Someone posted this nice memorial to a Canine Liver Disease group that I belong to. I thought it was very well written and poignant
Written and © copyrighted by Terri Onorato
I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m dead. Because you cannot see me
with your human eyes, cannot feel me with your hands or hold me in your arms
you think I am gone forever. You recall how I looked when I left this earth
and you cannot remotely imagine that I am alive in another place. You are
racked and torn by the pain of our separation and it blinds you to that
which is right in front of you…me.
How many times since I left your immediate sight have you been told that I’m
dead and you should “get over it”? How many times have you cried yourself to
sleep because you feel like an outcast, believing you’re supposed to get
over me because that’s what people say is normal but somehow you can’t and
no one seems to understand? How many times have you put yourself through
such excruciating pain because you aren’t willing to consider that I am not,
by any means, dead?
I want you to do me a favour and go back in time with me. Remember the
glorious day you brought me home – was I not the most intriguing creature
you’d ever met? Did I not make you laugh and giggle? Did I not look at you
with such adoration that you wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of
your life with me? I wanted this too.
Remember the days when I was in my prime and we did many things together.
You were so proud of me! I was a good friend and I took care of you when you
cried, were angry or felt down and unhappy. When you didn’t have a lot of
time for me because of your obligations, I waited patiently for you. I was
always there when you needed me. Did I not look at you with such acceptance
and patience that perhaps at times you felt a bit unworthy? You were never
unworthy in my eyes.
Remember when age crept up on me, my bones became stiff and my movements
slower. Still I met you when you came home and followed you around. We’d
been together for so long, I was your very best friend regardless of what
you were doing, saying and thinking. Did I not look at you with such
kindness and understanding that you felt overwhelmed? I couldn’t get enough
Remember the last time we saw each other with earthly eyes. You tried to be
brave but I knew you were crying…I know you so well, better than anyone
else in the world. Did I not look at you with such pure trust and love that
you yearned only to hold me close and keep me with you always? Did you not
promise that you would love me forever? I believed you.
If this is so then why have you let me go by thinking I no longer exist?
Remember the depth of love in my eyes when I looked at you.
I am no longer an earthly figure, this is true. My
body was only part of who I really am and it would have been but a mere
shell on earth if it were not filled to overflowing with my soul, my spirit
and my loving light. When we met you thought I was cute, pretty and adorable
What kind of relationship would we have had if this were all that I’d been?
How could you have loved me if I’d had no spiritual substance?
We are all made up of energy that resides far deep down inside of us, it is
our core and our soul, spirit and loving light. It is the energy that is all
of life…it has no beginning, it has no end. It simply is and always will
be and without it there is no life. You can’t see it with the naked eye nor
can you hold it in your hand, it is simply a certain knowing that this
energy does exist. It’s a knowing just as you know that our love existed on
earth – you couldn’t see our love in a solid sense, you couldn’t gather it
all up and confine it to one place. But you *knew* it existed. There was no
doubt in your mind.
There are those who demand you get over me, insisting that I’m dead and you
ll never see me again because animals don’t go to Heaven. Oh really? I’m
here to tell you different. You were as worthy of my love and undying
devotion on earth as I was of yours. Do you really believe this love would
be snatched from us *forever* simply because I wasn’t
human? Was I not a living, breathing creation with personality? How could I
have been so if I didn’t possess the energy of soul, spirit and loving
light? And if this energy is and always will be, then how can it be that I
am dead? If my core is not the energy that is all of life then I was never
alive to begin with. But you know better.
You cry because you miss me, this I understand. I miss you too – I miss the
belly rubs, hugs and kisses that we shared. But life does go on beyond these
wonderful, fulfilling physical connections. I came to this place to continue
on in a new life, not because I didn’t love you anymore or because I wanted
something better. I came here because it was time for me to go to the next
phase of my existence, something all living creatures must do eventually. It
is the normal progression of life. I was not taken away from you because you
cannot take away that which was never owned. My presence in your life was
and is a gift to be cherished and honored just as I cherish and honor you.
