Zappa

The catheter was in, Zappa lying down, I was by her side petting her ears, her face, avoiding the vertebra protruding, her ribs, her sunken in sides, her massive fatty cyst. Three drugs were injected, the first to numb her veins, the second to relax her, the third phenobarbital. After the second drug was injected her whole body relaxed, the shaking and panting stopped, I started to cry, then the final beat of her heart, I cried harder. The questions ran through my mind, is it too soon, am I doing the right thing? But I knew it was and that I was. I told Billy to say goodbye to Zappa before we left. Alan said “Come on Jen, let’s go, she doesn’t understand you.” But just at that moment Zappa and Billy started licking each other’s faces. This morning when I went to feed Billy her breakfast I felt an emptiness in the back yard. Zappa is gone. It’s been an emotional several months, since Zappa has gotten weak and incontinent. The feelings have wavered between annoyance, guilt, sadness, and avoidance. Zappa started following me one morning on 23rd and Downer. I was walking Wiggly. Zappa was just a little tiny puppy. I took her home. My roommate Meg said “No Way!” We already had two dogs and a cat. I called my mom and she said “YES”. I took Zappa and Wiggly on a road trip that weekend to Death Valley. We camped out under the stars. The next day we went exploring Devil’s Hole. It was at least 100 degrees. Sunday night I dropped Zappa off at my Mom’s house. She lived there until December 20th, 2008. After my Mom died I took Zappa back. I’ve never had a dog live for so long, 14 years. I got home from the Vet and needed to take a shower. I cried more in the shower, I thought of when Zappa and Billy first came to me, I took them on walks every morning, they kept my Mom close to me. I could smell her house on their collars and bedding. We mourned her loss together. I thought of how Zappa would run so fast to catch her ball. I haven’t been able to take her for a walk in months because of the weakness in her legs. She hasn’t had a good quality of life lately but she still seemed so happy all the time, until yesterday. I think saying goodbye to Zappa was saying goodbye to my Mom again. All the pain from that loss is at the surface again. I had to make the decision to turn off the machines at the hospital when my Mom had the heart attack. It brought back those memories. The final decision. The certainty that time can’t be turned back. The reminder of years gone by. The knowing that the end will come for me too.

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About Jenny Hynes

I am a painter, housewife, and mother of twins