medical problems made her a perfect candidate for our hospice program. She was not stable enough to be spayed, to get a much-needed dental, or to try to surgically repair her hind leg. Instead, we offered her palliative care and strived to make her comfortable in any way that we could. Her foster mom would walk the length of the back yard with Claire several times a night (as long as it wasn't too cold, or raining, or snowing.) She called it "walking the runway," and, although we can't imagine what the neighbors must have thought at hearing "there goes America's next top model," and "you go girl" and "you're the best little girl in the whole wide world" almost every night, we'd like to think that Miss Claire understood that she was taking those walks to make her little leg stronger. Month after month tough little Claire stuck with us but none of us were surprised that little Claire did not want to leave her beloved foster mama.
Very recently, Claire, who always took so much joy in eating, became less interested in food. Her foster mom boiled chicken, cooked hamburgers, made spaghetti with a little olive oil on it, and enticed Claire Bear with table food, and butterscotch krimpets (which were her favorite). But as soon as our sweet girl stopped eating her foster mom knew that her time with Claire was coming to an end. Her foster mom reached out to the vet about bringing Claire in and had the call on speaker phone so she could write down plans for the following morning's appointment.
That evening, Claire woke up from a long nap, stretched, and lifted her head, looking around - and her foster mom noticed that Claire looked like she was smiling. She went over to Claire's bed, and sat on the floor next to her. She told Claire that she must have had happy dreams to have such a pretty smile on her face, and she petted her, and told her to go back to sleep, and dream more happy dreams. She kept petting Claire, and told her that she loved her, and watched as Claire put her head down. Her foster mom kissed the top of her head, and kept petting her, and told her that she was a good girl, and that she was so loved. After a few minutes, Claire's breathing slowed, and her foster mom whispered, "I love you Claire" over and over again. Then, after a moment, Claire's breathing stopped - and her passing at that moment was completely unexpected, and preciously peaceful.
In the midst of our sorrow, we've joked that Miss Claire must have been listening to her foster mom's phone call as she discussed a trip to vet the next day, and we think our fiesty, spunky girl decided "HECK NO!" So she left this world on her own terms, in her own way, and we've found comfort, and even happiness, in that. And we hope that Claire found comfort and happiness with Senior Dog Haven and Hospice and that she knew that she was, and always will be, really and truly loved.
found @ 71 likes ON 2019-05-16 09:04:25 BY ME.ME