Speaking on behalf of pet owners everywhere, I can say with confidence the tremendous joy and unconditional love we receive from our fur babies is worth the heartbreak we feel when they cross the rainbow bridge. I recently experienced the emotional rollercoaster of losing a cherished pet.
Up until last week I was the pet-parent to two Whippets, 13 year old Gracie and 8 year old Ella.
I'd had both of them since they were puppies and looked forward to more than a dozen years apiece of love and companionship.
Gracie was the Alpha-Dog when we got Ella, but that soon changed! We affectionately called Ella "Demon Dog" because of all the mischief she got into. That dog had personality-plus!
It didn't take long for Gracie and Ella to become thick as thieves! They did everything together, went everywhere together - if one had to go to the vet, we brought the other one with for 'moral support!" **Furry-Fact: Whippets in general suffer from Separation Anxiety!
This past August, shortly before Gracie's 13th birthday, we got a terrible scare. We'd been monitoring a slight heart murmur for years, but seemingly out of nowhere it worsened. Gracie was having such trouble breathing we thought she wasn't going to make it! When I posted this on social media, I was overwhelmed with the number of people recommending that we take her to see Veterinary Cardiologist Dr. Michael Luethy at MedVet in Chicago. We rushed her to their ER the next morning. After she was seen, Dr. Luethy thoroughly explained her heart condition and the medications he was prescribing to treat it. Thankfully Gracie responded incredibly well to the meds and was acting like a healthy senior dog!
Even though Gracie was on the mend, in my mind I had to prepare for the inevitable. She turned 13 in November and the life span of a healthy Whippet is about 14 or 15 anyway. I promised myself I would keep things going as long as she had a good quality of life. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen a couple months down the road. We noticed Ella making odd sneezing sounds, and her left eye seemed to be "lazy," and not quite straight. We eventually took her to Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove for a CT to see what was going on. The results were so catastrophic it was mind-numbing.
Ella had a cancerous nasal tumor that had spread behind her eye, into her brain and through the bony tissue in her jaw. It was so large, it was inoperable. All we could do was give her pain medication until it was time. We were devastated! She was only 8! I cried until I thought there were no tears left. I was wrong. In just 2 weeks we had to make the difficult decision. I would not let my precious girl suffer. On January 19, 2017 Ella crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
We were heartbroken, but Gracie was lost! Here I had been preparing for Gracie - instead I was desperately trying to comfort her after losing her buddy. There was only one thing to do. Find a new companion! We were fortunate that Ella's "first mom" had a 3 year old female Whippet she was willing to part with - to ease all of our broken hearts. Meet Sassi!
This little brindle bundle of joy is so sweet, so loving and so respectful of Gracie, who once again has become the Alpha Dog!
We will always love Ella - I feel her presence throughout my home, and along side me when I walk Gracie, as if to say, "Don't worry mom-you gave me a great life, I'm no longer in pain, it's going to be okay. Take care of Sassi now!" ***Fabulous Furry Fact - Sassi's father is Ella's half-brother! You figure it out!
The next chapter begins in the Circle of Life.