Life is not simply about being born into a body, living a certain number of
years and then dying. Energy cannot die. We are blessed with time in a body
so that we can learn, share and grow. It prepares us for the next phase of
our eternal life. The body holds within it the true life force of our
existence…our soul, spirit and loving light. Without these our bodies
would be empty, blank, void of feeling and expression. Without our energy we
would indeed be dead and could never have experienced our love for each
You say that all you have left are memories but this is not so. You see,
when I took leave of my earthly body I left a little something behind for
you. You can’t touch it, hold it or examine it, for what I left behind is
far too uninhibited for confinement. I left in your tender care a piece of
my soul. I placed it right next to your own which is quite fitting as we
were always side by side in our earthly life together. I love you too much
to have left you with nothing but memories that tend to fade and grow cloudy
as the years go by. I love you too much to have vanished without a trace.
How selfish it would be of me to remove love and light from your life.
I understand your tears, each one you shed is testament to your love for me
and I am honored and humbled. But don’t forget the good things we shared -
remember and smile. This is an honor for me as well. When you need me I will
be here. Close your eyes, relax, take slow, deep breaths and picture me in
your mind. Shut off the world and your notions of what you think death is
and give me a chance. Look for the subtle signs I send you. Don’t stop being
proud of me, I am a friend to be proud of, I am still your friend and soul
mate. Don’t memorialize the death of my body but instead honor and celebrate
my never-ending life for it is eternal and forever as is my love for you.
Until we meet again…
Lassie Forever in our Hearts
September 10, 2004 – February 22, 2009
4 years 5 months and 12 days
My Dear Friends,
It’s a beautiful day in heaven at the rainbow bridge and all the angels are feeling very happy. They have a new companion to play with and of course adore. Lassie crossed over to the rainbow bridge at 12:20pm Dogster time (PST) on February 22, 2009.
I am happy that she is with the angels and Jesus is watching over her as always. I am happy to be Lassie’s mommy as she made me proud even in her very last moment.
We had taken Lassie to the vet in morning yesterday as she was increasingly getting weak and was having trouble walking. She was not eating nor drinking. When we reach the clinic the normal occurrence is that she can’t wait for the car door to be opened. But this day was different. She could barely move. We had to call the nurse to help us carry her into the clinic. The vet advised us to let her go but I guess that was not a very easy decision for us to make.
The vet however agreed to give us a couple of days for observing Lassie and said after that Lassie will be needed to be put to sleep if she doesn’t get better. She administered antibiotics and fluids and said that it would be a good idea for Lassie to be at home. As we were getting out of the vet clinic Lassie saw the black cat that usually hangs around the clinic. She immediately tried to pull on the leash and chase the cat. This was really great in a way because she seemed to be full of energy and vigor.
Back at home Lassie was still not consuming any food or drink and finding it oh so very difficult to walk. Lassie is a fighter and she tried very hard to move around the house, resting at all her favorite spots. But evidently it was taking a great toll on her. But not once did she whimper or cry. She was very uncomfortable, but she didn’t show it. We were positive that she will fight on. At one point she tried to pull on her Dada’s socks but she can’t reached it no more. This made me really happy as she was trying to be mischievous and heartbroken.
But come evening nothing really changed much. Lassie’s dada and I decided to take her to the vet in the morning so that she could receive some fluids. Dada tried to administer some meds to Lassie but without any success. Even water was not appealing to Lassie. We decided to pray for her. So we sat beside her on her bed. She hugged me and rested oh so sweetly on my chest. I wish that moment will last forever. I lay her down on her bed and we began to pray asking Jesus for a miracle and also to help Lassie.
In the middle of our prayer Lassie gave out a loud sigh and it was the beginning of the end. She tried to grasp for air, but her long fight had taken its toll on her. Dada immediately called the vet to let her know what was happening, I on the other hand couldn’t control my emotions any more. The tears rolled down and the anxiety increased. In a few moments she was so very quiet and had breathed her very last breath. It was all over. And just like that Lassie was gone from this world. We couldn’t believe it. We refused to believe it. The reality of the whole thing was so intense that it just knocked us off our feet.
