Three Paws on the Rainbow Bridge

When Charles and Sienna walked into the park a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to see them come in. Sienna is one of my favourite dogs: a standard poodle with the people-loving temperament of a golden retriever. I hadn’t seen them for months, and as Sienna is elderly, I had been wondering if I would see them again.

Sienna, May 2012

But as I made my way over to say hi, I was taken aback by Sierra’s appearance. She was skeletally thin. I looked at Charles and said, “Is she okay?”

“She has a lung tumour,” he told me. “She’s on antibiotics for pneumonia right now. The vet said with treatment we could extend her life, but it’s $700 a month, and she’s 15 years old.”

Sienna, who is also going blind, heard my voice, smelled my scent, and did what she always does: buried her head in my skirt. I crouched down and put both arms around her, tears in my eyes. I love this girl.

“So how long without treatment?” I asked.

“A few months, maybe even September or October,” Charles said. “We bought a new puppy from the same breeder; she was born in February, and we’re getting her at the end of May, but I won’t bring her to the park until she’s at least five months old, in July. So Sierra will have a puppy in the house for a few months!”

Charles seemed philosophical about the whole thing. The new puppy will be his fourth standard poodle. They’ve all lived at least 13 years, and heading over the Rainbow Bridge at 15 is pretty good.

I know it’s all part of the deal– unless we’re on the elder side of the scale, chances are we’ll outlive our dogs. The hard part of losing a dog park friend, though, is not having the chance to say good-bye. I gave Charles my email address, and asked him to let me know if anything becomes imminent, because I’d like to see her before she goes.

I hope I have the chance to say good-bye, but I probably won’t. And I have to accept that. Dog parks and real life seldom mix, even more so for me. I can’t expect him to keep me in mind, to make special arrangements for someone he sees by accident a few dozen times a year. I’m not going to hold a grudge over it, and I’m sure I’ll love the new puppy too.

But I’m still going to miss Sienna.


About one person's view

I'm the mother of three girls, three cats, and a dog. All need constant attention, but only the dog likes to go for long walks!
This entry was posted in dog parks, Dogs, Life and death and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Three Paws on the Rainbow Bridge

  1. 2browndawgs says:

    What a regal lady. They are with us too short a time.

  2. tukamann says:

    Beautiful dog. Doesn’t matter how old they are. We miss them sooooooo much. They are family.

  3. Kristine says:

    Sienna is beautiful. I am so sorry to hear about her illness. She sounds like a special girl.

    There are several dogs in my neighbourhood who I see regularly as the walk around the same time we do. These dogs are all older and I worry when I don’t see them for a long time. There is a husky just down the street who I haven’t seen since the fall. Though they aren’t my dogs and I don’t even know the names of their owners, I will still miss them dearly. What is it about a dog that grabs at you? I don’t think about my human neighbours nearly the same way.

  4. Yes, it’s hard to lose a friend. I keep an eye out for some elderly dogs we see on our walks. When one isn’t along, I get worried. And I’m relieved when it’s just the heat that keeps a pup home.

    Sounds like Sienna is one of your special dog park friends. I hope you get to see her many more times. But save some room in your heart for that new puppy. 🙂

  5. Pup Fan says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Sienna. Sending a hug your way!

  6. It’s amazing how attached we can get to animals that aren’t even ours. I lost my cat yesterday, and even though I knew she was sick, I expected either to wake up one day with her having passed, or to have to have her euthanized. I never expected her to die ON HER WAY to the vet’s office. I was not prepared. I don’t know if we ever are.

  7. Awww…how sad to think you might not run into her again. Even when they aren’t ours, they still leave a little hole in our hearts..

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