It all started on Saturday, September 24th, 2011 when Youshi, our almost 17-year-old, female ShihTzu, decided to stop eating. My rational mind knew this was a clear sign that her time was very near, but when I communicated with her, she told me beyond a shadow of a doubt that she wanted to leave on her own terms, and only when the time was right. I'd often been there for my clients in similar situations, so I knew I needed to honor her wishes, and I promised her that I would.
The very next day, Sunday, my husband left to go out of state, but he left with a heavy heart because he didn't want to have to leave me to deal with her impending passing alone. These two events were the beginning of his and my week from hell.
We hoped things would go swiftly for Youshi, but it wasn’t to be so. She didn't eat, she hardly drank fluids, and she slept most of the day. Every morning I expected to awaken and find her gone, but she was always up each morning, waiting to say hello to me. A lovely blessing!
She never once complained about pain. When she couldn't keep going any longer, she'd simply lie down and wait to regain some strength, and then keep right on going. I wish I could have as much inner strength as she did.
Wednesday morning, my husband called. The car wasn't working. He couldn't make it back home. He took the car to the dealer, but they wouldn't call until the next morning. This is a car that had never, ever, given us any problems, but now it wouldn't start, and he was a long way from home. A little bit of Hell.
Thursday morning, the dealer called. Nothing was wrong with the car. To be on the safe side, though, they drained the "bad" gas and filled the tank with premium gas. Hubby was once again on the way home. Blessing.
One hour later, he called to say he was stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert. The car wouldn't move. There was no city within about 80 miles. And the battery on his cell phone was running out. In the depths of Hell.
I needed to go get him, and the car. Our SUV doesn’t have a hitch, so I went across the street to talk to our neighbor. She promptly gave me the keys to her pick-up, which does have a hitch. She put new license tags on it, and sent me on my way. Big Blessing!
First stop, the nearest U-Haul to have a flat bed installed on the hitch of the pick up. Then I was on my way for a three hour drive to the desert to pick up hubby and the car.
In the meantime, I had to leave our dying dog at home with only two other dogs for company, and with no loving human to comfort and care for her. My heart and soul were feeling the depths of Hell.
However, my wonderful neighbor said she'd go in and carry her out to go potty every four hours. And when she discovered that Youshi had already soiled herself, she cleaned her up and made her comfortable again. Big Blessing.
Since I'd already fed our peacocks that morning, I told my neighbor that they should be ok. However, after taking care of Youshi, she decided to go see them at the side of the house. When she did, she discovered that a water hose had burst and the peacocks were huddled in a corner of their now very wet and muddy cage. She tried to step inside to turn off the water, but the ground was far too soggy. Finally, she was able to reach in and turn the water faucet off with a stick. The water then finally stopped flowing, but the peacocks were very unhappy. Why did this have to happen now? Major Hell for the peacocks, and for us.
Hubby had already been stuck in the middle of the desert for a couple of hours before I was even able to begin the long drive. All I could think of was that he had to wait another three hours before I could get there to rescue him. More Hell in the depths of my soul.
I finally reached him in the middle of the desert. He was tired, upset, and sweating. His two gallon bottle of water was now empty and he was so dehydrated he hadn't even had a need to pee for five hours. He literally gulped down the water I'd brought with me.
Now all I could think about was how fortunate we both were that his cell phone was working in an area where there was no civilization for about 80 miles, and that I'd been able to make it there in time. Big Blessings!
But, we still needed to get the car onto the flatbed, and we were dealing with a manual hitch. Not only that, but somehow, the disabled car had to be started one more time, at least long enough to put it into neutral so we could push it up onto the flat bed. All the while Albert was waiting for me to arrive, he'd tried to start the car several times, but always without any success. Now, when he turned the key, the car started immediately. Another Big Blessing!
It took us a full hour to move the car up the ramp onto the flatbed. It was very, very hard work, and I don't know how I had the strength to do it, but by taking turns, we finally got that car up there. Big blessing!
However, when we tried to connect the chains to keep the car from sliding off the flatbed, the chain wouldn't go through the hook on the bottom of the car. We then improvised something, but we were definitely afraid we might lose the car as we drove along. I could just envision the car coming loose and falling from the flat bed onto the freeway. My stomach was in a knot. More moments in Hell.
About half an hour down the road, we needed to stop for gas. We checked the condition of our improvised chain hook-up, only to discover that it had, in fact, come loose, but we were then able to do something else to better secure the car in place. Yet Another Blessing.
