Hannah's Last Days
by Vicki Gentilman
January 10, 2014 - Yesterday, after two months of Hannah having the lead to go where ever she wanted to go and her choosing to stay within the mobile home park, she chose to turn right and go out the entrance and down the street towards Der Dutchman and the community of Pinecraft. This is the way we walked in the afternoons and evenings when we first moved here in August - the end of October.
I called Billy to have him meet us (with the car) at the restaurant and join us for the walk. Hannah's head was up, tail wagging, sniffing the air and ground with gusto. I wanted him to see this and remember it. He took the jazzy and I took the walker and we walked where she wanted...Hannah and Billy, Mildred and I.
When we did the old route, and she turned for home, she hit the ground. Fighting for breath she rested for about 1/2 hour. It was only about 1/8 to 1/4 of a mile back to the car but it took her 5 stops and over an hour to make it back to the car.
So, last night I dreamed we went the other direction, our usual morning walk, to the bridge and the duck pond on the other side where Hannah watched baby ducks become adolescents. I woke up and she was "prancing" in her sleep next to me...she prances like a Tennessee Walking horse when she is excited. I had a feeling where we would end up this morning. So I wasn't surprised when she turned to the left and headed for the duck pond. It is a 1/2 mile walk to a Baptist church, a right turn up a hill and over a small bridge.
So I called Billy and told him to come join us. Before he got there she had to lay down at the top of the small hill...for about 15 minutes. But she was happy to see he had joined us again and they went over the bridge together, stopping to watch three otters playing (Hannah's first sight of the otters!) and then down the other side where all of the ducks were. THIS was a God thing -- we drive by that pond at least 5 times a week and for months there have been NO birds...even the ducks! But there they were, all of them.
Hannah wagged her tail and collapsed at the foot of the jazzy...panting and fighting for air. It took over an hour to get her over that one small hill. But we got her there. I had Billy drive her around so she could sniff the air (in reality it was because she was having a hard time breathing) until I could hear her breathing become normal.
So...Monday morning I am calling the vet. I want her death to be painless and easy for her...easy for Billy eventually. We have had a couple of wonderful extra weeks with her and I did get some videos that should help him remember her being happy to the end.
A few days later:
The passing was peaceful and Mildred showed us the truth about death. She said goodbye and was ready to leave. She knows Hannah's spirit was already with Patches, Harley and Annie -- her three best friends. Hannah was viewing elephants and platypus and all the other creatures I was telling her to say hi to. She was already eating all the forbidden foods she couldn't have here because of allergies. She was drinking the purest water, full of energy, no pain and a brand new totally non decaying body.
When Mildred and I got back to the house, and got Billy settled in, we went for a walk. It was the loneliest walk! And it occurred to me...I have lost Hannah twice! How did I miss that? I lost the use of her after training her for 2 years, due to her hip problem. I thought I had dealt with that grief. But...guessing not.