I became Meebs’ mom the moment she was conceived. I immediately felt connected to her: the love, nurturing impulse, and fierce mamma-bear protectiveness resonated so strongly within me. But these feelings were also familiar. I was amazed that the feelings I instantly felt for Meebs were the same, only intensified, that I feel for my two dogs, Pork Chop and Casey.

You may roll your eyes, think I’m nuts, or know exactly what I’m talking about.

I wanted a dog my entire life. It wasn’t just a fancy it was a painful longing. We’re talking daily pleading, crying and negotiating with my parents. I was relentless, and probably a little annoying. Truthfully I still don’t understand why my parents said no.

It’s a BOY! As an adult I finally got a dog, Pork Chop. Porky was a 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier and MeebsDad came as part of the deal. It’s a GIRL! A few years later we added to our family by adopting Casey, also a Jack Russell and my first puppy. I instantly loved each of my furry-babies and adored being a pet-parent.

You might ask how I can compare mothering a pet with mothering a child. My reply is that motherhood is an individual journey, a unique experience for each woman. We mother those that need a mother. We mother those who are meant for us. We mother by instinct. Motherhood enables us to embody and impart a love like no other. My instinct is to mother Pork Chop and Casey as I would any biological child; though I didn’t realize this until I had Meebs. This is why it is so incredibly painful that Casey passed away.

Casey was my shadow; a devoted mamma’s girl. She slept at my feet and trotted behind me wherever I went, even the bathroom. She knew me. She knew my “walking” pants and got excited when I put them on; she knew me putting on mascara meant I would be leaving the house; she knew when I needed cheering up and was always up to the task. There was an unbreakable bond between us. So when she became critically ill in October 2010 we did everything we could to save her. Though so young and strong, she was suffering from severe anaemia and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and quickly deteriorated. After a week of intensive care, blood transfusions, and a pharmacy worth of meds, we brought Casey home. We nursed her in those final days, pleading for a miracle that never came.

When she was ready, Casey told us it was time to let her go. And she knew; she lay at the front door in resignation, waiting for us to take her for that final car-ride. My head knew it was time; my heart was breaking. We were delaying the inevitable, but couldn’t be selfish any longer; Casey was suffering and there was nothing more we could do to save her. She was dying.

I didn’t want to watch; but I could not let my baby take this final step without me, alone, without her mommy. I held her tiny head in my hands, stroked her ears and whiskers, and kissed the soft indent between her eyes. Her final breath escaped from her adorable nose, and then all was silent. I didn’t let go until I knew she was gone. But in truth, I’ll never let go. This was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. The only comfort I have is that I know she wasn’t alone in her final moments and she knows without a doubt her mommy loves her.

I miss her terribly. I think of her every day. Everywhere I turn something is there to remind me of her. I long to feel her scruffy little face against my cheek or feel her warm body nestled behind my knees at night. She is irreplaceable, she will never be forgotten, and she will always be my baby—just as I will always be her mommy.

Casey: always in our hearts.

     

Casey

 

July 4, 2002 – October 16, 2010