After a very long day that had started at 6.00 a.m., we arrived home safely around 10.00 p.m. We cleaned up both Youshi and the floor where she'd gone poo again. Youshi wasn't eating, but we fed the other two dogs. Albert went out to check on the peacocks. He found them wet, but seemingly ok.
However, on Friday morning, one of the peachicks was sick. The adults were ok, but we didn't know if the peachick was going to make it or not. This was particularly hard for Albert because he takes such good care of them, and already, for reasons we couldn't determine, we'd lost our other two peachicks during the summer. If he hadn't had to be away now, the peacocks wouldn’t have gotten wet, and their lives wouldn't have been in danger. Hell for them, and for us.
Not only did we now have a sick bird who needed special care (and who would soon make his transition into Spirit), but on this same Friday morning, September 30th, 2011, Youshi wasn't doing well at all. This time, I just knew we couldn’t wait any longer. I was going to have to do what I'd promised her I wouldn’t. I would have to help her make her transition that day. But a mix of emotions quickly overtook me, and I could hardly make myself call to schedule an appointment with the vet. Down into the deepest depths of Hell.
I'm always the "go to" person when others don't know what to do with their dying animals. I'm the one who "knows" and can tell everyone else when the time is right. So why, why, am I so doubtful? Is it because I can't keep my promise to Youshi to let her leave on her own terms? Is it because I think I'm acting in place of God by deciding to end her earthly experience myself? So many thoughts swirling around in my mind. So many questions, and so few answers.
Intellectually I know she's almost 17 years of age, she's been suffering with a liver tumor for 2½ years, she's in stage 4 congestive heart failure, she has hypothyroidism, her legs no longer bear her weight, and she often pees and poops on herself. Intellectually, I know it’s time.
It’s time. I keep repeating this over and over again. Yet I don’t want to believe it. My heart doesn’t let me. I'm totally stuck in the emotion of it all.
When we finally did get to the vet for our appointment, we were whisked right in. The vet tech asked me how old she was. When I replied that she was almost 17, he said, “You must have been doing something right!” But those kind words weren't of any comfort. The pain of having to let her go was still intense.
When they gave her the first sedative, she fought it. She remained sitting up and wouldn't lie down. What usually takes about a minute to take effect took 15 minutes before she gave in to it. Finally, as she began to tumble onto her side, I helped to position her comfortably, and watched as her breathing slowed down.
She'd lived a very good life her vet said. Yes, she did, but it still hurt very much to have to let her go. My eyesight was blurry with tears. My heart ached, and at the moment, my feelings were blurry, too. I couldn’t see the difference between the Hell of not being able to keep my promise of letting her go on her own, and the Blessing that she would now be in Spirit, and free from pain.
When I got home with her lifeless body, we let Chopy and Desi come to say goodbye. They smelled her, and in just a moment, they knew. . . They walked slowly with us while we took her body to where it was going to be buried, and now they're keeping me company while I'm writing.
Youshi's body is now resting in a grave we dug in our back yard between two big trees. We put a stone there in the shape of a heart with her name, and the date she went back to spirit, written on it.
Not quite a week later, we're still missing her so much, but our healing has already begun, and the many incredible stresses and sorrows of that week are beginning to fade into memory.
The adult peacocks are all doing well, and Chopy and Desi, with their lively play, continually remind us that life goes on. That it's meant to be lived in peace and joy. That stress and sorrow come and go. That the Universe will always shower us with blessings in our times of need. That blessings are always there for us, even when we aren't conscious of them at the moment.
And Youshi will forever be in our hearts. Her gift to us -- she taught us to be strong, no matter how difficult our circumstances may be.
About Dr. Monica
From the time she was eight years old, Dr. Monica realized she could actually "hear" what the animals were saying to her.
In 1972, she moved from Argentina to the United States, married, and made her home in Southern California. After several years of advanced metaphysical study, during which she further refined her telepathic skills, she recognized that there were many intuitives who were available to help people, but few able to do the same thing for pets. This insight showed her that it was her Life Assignment to work exclusively for the benefit of a wide variety of animals.
Dr. Monica is a certified as an Animal Care Specialist I for pets, and an Animal Care Specialist II for wildlife. She's a Master Cosmic Healer, a Reiki practitioner, a Guided Imagery Therapist, and a Meditation Guidance practitioner, to name but a few.
During years of study, and later through her heartwarming experience with her dog, Chop Chop’s early healing, it was a very special joy for Dr. Monica to discover that she could not only help animals with ordinary, everyday type problems, but that she could also let loving healing energy flow through her for the benefit of the many animals who needed help at even deeper levels. And when people expressed the desire to learn how to communicate with their own pets, the meditation techniques were essential to assist them in learning to focus their attention.