Astrid Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

...continued...  Astrid's final journey to the Rainbow Bridge. This is not for the faint of heart, I go into detail how I experienced the death of our beloved Astrid. 

That evening when I got home Astrid was breathing very heavily; her eyes looked confused, tired and frightened. I felt in my heart it was time soon. I asked her if she was thirsty, and her eyes said 'yes' (she always had a way of opening her eyes to say 'yes' for potty/kibbles/water). So I brought a little bowl, she could not raise her head to drink, so I gave her water via a dropper - and she drank.

I got a pillow and laid with her, I told her she was a beautiful girl. I told her she was a good girl. I thanked her for sharing so many fun times with us over the past nine years. I told her it was okay, it was okay to go. I stroked her face, played with her ears an looked into her eyes. I was laying right next to her, just being 'with' her.

Her breathing was deep and heavy, it seemed as if she just could not get enough air. From what I had read, her body was shutting down. The organs were no longer running at 100%, this is why she was not able to walk without wobbling, stand for very long, and why she did not want any food. She was preparing to go.

It was very difficult, all kinds of things were running through my brain.

"Does she want me here?"
"Would she rather be alone?"

I just did not know... I had heard animals usually go to a secluded spot to pass away, but it was so difficult for me to leave her alone - her eyes looked so scared...

She had a vet appointment at 9:15 the next morning, so I decided I'd bring her into bed like the night before. I made a big comfy nest in the middle of the bed with her favorite blankets. Preparing for a nice evening snuggle.

Then I asked her if she needed to go potty, her eyes desperately said "yes!"  So I picked her up and gently set her outside. Making sure she was stable, she stood on wobbly feet, and walked over and peed. But she did not squat, for the first time ever. She peed fully standing up, and it made my heart jump.

After peeing, she walked forward and sideways at the same time. She then collapsed to the ground. Her head was still up, so I figured she just ran out of energy. I ran inside to get my shoes so I could bring her in to her nest of blankets on the bed.

A couple seconds later I was walking toward her and I saw her head lay down. Then I heard it, the very deep, long inhale - followed buy a long and thorough exhale. Then silence. I knew. It had just happened.

I knelt beside her and gently called her name, she was gone. I laid my hands on her side and I could feel the warmth of her body, and a quiet vibration within. Her engine was winding down. Her little head did a couple twitches. I could not hear anything, it was totally quiet around me, the world, in that moment, was totally void of sound. The motion light had gone out, and it was just us alone, under the starry night sky in that moment. I could only hear the sound of blossoms dropping off the tree above us. It seemed like hours in that silence...

I had a mild bout of panic, I didn't know what to do. I knew she may evacuate her bowls. I knew that rigamortis would at some point set in.

I called the vet, it was after 10 PM, I got the after hours service. I was hoping to get the on call doctor to tell me what to do. They referred me to the ER. The same ER that we had just taken her to a month before. They kept me waiting for what seemed like an eternity...

I took the nest of blankets off the bed and folded them into a comfy square in the living room, and I prepared myself to go outside to get Astrid. I had lifted her hundreds of times, in my head I thought it would be similar - except this time with no wiggles or kisses.

I knelt down beside her, petting her gently, she was still warm and soft... Several flowers had fallen off the tree onto her and around her. It was peaceful and beautiful...

I was ready, I slid my hands under her to pick her up, and I walked half way across the yard and collapsed. Her lifeless body shocked me. I kneeled over her, sobbing.

I was not expecting her lifeless body to be so absent. The energy was gone. The life force had vanished, Her soul had moved on. After having a moment of awakening, I knew I had the strength to continue.

I lifted her once again and carried her inside, I lay her down on her folded nest of her favorite blankets. I moved her so she looked like she was just taking a cozy nap. I laid with her. I kissed her. I talked to her. I said goodbye.

Our sweet Astrid is now a fur angel, she has crossed the rainbow bridge and is now romping in forever green grasses - with delicious treats and tons of shoes and socks to steal.

We love you our sweet princess puppy, until we meet again...

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

Have you hugged your Boxer(s) today?

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