Amber, our golden retriever died yesterday. Something was wrong when she didn't eat her breakfast. Something was wrong when she appeared listless and seemed to have a shortness of breath, so I called the Vet at 2:00 PM and they told me to bring her in to be examined. At 3:45 Dr. Becker told me she had an enlarged heart with fluid in the sac around her heart, and x-rays showed her lungs to be black and white, instead of black. Amber had lung cancer! We had choices: relieve the pressure on her heart and take her home, not a permanent solution, and she may die at home, put her to sleep, her blood pressure was not 100, but 16, or opt for aggressive cancer treatment. At 3:50, I called Beverly and could hardly get out the words. Bev, you need to come down here, Amber has cancer and may not last long. After about ten minutes, I went into the lab to be with Amber until Bev arrived. I cradled her muzzle in my hands and told her how great a dog she was, the finest dog I had ever had and told her I loved her. She was failing rapidly and started to have tiny seizures. Dr. Becker told me we should end her life. While she was away getting the shot, Amber went through a terrific seizure. I held her paw and tried to comfort her. At 4:10, I called Bev and said our beloved dog was gone.
I often sat with Amber looking into her big brown eyes and wonder what she was thinking and if she could talk who would she sound like. I wrote this poem about death and Mrs. Dickson and Amber.
I didn’t know Katharine Hepburn
I did not know Katharine Hepburn,
but name her movies and I am in the Aladdin Theater,
my popcorn topped with real butter, as Katherine
worries words like a dog’s toy.
I did not know Elvis Presley,
but play “Blue Moon”, and I am at the Father- Daughter banquet
wishing I had black curly hair and a sneer on my lip,
as my band sings that song.
I knew the Evelyn Dickson,
my sixth grade teacher who brought me “Outlaw of the Sorrel Land”
the year I was in an Oxygen Tent. She taught me to love words.
I can not hear her voice.
I can not hear Amber’s voice.
Oh sure our Golden barks, but would she sound
like Katharine Hepburn when she greets me
or Elvis Presley as she slaps her tail on the kitchen cabinets.