Athena was always very unique and unlike most dogs in many ways. She was extraordinarily attached to me, her mom, from the moment she crawled on to my lap when she was 4 months old.
Athena had her own way about her. She didn't care for the dog park, didn't care for car rides and spent most her days following me around the house, sleeping and eating things that she shouldn't eat.
I've never seen a dog eat,digest and pass more non-food items than Athena. We would often laugh while simultaneously be bewildered at her ability to seek out and find things to eat.
Athena would find food anywhere. It was unbelievable! I've seen her consume and pass without any issues whatsoever an entire mans sock (3 seperate times), a Hot Wheel, dryer sheets, paper towels, tissues and TP, rocks, plastic toys, so-called "non destructible bones" an entire slipper and multiple items from the recycling bin. The list goes on forever.....
Athena was a girl in the whole sense of the word. She LOVED boys, oh my gosh! Loved them!
I once watched her walk by an entire sub sandwich and stick her tongue out sideways without moving her head, and while she kept walking straight she lifted the sandwich into her mouth and swallow it whole without even chewing.
Friends would come over and she would give them the sad eyes so they would pet her give her all sorts of love. She had an incredible gift of turning even the most reserved of people in to the biggest sucker!
Once you started to pet her, you were hers. She wouldn't let you stop for anything. It could go on for hours if she had it her way.....like it would literally go on forever.
At 115 lbs this girl would find a way to lean in to you and keep you from moving or getting up and she would rub her head and face all over you while snorting and making these big huffing sounds. I'd be covered in slobber and dog hair, but I didn't care because nothing is better than kisses and hugs from our fur babies.
This was her way of hugging you. She'd just lean so hard on you and relentlessly until you gave in. She loved to be loved. That's Athena, she just loved to give and to be loved.
Athena had 4 different beds and sleeping spots in the house. She loved to go from bed to bed depending on where I was. She would follow me everywhere and toward the latter part of her life, when her health started to decline, if I wasnt in her direct eyeline she would let out this long, loud bark/moan until I came back into the room.
14 years is a long time for her size and her breed. I was truly blessed to have her here with me for as long as I did. Athena aged gracefully until about 6 or 7 months ago. I had noticed she was slowing down but then she started slipping and sliding on the hardwood floors. I remedied it by placing runners all along the paths she would take around the house but shortly thereafter she wasn't able to get up on her own, without being assisted.
I did everything I could to assist her and help her become adjusted to her new norm of being disabled and needing help to get up and walk but as time went on it just kept getting worse.
One thing about Athena is that she never stopped being a complete sweetheart and she never stopped giving all of the love that she had inside of her. I truly believe that she held on as long as she did for my sake, because she didn't want to leave me.
It wasn't until she just couldn't walk outside, even assisted with a body harness, to go potty and incontinence set in that I had to stop letting her suffer.
I wanted my girl to keep her dignity. I wanted her to be out of pain so I came to the acceptance that it was time for Athena to make her journey home. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make.
When the day came, I spent the whole afternoon just laying with her, petting her, talking to her softly and telling her how beautiful it will be in Heaven. How there is no more pain and she will be happy and free. That it was ok for her to go and to not worry about me, that I'd be fine and that I'd love it if she would come and visit me in my dreams.
She had stopped eating about 5 days prior. The only thing I could get her to eat was pieces of white bread or toast, even when her stomach was growling. It was awful.
On her final day I made her some ground lamb and rice with the slight hope that she'd eat at least some if it. This beautiful girl devoured it! I couldn't believe it, it was the most she had eaten in 2 weeks.
So she devoured the lamb and rice. Then I figured I'd let her have whatever she wanted so I got her some french fries and she took them down in 2 seconds flat! Her tummy was stuffed and I know she loved it!
I set beautiful, angelic music and lit candles and the energy in the house was so calm, so beautiful. We were so blessed to have an amazing vet come to our home and guide us through Athenas transition with patience and love.
I knew Athena was ready because when our vet walked in, Athena just sort of popped her head up to acknowledge her, gave her some sniffs and lay her head right back down. She then looked over to me, gave me a kiss right on the lips as to say "I love you and I'm ok".
I've never had to put any of my previous fur babies to sleep before. It's the hardest thing I've ever done but Athenas transition was so gentle, so peaceful.... as I lay next to her and whisper to her that I love her and thanking her for loving me all these years, I felt her body relax. It was like she had let go of all of the pain she had been carrying. I held her and pet her until she crossed over the rainbow Bridge to Heaven.
My sweet Athena is an angel now. I know she is happy and running free in the golden hills of Heaven. I envision my other fur babies Zues, Rock and Tommy welcoming her home and all running and playing together. Maybe even her birth mother and pup siblings are with her too!
The house is so quiet. It's going to take some time. I can't form a sentence without sobbing and her passing has taken a real emotional and physical toll on me. I take comfort in knowing that she is ok and that she never will feel pain again.
Thank you Athena. You came in to my life when I needed you thr most. You helped me grieve the loss of my beloved Zeus whom I know you're playing with now and you helped me become a more compassionate and understanding human being.
Words cant express how much I already miss you so remember, I'm here, I love you and I'm waiting for you to visit me in my dreams. May the wind carry all of the love we have for eachother, to eachother and as always, keep shining.
Love you always, Mommy
P.S - I left you a sock and some French fries. I love you!
Please also visit Zeus.