sweet baby astro,
for 13 years you followed sister kona everywhere -- over the fence, under the fence, through mountains and canyons, into rivers and oceans, onto sofas and beds. when she ran too fast, you gripped her collar with your teeth. you couldn't bear to lose her.
except maybe for a time, when you got tired of her bossiness, of her stealing your bones. you fought her once, twice, how many times? she won, yes, but you left scars. and though the scars she inflicted were worse, she didn't hurt your spirit or your love or your need.
you held onto her for your entire 13 years, but no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't hold on forever. neither of us could, and in december, when kona left us, i cried for her and for me. and i started crying for you.
thank you, little one, for letting me have these last five months. thank you for letting me have that last night. you were so brave, auntie bonnie said, a trooper, for holding on for me while you were in so much pain. do you remember me coming back from the airport? do you remember me holding you? do you remember anything at all?
i've run upstairs to type this note, but i've got to get back down. my girl, thirteen-year-old astro, is there in the sun room sleeping. dying.
advanced liver failure, and possibly an inoperable stomach tumor. my best friends told me the news tonight, when i got home. to virginia, from l.a., where i was visiting my father, who has cancer.
bonnie and bobby had replaced my dead flowers with fresh ones, dimmed the lights to hide the vomit and diarrhea stains on the carpet, and lit candles to mask the odor. they handed me a glass of white wine and told me the news. which was a surprise only in the specifics.
i knew astro was dying, i just didn't know when or why. for weeks now, she'd barely eaten, barely moved, only slept, face to the wall. i thought she was pining after her sister, 14-year-old kona, who died in december, on my birthday.
kona couldn't wait for me to return from a trip to l.a., but astro managed. my love, my sweet white baby, who looks more like a 60-pound bunny than the white german shepherd she is. she with her huge white and pink ears, white whiskers, pink nose, and soft, soft fur.
but this isn't the time to write her obituary. this is the time to snuggle with her, to kiss her, to tempt her with bits of beef and cheese. this is the time to care for her the way i couldn't care for kona during her last night. i want to spoil astro any and every way i can before we go to the vet tomorrow.
astro needs me now. i'll try to sneak in another visit or two tonight. but now i've got to go.
little astro is sleeping now but she had a very rough night. before she nodded off, she told me that it's time.
if kona's kind vet had been on duty at the animal emergency hospital, i think we would have gone before dawn. but she wasn't, so now i'm trying to occupy time until her longtime vet opens at 8 a.m.
we have a noon appointment. a vet tech apologized for not giving us an earlier one. there are several other terminally ill dogs ahead of astro this morning, she says. apparently death comes in waves.
10:30 a.m.: astro is vomiting what looks like blood. i can't let her wait any longer. the vet says come immediately. they'll do what they can.
her head in my lap, eyes resting on aunt bonnie, astro left us at the vet's office at about 11:30 a.m., following a lethal dose of anesthesia. she was ready, she was peaceful, she didn't move. her ashes will be returned to me, as were kona's.
it has been five months and six days since kona died. this weekend, mother's day weekend, bonnie, bobby and i were planning to drive astro to north carolina's outer banks and scatter kona's ashes there in the ocean.
instead we will pull up the carpet, which took a beating during astro's final week. and we will postpone our trip until i have astro's ashes in hand and i can send the two of them swimming off together.
astro will probably be grabbing at kona's collar.
********in memory of the baby bunny, please pet your animals......all dogs go to heaven
Please Visit my sister Kona's Residency