Thursday, February 03, 2011


We had to put our sweet, little beagle, Pearl to sleep yesterday. She was a little over 12 years old and until a few weeks ago seemed as perky as a puppy. Sure, her muzzle had gone from brown to white and she was a little slower than she used to be, but we never guessed she was in declining health.

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, she got into a bag of cookies that were left inadvertently within her reach. I imagine Pearl sniffed those cookies out long before we left the house and was just biding her time. In her little doggie mind she was probably thinking, "Cookies, cookies. Leave the house, leave the house." And that's what we did. The four of us went out to the movies and then to dinner. When we got home there were two bags split open from top to bottom and not a single crumb of cookie remained. She hung her head when we fussed at her, but it was probably to hide the smile.

A couple hours later she was sitting in her little child-sized rocking chair and her tags started to jangle. Joel looked at her and she was trembling violently. We got her outside just in time. She didn't feel very well the next day and declined to eat. We weren't troubled by that; after all she had consumed a couple dozen cookies! Pearl hardly ate anything that week and when she tried, it wouldn't stay down. I took her to the vet and found out that she had jaundice and a fever. The vet took some blood, provided me antibiotics for her and said if she didn't get better in a few days it was probably serious.

Pearl didn't get better. She wasn't interested in eating and lay in her doggie bed all day. She would get up to go out and do her business but sometimes we had to carry her back up the steps. She would be shivering and trembling and we put a heating pad on her to get her warm; or sometimes one of us would hold her in his lap until she warmed up.

We couldn't leave her alone in the house anymore. She couldn't eat and was losing weight. Sometimes it seemed like she was perking up, but it didn't last. Finally we realized we had to do the humane thing for Pearl and we made an appointment with the vet. Don and I took her in and the vet put her to sleep. It was heartbreaking.

Pearl is buried in our backyard--the place where she loved to prowl and play and run. The house has an emptiness without her sweet companionship. We mourn her loss; but are thankful for her good life, her big heart, and the joy she brought to our family. Rest in peace, Pearl.
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