Monday, March 02, 2009

Today, March 2 2009 Iona's life journey ended. My parents spent the night downstairs on the couch at her side. We think she had had a stroke. In addition to pure weakness in her legs and hips, a front right paw that looked like a softball ( arthritis) and a sunken head ( atrophy of the masseter muscle) she wasnt giving up. Saturday night she dragged herself up the stairs to my parents bedroom bumping into walls as she went. My mom and dad were patient and saintly setting up yoga mats thru the house so she could walk on the slippery wood floors.

I wasnt ready for this. And before anyone starts with the "it is a dog, it isnt a person" stuff just know that for whatever reason Iona's passing has hit me hard. I dont know for sure why. Maybe it is as Rich said the feeling of "Man, if this is that hard, I wonder how hard it is going to be when I lose a loved PERSON." I havent lost a loved one since my mom's mom "Mimi" passed away. It was a long time ago, I cant even tell you how long ago. At least 10 years.
But I think it is more than that. Iona got me thru some rough years of my life in my late 20's and 30's. I dont blog about it alot but just know that she was there for me and she always greeted me with a smile, the hi-ho-iona dance and more barks and jumps than i usually wanted. I Am not going to analyze it too much. I will say this, I did a bang up workout on the trainer from 9-10:15 am, I was focused I was working on nutrition ( I even gagged down a gel just to PRACTICE, ick) and i hit the watts right on. ( And before you get all nervous, trust me, my watts wont blow you away, have you seen my chicken legs?!) Ok I had to make a joke just needed it.
And when i finished to cool down I suddenly burst into tears. I started wanting hospice care for the dog. I didnt want her to have that white knuckle drive to the vet and that fear in her eyes.
I wanted to do something so she wasnt alone and wasnt scared. And from then on my sunny sunday was spent crying about every hour, even in her presence, which likely upset her more than me:)
Funny how you can press out feelings of stress or anxiety but after a really hard effort it is like the flood gates open. Wow. Rich and I had Guthrie Tickets to see Shakespeares's Two Gentelman from Verona. I knew it would be good for me to go. And wouldnt you know it there was a dog in the play and a song about "big brown eyes." Great. Just what i needed. Not.
So today, monday, my parents took her in. I had given her permission to let go and as my mom said " I wish lightening would strike or she would just die at home." But from what i heard ( yes I was the one driving around all day to my worksites with the dark hollywood glasses on to cover my puffy eyes) it was lovely. Our vet is a great man and we like him alot. I feel calm in his presence and i just pray that Iona's journey was peaceful and that she is now swimming in the lake, chasing squirrels and has a constant hand at her side to pet her.

Below are just some pictures that I like. Her favorite place was at our cabin so I think the plan is to put her ashes up there so she is always in the great outdoors. Encampment Forest. Her second home.

Listening to nephew Joe sing the chipmunk song with his webkin. Tolerant dog!
And Yes she knows how to use the foam roller.

Bye Baby!!! We love you.


Beth said...

I'm so sad for you Julia! I know this is really hard. Actually -- I can imagine it being harder than losing some people in our lives because let's face it -- our dogs are sometimes much closer than friends/family! They are always there for us and it sounds like you had a special bond with Iona. But rest assured that now at least she isn't in pain anymore! I hope you are feeling better soon!

Anonymous said...

One of the many things I like about you is your true ability to feel deeply, and to be in touch with your feelings-- verbally, in writing, through tears, and exercise. You have such passion. Iona is one lucky dog who was loved and well cared for. I am sad for your loss. Sherry

Anonymous said...

Julia, I'm so sorry for your loss :( Iona looks like she was a beautiful, loving dog who gave lots of kisses. Keep you head up. Casey

Herrad said...

What a lovely dog so sorry to hear she is gone now.

It is very hard losing a doggie friend.

When you can talk about here its part of grieving and getting used to the loss.
Take care.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Oh Julia - I'm so sorry. I'm tearing up just reading your entry - it's so touching. Loosing a pet is extremely difficult. I just lost my pet kitty Misty in December (she lived with my folks...) and it was really hard. Iona and you were so lucky to have found each other. The life that she shared with you (and you with her) is priceless. Thank you for posting all the photos - they made me smile and think about what a great "puppy" she was.

I'll give you a BIG hug in Tuscon... :)

Richie said...

What a lovely dog. It is a big gap in your life when an old friend dies. I still have a mild panic because my dog is missing when I leave the park. Then I remember I don't have that dog any more. Over two years now. Yeah she was not a person but she had a personality. When you have a relationship based on love it causes pain when it ends. I hurts because it was that good to have a dog in your life. Pity anyone who has not had that special pleasure.
Now I can look back in pleasure and gratitude when I think of the times we had together, but I still shed the odd tear. She was special.

Charisa said...

Oh I'm so so so sad for you!! Losing a pet is just so hard. They are so much a part of the family and so loving and caring and you can't even really talk to them, but you know they love you so much. I hope you feel better soon and I'm glad you were able to spend so much time with Iona! And whether you believe in heaven or not, I think pets will be there :)

Jennifer Cunnane said...

My heart is broken! You are in my thoughts - pets, regardless of whether "human" become just as important of a member to a family. No one can replace the unconditional love.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about Iona. Our first golden died 7 years ago of a stroke, but it happened while he was playing in the backyard...much easier than having to make the awful trek to the vet!! Losing a pet is as difficult as losing a human loved one (I always say that Gulliver is my third child!!) Keep your chin up. Peace.
The Cullen's

Eileen Swanson said...

I am so very sorry! I can tell you that I know how hard it can be. It sucks and Iona touched your life more than people can imagine. Dogs do that, they are amazing beings and they are to me just like humans, even sweeter! Hang in there, know that she IS playing in the muddy waters, chasing squirrels, having a blast! She is an angel. I love her just from reading about her and seeing all of her beautiful pictures. What an amazing golden!!

Michelle said...

Hi Julia
I am sorry for the loss of Iona!!! She was and is a beautiful dog and soul. She will live on in you and your family!!!

Marshflower said...

Kevin loves the saying, 'Strive to be the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are'...and isn't that so true. The dogs in our lives are the best ever and thank God you have your wonderful memories of her and how beloved a dog she was. It's a gift to let them go when the time comes and it's never easy to say when that is. We said goodbye to Winslow a whole year ago already. Still missing his verve and vigor, his naughtiness and spunk and always wanting to be close and he, also, along with Pimms, Buttercup, Floppity and many others, will never be forgotten. hugs and kisses to you. xoxo