Welcome to Cleopatra "Cleo"'s Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Cleopatra "Cleo"

It was one year ago today, Wednesday, December 21, 2016, in the very early hours of the morning at approximately 2:35 am, we lost our sweet little and beautiful Basenji girl, "Cleopatra" or as we always called her "CLEO" to Rainbow Bridge. I remember that night and the days that lead up to it so very well; Cleo had started to get sick a few days before, and we thought maybe she had eaten her food a little too fast or that she had gotten into something that she shouldn't have eaten outside or maybe some chocolate that made her tummy upset. We tried a couple of things but they didn't seem to work so I called the vet to make an appointment. The night before the appointment Cleo went outside with Bella as usual, it was cold and very snowy but they always liked to go outside and play in the snow a little bit but not too long after she went outside, she had a horrible seizure; we picked her up and brought her inside and placed her by the fire to warm her up, she became quiet and very calm.

Early Saturday morning we went to the vet in a really bad snow storm. When we got there they ran some blood work on Cleo; it seemed like it took forever and when they came back we knew something was wrong, and they gave us the worst news ever! Our little girl was very sick and the prognosis was not good; they were amazed that she was still alive. I couldn't believe it how she could have been so sick as to not have shown any symptoms until now. That morning the vet gave us all of our options but we decided to bring her home after they treated her for some of the problems that she was having at this point. I remember looking at Cleo's face and into those beautiful-almond colored eyes of hers; these eyes were definitely the windows to her soul which could tell you a story without saying a word, they could express just about anything. As we were getting ready to go home; she looked at me as if we're just going to leave her behind. She looked worried and scared but I told her we're going home sweetie. I picked her up and put her in the car and she was fine. There was no way we were going to leave her there; we knew she didn't have much time left so we wanted her to spend it with her family. The last couple of days she was a little tired and very weak, she lifted her head when we called her and she made every effort to still be a part of the family. Everyone that loved her came to see her that weekend and to say "Good-Bye to her one last time...it was so very sad and heartbreaking. After a while she became weaker though she continued to try to drink a bit and walk from the couch to the rug in front of the fire place but things were getting progressively worse; she continued to fight because she did not want leave us but I knew in my heart that her life was coming to an end so instead of returning her to the vet that night I made the decision to have a vet come to our house the next day to put her sleep in her favorite spot in front of the fireplace. I stayed up with her that night and we watched an "old" movie together about a "Basenji" dog and a young boy called "Good-bye, My Lady", a half an hour or so into the movie she went into another seizure where she died in my arms; I held her one last time that night as she took her last and final breath...I cried continuously for hours as I held her knowing that she would never wake up again. I take comfort in knowing that she died on her own and that I did not have to put her to sleep the next day. I don't really know if they truly understand what is going on at that moment, I wish I could have explained it to her and tell her that we will always love her no matter what happens.

Cleo is and will always be very special to us. She came into our lives about 10 years ago when she was only 3 1/2 years old. We adopted her from the animal shelter in our Town. We found out later that we were to become her third home during her short life. We had never seen or heard of a Basenji until then and didn't know quite what to expect when we brought her home but she ultimately surprised us all with her special unique qualities and characteristics; and her incredible pretty smile, wrinkled little forehead along those beautiful almond colored eyes, she melted our hearts. She didn't know it yet but she had found her forever home with us. We couldn't imagine anyone wanting to give her up; not just once but twice. Now when I look back to that day we found her, I realize that we were the lucky ones to have found such an incredible little girl, simply because "the others" couldn't have seen what a treasure she really was...a diamond in the ruff. Cleo's love was truly something very special and wondrous to have shared with her throughout her life. She never pointed out our flaws, though we surely had them; and she "definitely" had hers but that's what made her so unique and loveable. She always had a good heart even to the very end, teaching us by example and never, ever giving up hope. She touched our lives with so much love, laughter, joy and her mischievous little ways.

She became infamous for finding trouble anytime, anywhere, any place without warning. Our neighbors would always say "Oh my God here comes Cleo" but no matter how much trouble she got herself into she was always a "Lady". She was a very spirited little girl that loved her little "sister" Bella, our little West Highland Terrier. They would play for hours chasing each other around the house or outside. She was extremely playful and on occasion would love to rip up a lot fuzzy furry things around the house especially her stuff animals. When playing at the doggie park Bella would always watch Cleo interact with other dogs, sometimes she would get jealous and like to intervene but it was always with love. Absolutely, one of her favorite things to do was eat, and I mean anything and everything that she could find. We always had to watch her to make sure she didn't eat something she should have eaten. On one particular day around Christmas, someone had given me a box of chocolate covered cherries, I hadn't even opened the box and no sooner did I put them down and turn my back for not more than a second or two, the box was completely ripped opened and chocolates were gone....!!! I wouldn't have to look far to see the guilty party sitting on my bed with a big smile in her face. I would start to raise my voice and she would think I wanted to play with her, so it was a no win situation. Then I would start to laugh and say, "You don't know it yet but you're going to pay for this later on...Ha, Ha...!" There were also times that she would like to "help" the neighbors getting their groceries out of car....in terms of helping I mean it was more like eliminating the food in the bags if she found something she liked to eat. She even like to help with the garbage too. She was relentless.

If you know anything about Basenjis, you know that they do not bark, she was a very quiet but always found other ways to let you know how she felt. Sometimes she would yodel to get our attention. Our little girl loved to take car rides with us and her little sister Bella, anywhere, as long as we were altogether...to the park or to the beach. She ran endlessly at the park with Bella -- they definitely loved to run and play together. She also loved the ocean; the summer before we had gotten the opportunity to rent a cottage at the shore where she played in the sand and chased seaweed...and she loved to swim in the ocean with her sister Bella. She was very lady like in almost everything that she did, the way she ate and took her treats oh-so-politely. Another one of her favorite things to do was to "cuddle" on the bed at night; rolling up like a kitten and snuggling up between us, where it was warm and cozy. There were quite a few times that she would like to run off and disappear; and then trying to find her late at night was almost impossible because she couldn't bark so she could let me know where she was hiding; of those times we found her once or twice at the animal shelter the next morning, then there were other times she to like to wander into our neighbors shed or garage only to get locked in until someone opened the door the next day BUT no matter what she did, she could never do anything that would ever stop us from loving her and giving her the life that she so much deserved. Cleo warmed our hearts and brought love and laughter into our lives, each and every day. There was always something to look forward to when Cleo was around. Never a dull moment...!!! There are so many more wonderful and funny stories I could write about our sweet little Basenji girl Cleo, but that would mean I'd still be writing; she was a such a beautiful and dainty little girl, inside and out who was often misunderstood by many people because they did not know or understand how sweet she actually be and although "trouble" was her middle name she always did everything with a "big" heart and always with good intentions -- and always such a little Lady.

We love and miss her so much and deeply...not a day goes by that we don't think about or remember something that she did that makes us smile or just say that was "Cleo". There have been many times since then that I still catch myself calling "Cleo and Bella" together...my heart breaks every time.

Our sweet and beautiful little Basenji Girl "Cleo" will never be forgotten. We love you sweetheart...your family FOREVER.

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