Hannah “Banana”

With tears streaming down my face, I just laid down your story of Sprite, Pepsi, Griffen and your family. Thank you for having the courage to write this book!

Mark, you get it! You know the incomparable joy of the love of a dog and the inconsolable grief of a best friend lost. In your book, it is palpable. My heart goes out to you and your family in your loss of Sprite.

I had my beloved black cocker spaniel, Hannah “Banana”, for 14.5 years. My husband said she wasn’t the brightest dog, but she loved me totally and was loyal to the end.

She was there to greet me every morning with her big brown eyes and her svelte, sausage-like body. She ran with her head held high, carrying her bone or sniffing the air.

One of her favorite games was to chase squirrels. Oh how they loved to taunt her! She never got even close but she thought she was quite the huntress anyway.

She ate bees. Who the heck knows why? She barked at butterflies and ate anything that wasn’t nailed down. She hated dogs but loved all our cats. She even rolled over to “nurse” a kitten, though she had no milk! One day, we found a momma cat and 5 kittens. She was so curious about the kittens and was so gentle with them.

We called her Hannah “Banana” because she was so silly and Hannah the “Wonder Dog” when she did ANYthing that looked clever.

She waited patiently by the back door for me to come home every night. My husband and kids called her my shadow because she followed me everywhere.

As the years went by, she began to slow down. She didn’t like to go down the steps much and hated the rain. A spaniel who didn’t like water!

One morning, when she was 8, she couldn’t lift her head and was in obvious pain. I rushed her to the vet. X-rays revealed she had a slipped disc and pinched vertebra in her neck. Her vet couldn’t do the surgery because it was too delicate. He referred her to Washington State University for an expensive surgery. I knew we couldn’t afford it but I just couldn’t lose her! In tears, I called my folks. They volunteered to pay for more than HALF of the expensive procedure, which was such a blessing! She was like a new dog and lived for 6.5 more years.

In the end, she was deaf, had macular degeneration, was riddled with arthritis, had hypothyroidism, became increasingly incontinent, and had to be carried up and down the steps. Her once beautiful black, soft fur was dull and patchy. Eight of her teeth were extracted. She slept more and more.

I prayed that she would just go in her sleep. She didn’t.

Mark, Geoff, Lindsay and I knew that her quality of life was deteriorating. So this was it. I chose the day and the time of her death. This had never happened to me before. Before I had made these decisions in the heat of a crisis or accident, when there was no other humane choice.

I too felt as if I was executing her. She looked to me for comfort. She trusted me so completely and, in return, I betrayed her trust by planning her death. I felt like a traitor!

Ginnie, her vet, came to our home on May 7, 2005, for the final visit. Hannah Banana’s life ended quickly and peacefully, surrounded by those she loved.

She had laid down in front of our fireplace on her favorite robe, which she made into a “nest” in her basket, every night. We buried her on our friend’s property, overlooking a valley, in the shade of a plum tree.

A week later, I graduated from college. Two weeks afterwards, our daughter graduated from high school. The next day we moved to the other side of the state and I jumped into a new career. I haven’t been back to visit her grave since.

I don’t think I have dealt with her death very well at all. I have carried this guilt for over two years now.

My husband, Mark, who loves your show, read your book and cried. And he is not the animal lover. He gave the book to me and kept hounding me to read it. I was afraid to read it. It took me awhile to read it.

However, reading your book has allowed me to grieve the loss of my beloved Hannah and has helped me resume the journey to healing.

And it has given me the chance to share my story of Hannah, the Wonder Dog, with other folks who get it.

Thanks, so much, Mark. God bless you and your heart.

Charlotte from WA

One Response

  1. Mary Ellen Cobb Says:

    Oh Charlotte!! What a beautiful tribute you made for Hannah’s memory!!! Your letter was so elequent! It brought back so many wonderful memories of our beloved Hannah…We felt as if she was “ours” also!!! We did the grieving years ago but the love we had for her lingers on and on. Thank you, my darling Charlotte, for such a beautiful letter….I love you so very much! Mama