A few moments passed and we still hoped for a tail wag or her eyes to open. But that was not to happen. Dada called the vet again to make arrangements for her final journey. We then cleaned her up.
We took Lassie to the vet and left her there so that she could be taken to the crematorium in the morning. She was so peaceful laying there. The last good bye was truly overwhelming.
We kissed her and said our goodbyes. She looked so beautiful; it was as if she was asleep blissfully. This morning we went to the crematorium. The drive seemed very long and never ending. We left her there. It is still so unbelievable. She was so young and had so many more years in her. But Jesus had other plans.
Our baby is gone, our special baby is gone, but she will be forever in our hearts, in our minds and will be part of our soul. In the short time Lassie was with us, she gave us lots of joy, love and happiness. Every part of home, every site outdoors reminds us of her. The emptiness is unbearable but I know with time we will be able to cope with it.
Lassie is blessed and I know that Jesus wanted her with him. I know she is happy with him and some day we will be united again. Lassie was a very bright girl. She knew that it would be hard for us to take the decision to put her down if the time comes, so she gave us the easy way out. She answered the call of Jesus herself and now she is watching over us at the rainbow bridge.
We thank you all for all your love, support, goodwill, prayers, guidance, special gifts, paw-mails, emails, rosettes, angel wings, stars, cards, candles and Lassie’s strolls . Only time and love will help us bear this loss. Lassie will forever be missed and forever in our hearts.
Rest in peace my pretty little Angel.
Madeline( Lassie’s mom)
I am attempting to look for an underlying cause of liver disease in our 10 year old Scottish Terrior. Two years ago, she became very sick at her stomach after having her teeth cleaned. Coincidentally, this was also the time perimeter of the dog food scare. (The food she was eating was not on any of the lists publicized.) I have been assured by more than one source that if she had experienced an episode from the dental cleaning, the liver would not have continued to deteriorate over this course of time. The blood work found that her liver enzymes were grossly abnormal. Radiography was performed and we were advised to have an ultrasound. The ultrasound found that her gall bladder was enlarged and we were referred to UT Vet Hospital in Knoxville for possible emergency surgery and further diagnosis. UT did not see the urgency with the gall bladder and she was hospitalized and monitered for a couple of days. She was released feeling well.
A couple of months later, her liver enzymes continued to be abnormal. We returned to UT for additional testing . They performed a needle biopsy and found a few abnormal cells in her liver, but nothing (they felt) to go further.
She was placed on Ursidial, Benazapril, Denamarin, and Fish Oil. Her bloodwork continued to be monitored at least once each 3 months and the results varied. The liver enzymes continued to be elevated, but increasingly additional protein was found in her urine. Her diet was changed to a high quality low protein diet. She continues to feel well. However, she had increased water consumption. Currently, her urine is very diluted. Sometimes, large proteins show in the urine and other times smaller proteins show up causing us to believe there is some globular nephritis happening.
This has continued over the last 2 years. Every test that we know of has been run including multiple Cushings tests with no results and continued blood and urine tests. A few weeks ago, she did test positive for atypical Cushings. The vet school at UT is not convinced that the atypical test conclusion is accurate.
Our vet referred us back to UT requesting an ultrasound be performed. It was non-conclusive. They recommended a laparascopic biopsy with additional bile, copper, etc tests. We received the results today and they have no idea what the underlying problem could be. Her liver is fragile and the biopsies broke apart with very little bleeding when extracted. Cancer biopsies have shown to be negative. The copper test was not back but the slides showed no crystals. There is some evidence of regeneration. They feel she may be a first and I feel that there has to be another “baby” out there that has had an evasive diagnosis.
I would very much like any suggestions, ideas, etc that anyone may have had that has experienced a difficult diagnosis. Any suggestions to continuing to preserve the liver and promoting regeneration will be grateful.
I would gratefully appreciate you forwarding this email to anyone has any sources that may be familiar with this type of case or know of anyone with professional interest in liver disease. I feel certain that there are internists that specialize in liver care and disease but I have no way of knowing who they are.
Thanks and love,