Wonder Dog, AKA Canaan, left us this last Tuesday to investigate what lies beyond the big, blue planet called Earth. We didn't even know he had a reservation to go. It seemed for the last few years anytime someone would ask Superman how old Canaan was he'd say, Oh, he's about 15 years old." His daughter, Anna, reminded him this past summer he had to be at least 16 or 17. You would never have known it to watch him leap like a gazelle right before his daily walk of a mile. Nothing, except a wee scrap of healthy food, made him happier than to go on his "walkies" with Superman. He was handsome, strong, lean and muscular, so much so, my niece, Emilee, named him the George Clooney of the dog world.
On Tuesday morning he whimpered in a way I'd never heard him do before and it seemed too early for his normal schedule for him to be acting that way. Since he hadn't been out for his morning walk yet to relieve himself, we thought it might be that. He didn't make it before Superman had time to get his boots and winter wear on, and had a couple of accidents in the house. This always causes him great shame because he has a bladder I could only dream about having; strong and well trained.
When it came time to put on his leash, he just sat there. He'd never done this before. Superman said the day Canaan didn't want to go on his walk was the day we'd know something was wrong with him. Tuesday was that day. Canaan barely made it down the street past a few houses to do his business then barely moved forward to continue the full mile walk. Superman turned back toward home and Canaan seemed relieved. He walked slow, and with great labor, that Superman thought he may have to carry him the rest of the way home. Somewhere deep inside Wonder Dog found his strength to trudge on, silver face stoic, and chocolate chip eyes focused on making what would be his last walkie home.
I was in my studio when Superman let him back in the house. I could hear his footsteps and turned to see him looking everywhere for me. I waved my arms, much to his delight, and watched him walk toward me with deliberate, difficult steps. I turned my chair to face him full on, and rubbed his soft cheeks and eye lids like he loved me to do. Ho looked up at me, and I could see the stress and pain in his eyes. Wonder Dog and I had a special bond. He talked to me by sending me mental images. To be exact, I could honestly say I heard him say full sentences. I have gift of mental telepathy with animals, plants and trees. My nickname is Doctor Doolille because of my gift of communication with wildlife and pets of all kinds.
"I'm not doing too well." he said. "It's my liver and my pancreas. Just like the pain you have." I knew in an instant he was right-on. My pancreas was damaged in a surgery in 1993 and it would elevate both my liver and my pancreas enzymes to dangerous levels off and on since the botched surgery I had. The auto accident caused more damage to this area because of the blunt force trauma and location of the seat belt across my abdomen. It is very painful. Canaan had experienced bouts of vomiting followed by extreme diarrhea that would hit him every now and then. He'd instinctively go off his food and water until things calmed down. In that moment, I remembered we had just gone through a round of this with him about a month prior to Tuesday. I knew he spoke the truth to me, and I told him to let me know what he needed us to do. With that he let me rub his soft, velvety jowls, and kiss him on top of his head. He turned slowly and walked back to his bed in the other room. I felt an eerie chill rush over me.
About an hour later, I heard a thud on the floor, and turned to see him sprawled belly down, paws extended out to his sides. He was trying to make his way to me but didn't make it. His breathing was labored. I leaped from my chair to get to him, and straddled his body on the floor so I could be close to his face, his eyes, his thoughts, his essence. He didn't have to send me any messages, I could see he was in trouble. I grabbed my phone to text Superman to come up ASAP which he did in true Superman speed. He got down on the floor on the opposite side of Wonder Dog, and there, the three of us stayed for the next hour.
We knew he was in too much pain to be jostled around or picked up. I cupped his face and asked him to tell me what he wanted us to do. He hated going to the vet even though we had learned over the summer that I could almost hypnotize him into a trance when he became overwrought with Vet-Angst. Mama could always calm the pup. I heard him tell me he did not want to go to the vet. He clearly told me he didn't want to go anywhere. With that message we continued to lie next to him, speaking words of love, and comfort while petting him gently.
At one point about 30 minutes later we could see the light beginning to fade from his eyes. I asked him what he wanted us to do to help him, and asked him if he wanted us to have the vet come here to ease his pain to help him do what he needed to do.
"I am a warrior." he said. "I can do this on my own, in my own way." I choked hearing the truth. Our Wonder Dog was leaving us. I told Superman what he said. He nodded saying that sounds like him. We smiled weakly at each other, and turned our attention to him. "I don't want to leave you." he whispered. "I know, Pup. I know." and I did know this with all my heart. I repeated his message to Superman. He shook his head and told him it was OK for him to go.
His breathing became rhythmic which seemed to put him into a deep sleep. Then, as if in a dream, we saw his eyes darting all around in the excited way dogs do when they're loving where they are and wanting to check everything out. He looked happy and appeared to be sniffing the air. I knew he was on the other side making his way to the Rainbow Bridge. This is the time humans want to call their beloved pets back. I did. I couldn't help it. I didn't want him to leave us. None of us did but we knew it was too late for his body to hang out here on Earth with us any longer. He was ready for a new body in another place and time.
Wonder Dog was an obedient and fiercely loyal dog. He heard me call his name, heard my fear of letting him go, and responded by shaking himself slightly before opening his eyes. He looked at me, then at Superman, then repeated this several times as if to memorize our faces. He moved his face over to Superman extended arm, nuzzled him gently with his snout then began inhaling the scent of his Master as if it were a calming balm, his favorite fragrance, even better than pizza.
