This is not the first post of the year that I’d hoped to write – chock full of goodwill and plans for an awesome 2011. I’m trying to be graceful, but just know that I am a blubbering mess. Sunday afternoon we lost the hound of our hearts, Turbo.
Turbo had a hard time getting out of bed on Sunday, and we barely made it out to the street for him to take care of business. When he was done, all he wanted was to go down to the beach. He could barely walk and there was no way to handle the steps down to the sand, so we stood at the Lake and watched the sunrise instead. In the back of my head, a thought whispered that he was saying goodbye as he leaned against me. I couldn’t listen.
He spent the rest of the morning in bed, though that’s a normal day for Turbo. He was drinking water when brought to him, but wasn’t taking any food. We tried not to worry, hoping he was just having a bad day with his arthritis. In the early afternoon, we got him up and walking was even more difficult for him, and he got very sick in the elevator. Once again, Turbo simply wanted to be by the Lake, and he managed to walk over to the grassy area near the Lake in front of our building and lie down in the sun. I sat there with him for about a half hour, his head in my lap and he seemed peaceful and content, enjoying the sunshine on his face and the grass pressed against his tummy. Mark found us, and I ran back upstairs to grab wallets and phones before going to the emergency vet.
I’ll treasure the time the three of us spent together sitting by the Lake as our true farewell to the noble hound we love. Mark had to carry him to the car and then into the vet. The news the vets delivered was vague and grim and after giving us the astonishingly high estimate of care costs to keep him overnight, we closed the door to think about what we wanted to do. Two minutes later the doctor ran in to tell us that Turbo was leaving us. We ran back to be with him as he passed, but I think he left us back at the Lake when he walked over and laid on the grass to gaze one more time at the Lake he loved. We are so grateful that he passed quickly, without suffering and removing the weight of a difficult decision from our hearts.
Turbo could have had no better final week with us. We traveled to Michigan to visit our families for the holidays. Turbo LOVED long car rides and the freedom of doing laps in my parents’ fenced yard. Returning home to Chicago, we were home with him all week, there to give him skritches whenever he wanted, and to take him outside to frolic in the fresh snow, followed by a couple days of spring-like weather tailor-made for long walks by the Lake. Many of our friends stopped by the condo in the last week and Turbo welcomed them all. Saturday morning he tried to chase squirrels on our morning walk. Our hound had just turned 11 on the Solstice, and lived every moment well. We will dearly miss our Zen Master greyhound. Our home is not the same without him. We love you, Turbo, and thanks for being our awesome companion for seven years.