My wonderful Calypso has departed this life and has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Let me tell you about my lovely little cocker spaniel.
Calypso came to me as a little stray who’d been living on the “lovely” (great irony here) streets of Camden, NJ, making her my “Jersey girl”. Her fur was long and matted but when I saw her photo on petfinder.com, I was in love and had to have her, so I immediately called the animal shelter to see if she was still available. I rushed to the Camden County animal shelter, praying that nobody else adopted her before I got there.
As soon as I met her, there was no question she was coming home with me, though after only a few minutes of interacting with her I realized that she was completely deaf. But the Universe knew that I’m a sucker for hard luck cases, so a little deaf dog that had been struggling to live on the hard streets was a perfect fit. She did have an owner at one time because she had been spayed.
Calypso was intensely curious – while walking she wanted to check out every little nook and cranny. That might be what got her lost from her previous home in the first place. She was scrappy, independent and a little bit of a loner – all of which could be contributed to having been a stray on the streets. This also gave her two habits I could never break her of:
- She always would quickly scarf down anything semi-edible that we came across during our walks. One time I had to pull an ant-covered chicken bone out of her mouth – yuck! When she had something in her mouth that she intended to eat, she did not readily give it up!
- She would grab food being handed to her like a starving shark, so I learned to drop her treats on the floor in order to keep my fingers intact. Even then she occasionally got hold of my finger because she was really fast!
About a year ago Calypso had a stroke. In the subsequent months, she aged noticeably. Since the start of summer her rate of decline sped up and shortly after the 4th of July I suspect she may have had another stroke. She never lost her appetite and ate ravenously, but continued to lose weight. The last week of her life she could only walk for a minute or so before collapsing and she had a difficult time getting up by herself. She was incontinent and I saw her eyes clouding over. She didn’t appear to be in physical pain (she was always quick to let me know about that), but I could see her frustration level rising and her joy of life declining. I knew that the next phase would probably bring on actual pain, so I made the heart-wrenching decision to have her put to sleep.
It was a Friday night when I made that tormented decision. Intellectually I knew it was the right thing to do, but my emotions just weren’t agreeing. After finally falling asleep that night, I had a dream of Calypso. She wasn’t old and feeble, but was young and energetic – running through fields, happily sniffing and exploring. In my dream, she was even able to climb a tree! I don’t know if it was Calypso or the Divine speaking to me through that dream, but when I woke up, my distress wasn’t quite as intense.
Calypso was with me for only 5 short years, from late June 2008 until Saturday, July 13, 2013. On that final day, I fed her a big bowl of her favorite food and petted her as she ate it with pleasure. When she finished with that, I offered her water but she just laid her head down on her blanket and sighed. Somehow I felt she was telling me it was now time. I wrapped her up in her blue snowman blankie, carried her to the car and set her in the seat next to me so I could have my hand on her during our final drive together.
I was with her until the end, holding her while the vet gave her the shot that put her to sleep forever. Her heart stopped and mine broke. Goodbye Calypso, my angel, until we meet again on the Other Side.