Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ode to Star

My husband and I lost our beautiful dog Star one month ago. Star was an 11-year-old Norwegian Elkhound. If any of you have read my bio on my website, you will have been introduced to Star because she wrote it for me. Losing her was very sudden; one day she was fine and happy, the next day she started to wobble when she walked. I took her to the vet for diagnostics the following morning, and two days later, the neurologist we took her to diagnosed her with a brain tumor. By that point, Star could no longer walk, she was having trouble even breathing, and the vet did not believe an operation would give her back her quality of life. My husband and I made the decision that we couldn’t put her through that.

I waited a month to write this memorial to Star because I thought I could do it without crying. But I was wrong. Still, I am so grateful that she was a happy, healthy dog every day of her life until those last four days. She did not show any symptoms or seem to feel any pain or discomfort. I am grateful to my sister who helped me find good neurologist, to all the veterinary professionals who helped Star, to all my family and friends who let me talk about it, and to my husband who held my hand and soothed Star as we let her go.

And I am grateful for the 11 wonderful years we had with her. She was a good dog. We have so many great memories that we treasure. She a great guard dog. I didn’t need to hear the doorbell to know the UPS man was bringing me a fun delivery. We had our little rituals, like goodnight pets before we all went to sleep. Yes, Star slept in the middle of the bed! She loved our daily morning walks. It was hard to get her to actually look at the camera when I tried to document, though! We also took her on hikes around the area, the beach, the mountains. Here she is with my husband at Roaring Camp. The steam engines didn’t even bother her. And she loved chasing the ducks.

She always had to lay next to her dad on the couch, her favorite position. And she left her mark, lots of dog hair!

All the books I’ve written for the last ten years, Star was with me out on the deck as I typed on my Alphasmart. And if the weather wasn’t good for writing outside, she laid on the rug next to my office chair. I actually made that rug when I was a teenager. Star took it over as hers.

Star had a lot of well-loved friends she played with. She was great for letting me pile them all on top of her without moving! Hmm, Froggie and Pink Pig look a little worse for wear!

With this photo, I’m sure you can see why we fell instantly in love with Star. She was 11 weeks old. That bone is way too big for her mouth.

Star, we love you. We miss you. You will always hold that special place in our hearts. You were such a good dog.

I thank you for letting me share about Star. Please, tell me about your furry friends. Leave a comment and your contact e-mail address to enter a drawing for a copy of Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins. Beverly has always been one of my favorite authors. I’ll announce the winner on my next blog, and I’ll also add you to my newsletter for updates if you aren’t already a member. And congratulations to Laney. You won my last blog and a copy of Ladies Prefer Rogues, an anthology that includes a story by the wonderful Veronica Wolff. I'll email you for your snailmail

Please stop by The Tote Blog tomorrow, Mar 1, for more pictures and memories of Star. I’m giving away a copy of Somebody’s Lover which featured a Norwegian Elkhound who was very much like my gorgeous girl.


Estella said...

So sorry for your loss.
I don't have pets now---they all lived long lives(two of the cats were 21 years old).
I am just not ready for more furry friends.

kissinoak at frontier dot com

Jennifer Skully/Jasmine Haynes said...

Thank you, Estella. It is so hard to lose our pet friends. I'm so glad your cats lived long and happy lives.

Keira Ramsay said...

Oh no, honey! I'm SO sorry to hear this. Star was such a beautiful dog and I know the two of you loved her to pieces.

Reina M. Williams said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jennifer Skully/Jasmine Haynes said...

Thank you, Terri. It was such a shock. I figured we had years left. She was such a good girl. Ole still isn't able to look at the last photos I took of her without tearing up.

And thank you, Reina, for your kind words.

Rosemary Gunn said...

I cried again while reading this ... and I only knew Star through your words. Give yourself time to grieve for this precious fur friend. You know my pet tales, happy and sad. They're worth it, though it sure does tear us up when they go. More hugs to you and Ole.

ChrisM said...

Jasmine, I'm so sorry for your loss. I have tears running down my face as I type this because reading your post brought back memories of losing my 10 y old choc lab, Cokey. Everything you wrote about your beloved Star was like you were writing about my Cokey and sent chills down my spine. They bring such joy to our lives.
Like you we had to do what was right for Cokey. At the time it was hardest and at the same time the easiest decision I've ever made if that makes any sense!

You did what was right for Star and that took courage.

Time will ease the pain.

Take care.


Jennifer Skully/Jasmine Haynes said...

Thank you for all the hugs, Rosemary.

And thank you, Chris. I'm so sorry about your Cokey, too. But you're right, sometimes, the best and kindest thing we can do for them is to let them go.

Shelley said...

So sorry for your loss. I've got 2 geriatric animals right now (1 dog, 1 cat) and absolutely dread that day I have to make that decision. It's such a devastating part of owning and loving animals.

Jennifer Skully/Jasmine Haynes said...

Thank you so much, Lucy. You are right, making that decision for our much-loved pets is the hardest part of having them in our lives. I hope I made the right decision and that my husband and I eased her suffering. I'm sending you big hugs for your pets. Love them while you have them! They give us so much in return.

Designinclined83 said...

Im so sorry about your beautiful girl I can feel for you I lost my sister (she was our family dog) a little over a year ago and i still miss her everyday. We grew up together she was 15 years old and was doing really bad when we made the decision to put her down but my mom and I were there with her as she just went to sleep and to a peaceful place with no more pain, to wait until we can be together again. She was a one of a kind as Im sure your girl was, and Im so sorry for your loss.

Jennifer Skully/Jasmine Haynes said...

Thank you, Design. I do still miss my girl. But I'm also glad it was very quick for her. Sympathy for your loss, too.


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