I lost my best friend of 14-years on Halloween, and the resulting anguish has been unbearable. Tika was the most loyal and dearest companion I could ever imagine, and I was fortunate with her in so many ways: from the fact that she lived with me her whole life to the fact that I still have her daughter.

I heard today’s segment on the Sean Hannity show where Mark spoke about Sprite. At first, I was going to change the station, but then realized it was something I was meant to hear. And I want to thank you for sharing your grief with all of us – I know how difficult it must be. I have known for several months that Tika would be passing soon – suffering that “anticipatory grief” that Mark was talking about. But like him, I had

extreme moral difficulty with being the one to make that decision – and perhaps I waited too long. Last Tuesday, before leaving for work, I pat her goodbye, and though I had gotten used to her condition, I knew the time had come for me to accept my responsibility. Fortunately, I have the ability to telecommute one day a week, and realized during my commute that the next day, Halloween, I would work from home, and spend one last day with my dear friend.

By the time I came home that evening, I learned she had been having difficulty getting up all day. But when I came home, she managed to get herself up one more time. She went outside to do her business, and then made her way to my room, where her back end just plopped down barely inside the doorway. She looked up at me as if to tell me how tired she was. Until that moment, she had never lost her smile, and I knew I had to call the Vet first thing in the morning. She then slowly laid herself down, inching her paws one at a time, until her nose was pressed in the carpet. I was heartbroken, and
knew one way or another, this had to be our last day with her.

We cooked up some hamburger for both of them, and managed with difficulty, to enjoy every last bite. By morning, she had slept what appeared to be comfortably, but obviously was in no better shape. She was showing other signs that she was at the very end, and I knew it was time to do something soon.

The last thing I wanted to do, was to take her somewhere else to pass. I cannot begin to explain how important it was to me that she be allowed to pass in a familiar environment. Plus I believed it was necessary for her daughter to see her pass at home, and not just think her Mom was taken away because she was sick. Additionally, Tika’s sudden deterioration, meant moving her at all would be incredibly painful.

Though I had made previous arrangements with her veterinarian to come to my home when the time was necessary, the sudden onset, my delayed willingness to make the decision, and the fact it was Halloween, meant neither him, nor any other Vet was able to come to my home at this critical time. The anguish & despair I suffered at that point trying to decide not just about whether or not I had to take matters into my own hands – but now that I would have to move her and have it happen in a strange environment, suffering the discomfort of being moved, making the situation even worse because I delayed and avoided my responsibility – was absolutely heart-wrenching.

I could not take her from her home. I could not take her from her daughter. I could not take her from the spot in my room, next to my desk, where she always laid when I was home. I could not move her from the spot she made the last effort to bring herself to lie. I broke down and hugged her tenderly – I thanked her for her companionship – I thanked her loyalty – I thanked her for her daughter. And most of all, I apologized for not being able to help her now, and for not being strong enough to make the decision sooner.

And then my Tika stopped breathing. And with her last effort, her mouth open and tongue draped on the floor, I saw her bring her eyes up and look right into mine – as the glow behind them slowly faded, never closing her eyes. I promised I would never forget her and hugged her tightly. I cannot say how much Tika meant to me, how much she has helped me, and how much her loss will change my life. I will NEVER forget her. Mark, thank you for sharing your experience on Sean’s show, and providing this section of your site. Given the normal topic of conversation on Sean’s show, and other coincidences I have experienced this week, I wanted to believe that Tika was trying to tell me something by listening to your story.

I look forward to getting a copy of and reading “Rescuing Sprite.”

Keith from CA

One Response

  1. Tom Johnston Says:

    My blue eyed Shadow left me Memorial Day 1997. She too was 14 and had been with me her entire life. She passed at home and God knows I still miss her!
    Still, the pain does go into remission after a while.
    Tika ia still with you. If you open your heart and mind, she will visit, probably in your dreams (As Shadow does me).
    Interestingly, each time I have rescued someone since then, Shadow has come and “given her approval”. I’m presently “owned” by 2 German Shepherds and 2 Shepherd mixes.
    If you’ve never seen “The Rainbow Bridge”, please go on-line and read it. I promise it will help.
    Bless you, my Friend.