This is the part where super hero dogs do super hero tasks with ease, with dignity, with exquisite valor and bravery. Three times his body convulsed as if he was shaking himself free of his Earthy armor. Then three times his body pushed the air from his lungs out... never more to inhale again, at least here. The room glowed, Wonder Dog glowed, and somehow the two of us glowed. A peace fell like a blanket of love and for awhile longer we sat there, petting him, and crying. Superman made arrangements for us to take him to our vet to have his body cremated. It felt dream like, and surreal, picking up his limp body and carrying it to the car. We didn't speak much for the quick 5 minute trip.
The veterinary assistants met us at the back door and helped Superman carry him inside. The female tech had tears in her eyes, and told us how sorry she was. She had a black lab, too, that she had to put down in October. Seeing her tenderness made it easier to leave him there but I can't tell you how badly I wanted to scoop him up and carry him back home. Superman could feel my pain, and gently placed his arms around me, to guide me away before I completely fell apart. Canaan was a special dog, and wiggled into my heart as if he's always been my dog. He had that effect on everyone.
It was difficult pulling into our driveway knowing he wouldn't great us at the door. During the last few months his hearing had gotten so bad he couldn't hear us come home so Opie Taylor would run to the door as if to help him know someone was at the door. If Opie ran into the bedroom and hid under the bed, it meant a stranger was at the door. If he ran to the door, Canaan would know it was us. The two of them loved each other very much. The night before they had played chase and game ended right in front of Superman and me. Opie gave Canaan a long kitty kiss, and leaned in closer to smell his breath for a few seconds. I remembered Opie does that to me when I'm sick--he smells my breath but I shrugged it off. Canaan looked and acted as spry as a puppy playing with his kitty. Now today, he was gone.
Opie was not at the door when we walked up to let ourselves in. We walked down the long entry way to the living room, and saw him lying in the exact spot Canaan had died at. He was in the Spinx posture, eyes frozen in a blank stare. He didn't get up to move toward us right away like he usually does. I walked over to him, and then he meowed in a weak, hurt kitten cry as if to ask where did Canaan go. He spent hours pacing all over the house, repeatedly, looking for him. He stood in front of Canaan's bed and stared at the dent left by his dog brother as if he'd just gotten up to get a drink of water and would be right back. Opie climbed into the bed, and curled up. We knew he was trying to get a reading, or a scent or a message from his dog. Opie was confused and hurting.
The last few days have been very hard around here. Opie yowls at night, hoping his cries will be met by a galloping Wonder Dog coming back to play. He sits by every door hoping when it's opened Canaan will bound in. We all keep looking for him. He's been sending me funny messages from the other side. One came later that afternoon on Tuesday not too long after I told Superman I hoped he would communicate with me in my dreams or in my thoughts. It went like this...
I heard some loud noises outside, and asked Superman if heard them. He told me no. It was then I realized it was the mailman, and quick as lightening I heard Canaan say, "Yes, it's the mailman. Now you can hear him as clearly as I used to when I could hear well." I laughed out loud. He was right, it was so clear as if I had dog ears! I'd never heard the mail drop that loudly in the box before or heard the mailman's footsteps that well before. He laughed then, too. He could hear my thoughts just like he had when he was here.
Later that night he communicated with me again by prompting a blogger friend I hadn't heard from in nearly a year to come to my blog to catch up with me. He noticed I had added under Wonder Dogs picture on my sidebar his new handle of being the George Clooney of the Dog World given to him by Emilee. He said perhaps he looked like another famous George, the comedian from the 50' and 60's, George Gobel, noting he was cute, too. Out of the blue, a cosmic message in a bottle from Wonder Dog. I could feel his presence strongly, and humorously. That pup never failed to make me laugh. He was a comedian as well as a warrior.
Yesterday he did it again. Opie Taylor was cruising the house again looking for him and stopped when he came to Canaan's bed. He stood staring at it then opted to walk around it rather than get in. He took a few steps away from it then jumped about a foot in the air as if he'd bumped into a ghost... Superman and I both saw it and turned to each other and said, "Canaan!" Yes, It was Canaan playing with his kitty. A friend on Facebook told me that Buddists believe people and animals linger around for a few days after dying. I can see why they say that because it sure feels like he has been hanging around to help us when we're having a hard time dealing with him being gone.
Wonder Dog, the George Clooney of the dog World, and beloved Canaan Lee Crock, we miss you buddy. We know you're waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge. You left us understanding death is a thing of beauty, and wonder, as much as being born is. Neither Superman nor I had ever experienced being with a pet as they crossed over before. Canaan helped heal my fears about letting go. I'd become more fearful of letting go after the auto accident with PTSD making those fears and others really difficult to face. Truth is, I miss his really bad dog farts, and nightly butt lickings. I miss him clawing at the carpets, a part of his natural nesting instincts each night to help settle himself down to sleep. I miss those doggy smiles and drooling all over the floor as he ate his biscuit. I'll miss the black tumble weeds of dog hair scampering across the hardwood floors in search of a landing place.
Yes, Wonder Dog, you will be missed deeply, and will always loved as a corner stone in our foundations and lives. Chase those Moonbeams, Wonder Dog. Keep your ears perked up, and keep your keen sense of smell alert to the scent of one of us coming to meet you on the bridge. There we'll meet again, and talk about old times, and all the years ahead of us in our new bodies, in our new super hero suits that sparkle like stars in the heavens.
Listen to Moonbeam on link below.