I was planning to write about something completely different this week, but as usual life had other plans. On Friday, June 2, my dear friend Pat had to make the difficult decision to euthanize her beloved Teacup Chihuahua, Teacup.
Pat has a heart of gold. Over 13 years ago, she rescued Teacup and her inseparable companion, Riley, a larger chihuahua, from a dire family situation. Riley died from heart failure more than four years ago on May 4, 2019. Interestingly enough, all week prior to Teacup’s passing, I kept having visions of Riley, who was always full of vigor, barking, jumping, and catching tennis balls in his mouth that we threw toward him. He was a tender-hearted dog who didn’t ask for anything much — except maybe treats!
Riley was very protective of Teacup, who was blind for most of her life. Teacup was also a content creature, but she loved being showered with love and attention from her mama, Pat, especially after Riley passed away at ten years old. Teacup brought Pat so much joy, and Pat was the kind of mama any four- or two-legged creature could only dream of. After Riley’s death, Pat and Teacup were inseparable.
Teacup, who was fourteen, seemed in good spirits on that fateful day. Overall, she possessed a feisty character and was in good health, although she did have a history of seizures.
It was one of those “ordinary” afternoons when I heard Pat’s voice calling me, “Come quick!”
Her chipper voice grated on my nerves. (I soon learned that she was only trying to protect me from any unnecessary shock.) It had been a physically toiling day, and I was exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was stand up, having just sat down. I assumed Pat wanted me to look at a colorful wild bird outside the window.
Get up I did and walked into the hallway. Pat’s face was contorted in anguish. Teacup was having a seizure. We both knew from Teacup’s past history that her seizures usually lasted a few minutes, but this one was different. It had a fierceness to it that clung to her tiny body like the talons of a hawk clutching its prey. We layered her with cool, wet towels, and her seizure seemed to subside, but then, her body convulsed again, like an electrical circuit that had been hit by unrelenting lightning. Foam dripped from Teacup’s tiny mouth that was shaped like a half moon.
I had an urge to perform the same departure ritual, our final earthly walk through the house and grounds that I performed with our other pets, but refrained due to her excessive shaking.
Above all, I was riddled with anxiety, fearful that she would slip out of my hands. As I sat on the top of the back deck stairs, Teacup let out two yelping screams. I intuitively knew that she had released her final breaths. I looked up at the two towering trees in the distance, which mesmerize me every night at sunset and remind me of my humility in the great universe. As I watched the landscape fade, I thought of my own slow fade in the natural cyclical world that revolves and changes so perfectly without my influence.
That was when I mentally let Teacup go back to the good earth, back to the natural cycle of sunrise to sunset, where silence and acceptance are the only true answers.
Because her seizure showed no signs of stopping, we called the closest emergency pet clinic, knowing that this was a serious situation.
After an overnight stay at the animal hospital, the next morning Pat learned that despite the medication that the doctors administered, Teacup continued to endure several seizures that led to brain damage. Pat agreed with the doctor to euthanize Teacup, because she didn’t want her to suffer any longer. She wanted Teacup to go peacefully, and she did. Pat and I envisioned her playing and seeing Riley once again — a boisterous, bouncy, furry beach ball. As I mentioned, Teacup was blind and as she aged, her pitch-black eyes bulged and turned light blue with a fog-like appearance. Uncannily, when we spent those last few moments of her earthly life with her in an isolated room at the animal hospital, her eyes were wide, clear black and beautiful like a young pup once again. It were as if she regained her vision and was able to see the world anew with a pair of faith-filled eyes.