My pretty puppy Panda passed away this morning. He would not stand to be called pretty though. He was a tough guy. We got him in May of 2008.
He was 10 1/2 years old. He had been down the past couple of days...he didn't go out to the front yard with Bernie as per usual either in the morning or the night for the final bladder emptying. I suspected something was wrong on Friday afternoon when he didn't bark at my nephew's car when he came to visit. After Ryan left, I went to check on him. He was just layig out in the middle of the yard. He wouldn't come when I called, not even when I brought out food. I wasn't sure what was going on, so I picked him up and that began our mournful journey over the weekend.
It gave me some insight. I went back and reread it today and it was our experience to a T.
We really thought he would pass that day. We held him for a couple of hours. He seemed lifeless yet breathing. We talked to him, Ava played music. Bernie wasn't home and I thought maybe Panda was waiting for him. I asked Isaac to bring me one of Bernie's shirts from the laundry. When Panda smelled it, he perked up. He wanted to move around. So we let him down. But he didn't do much else all weekend. He occasionally drank water but refused food when we tried to feed him. He even refused his favorite-BBQ.
He never whined during this time. But on Saturday, I looked in his eyes and he seemed to be crying. He wasn't whimpering, but seemed to have tears in his eyes.
I got to see him wag his tail one last time. He had moved through out the house Sunday morning. I knew he was looking for Bernie. When I called Bernie out, Panda saw him and started wagging his tail. Bernie sat with him a while.
As recently as this morning, Bernie took him out to relieve himself. He said he walked out of his beloved carrier, relieved himself and then walked out into the yard. I suppose he was isolating himself for our sake, but we wanted him back in the house. He passed around 9 a.m. after a couple of deep breaths. Isaac noticed him still.
Bernie took a half day to come home. We had a little visitation with him. Rocky (our new dog from November) seemed to know what was going on.We didn't want him to see where Panda was buried, so we put a towel over his carrier. As Bernie lowered Panda and started putting dirt on Panda, Rocky started howling.
We threw some wildflowers from the yard onto his Brave. We said a couple of words.
It's going to be so strange to walk into the backyard and not have Panda spin at our sight. It's already strange to hear sirens without Panda's serenade.
When the funeral home took my Dad away, Panda howled. He understood the somberness of the situation. Today I figured that we would be 74 in dog years. That's how old my Dad was when he passed. I can only imagine that Panda is frolicking and following my Dad around. That makes the pain of both losses a little more bearable.
A tribute to My Panda
He was king and protector of his vast yard. He huffed to show his disappointment and spun around to express his joy. He traversed Texas, Louisiana and Florida with his family. He also weathered the storm with us. There were bigger dogs, but was the mightiest. He ran this yard. He was Panda.