Our boy Sterling left us today.
He was suffering from a mass pressing on his heart, and for a few weeks he was having increasing difficulty in breathing. He was checked by three Vets at two different hospitals, and after review of x-rays and ultrasound, all agreed that his prognosis was poor and declining. The vet in Fountain Hills tapped his chest and removed a lot of fluid which made him feel much better.
I took him home one last time, and scheduled our Vet to arrive at the house in the afternoon.
We spent the day together in the backyard where he stood proud and protective on the patio, played with the others, posed for pictures and walked along the waterfall for the pool.
Then after resting for a while inside, we went out in the front yard. He was able to sniff all his favorite places, run with Ruby, Sofi and Wilma, and boom at people passing by (it was more than a bark). I wanted every moment to last forever. I wanted to see his personality that we love: Sterling being regal, then goofy, then back to majestic. I saw our Noodle Head.
I think he looked pretty good, and by outward appearances, this day could be just any other day. But inside he was tired and the temporary bounce in energy he was enjoying would soon be gone as the fluid once again filled his chest.
So, together with Dr. Tom we helped him to slip away peacefully. He died here at home on his newest, favorite round pillow. Pam and I held him close as he drifted away. Ruby and Wilma were at his side the entire time. Windsor and Sofi were nearby, but not too close, and Lila was in the other room providing comic relief, making sounds like someone was killing her.
If the amount of pain one feels when another dies is any measurement of love, then Sterling was loved beyond measure and more than any words can say.
As I've whispered so many nights before as you cuddle under the covers against my leg, Goodnight Mr. Sterling.
His last day: Proud, Alert and Protective.
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me
as if I were beside you.....
I loved you so --
'twas Heaven here with you."
--by Ilsa Paschal Richardson