Friday morning August third, I am awakened at 2:30 am by Iko’s cries of pain, discomfort and distress. She can’t get up from the floor and when I help her stand, she walks in restless circles. I know this is a sign of pain and I give her a pain pill wrapped in sandwich meat. She calms down and rests on the floor again, so I go back to bed.
Unable to sleep, I hear Iko again at 3:30am. I help her up and she resumes her restless walking in circles. When she eases herself back down on the floor, her breath is ragged and I sit next to her with one hand between her shoulder blades and one hand on her hips. She calms down a little bit and breathes more comfortably and evenly.
At 5:30am, I had just fallen back to sleep when I am awakened by Iko’s cries one more time. She can’t walk very well and leans against me when she stands, I help her drink a little water but she doesn’t want to eat. I take her outside to pee, but she just stands there and looks at me blankly. We go back inside and she tries to lie down on her side but something is really twinging her. As her head gets close to the ground, she jerks herself back upright. Her eyes start to close and her head lists toward the ground again only to be jerked up before she is fully horizontal. I hold up her head at an angle below vertical but above horizontal – above the point where she always jerks herself upright again. She settles into a comfortable vertical position, so at 6:15 I give her another pain pill and go take a shower and pack my final items for my trip today.
When I am ready to drive to the airport at 7:15, I see that Chris has taken Iko outside where I find her lying on her side in the cool dirt in our backyard. I’m relieved that she looks comfortable and is getting some rest. She lifts her head to look at me and I hold her face in my hands, and give her a ‘scritchy’ – petting her neck and ears and head as I’ve done many times for over 13 years. I speak to her out loud, telling her I’m leaving and I’ll be back on Thursday. I tell her not to wait for me. If it is her time and she wants to go before I get home, that is okay with me. I will miss her but I know she is always with me, not just in my heart but as an angel dog who can visit me at will. We are connected forever in our love. I want to make her transition as easy as possible and don’t want her to feel anything holding her back from doing what she needs to do. I love you, I tell her. Goodbye.
At 8am, somewhere between Chico to Sacramento, I start crying. I know I won’t see Iko again, she has chosen her time to make her transition. I so wanted to be with her but I respect that her soul knows the ‘right’ time and way for her to go. I accept what is but I still cry all the way to the airport.
At 3:30pm Chris calls to tell me that he checked on Iko at lunchtime and she wasn’t moving. She couldn’t eat or drink and when he gave her a pill wrapped in ham (her favorite) she threw it back up. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach, so much do I ache to be with her and love her and comfort her. I’m exhausted from lack of sleep, stress, and grief. I go through the motions of the rest of my day, but I feel like an automaton.
Around 6:15pm Chris updates me that Iko is still alive but not moving on her own at all. It’s clear that her time with us is very short. He makes an appointment with the vet for 11:30 Saturday morning.
On Saturday August fourth at 10am, my class in LA begins a 20 minute meditation. During the meditation, I astral travel to be with Iko. I sit with her on the floor of our living room and I can see a bubble of gold light surrounding her. I add the energy of my love to this bubble and call in everyone who has ever loved Iko to be with us. I call in my guides and her guides and any angels that may be available. I feel so peaceful inside, so focused on my love for her and my connection to her.
After the meditation ends, I can’t focus on anything happening in class. So, a little after 11am I leave the room to text Chris that I am thinking of him. Then I choke up as I leave a voicemail telling him I am with him in spirit. I know he will be the best support he can be for Iko. I wish I could be there with him so he doesn’t have to say goodbye alone. I return to class but stand at the back of the room, sending love and light and peace and ease to Iko and Chris.
At 11:30, Chris tells me that Iko died on her own. They were parked outside the vet’s office and he was spending a few final, quiet minutes with her. Her breathing was slowing way down and he wasn’t sure if she even knew he was there with her. Then she stretched her legs out long, gave a little shudder and was gone. She had the smooth, easy, peaceful transition that we had hoped for her. Peace filled my body and I felt all the tension of six months of waiting and worrying drain from me. It was done. She was gone. I expected to fall apart and start crying, but I simply absorbed the news and accepted it.
My sweet baby girl is in heaven.