On Saturday the 3rd we went to the local Bayfront Beach and walked the boardwalk to the beach area ... she didn't want to swim, which was strange for Casey, because she loved the water ... but she did 'scratch her back' on the sand for what was going to be the last time ... as I now know, it was her way of saying "goodbye" to 'her' beach days.
After Saturday, Casey started having real difficulty breathing, but she still went for her 'potty' walks and met me at the door when I got back from where-ever [although I was never gone for more than a couple hours at a time].
Then on Tuesday the 6th, I made a trip to the recycle center and of course she got what was to be her final car ride ... and we came home the 'long way' ... with 'our favorite' music playing on the CD .., The Beach Boys "Kokomo" ... we'd play it on the way to and from Dauphin Island Beach, with me 'rewinding' the CD so it could repeat. She wasn't interested in eating on Tuesday, but I had a piece of steak and cut it up in small bites and she ate from my hand. [Her last meal was her favorite food ... steak!]
On Wednesday, the 7th, I went to my Church for Adoration from 3-4 AM and took some photos of her before I left, thinking she might not be alive when I returned ... but she was. She was in distress and was having severe trouble breathing ... although the breathing difficulty had started about a week ago, on Wednesday morning, after I got back around 4:30 AM, it was especially distressing as she could not lie down for more than a few seconds at a time. I took her out and she peed and then when she got to the bottom of the steps up to my Condo, she stopped, looked at the steps for maybe 15 seconds and then very slowly, one step at a time, walked up the steps and into the Condo.
She was unable to lie down and breathe, so I sat on the floor of the bedroom with her and cried and talked to her and told her how much I loved her and that it was okay for her to cross the Rainbow Bridge, I must have said "you can go bye-bye; it's okay; Mama will be okay" dozens of times ... in a bit, she indicated she wanted to go out ... so I put on her leash but she just walked to the edge of the porch and she stood there and looked out over the parking lot and the median beyond, where we'd made many a potty-run, then sat and took one more long look before turning and coming back inside She was there 3 or 4 minutes, saying goodbye. Once inside, I told her I would call our [new] Vet when they opened and set up for her to go in because I couldn't stand for her to suffer so much. I got on the computer and emailed by closest friends telling them I what I was going to have to do. When the Vet's office opened at 7:30 AM, I called and set up a 9 AM time to come in. Casey went to the sliding doors that open to the back deck and I thought maybe she wanted to go potty, so I opened the door and left it open, I knew she wasn't going to run off. She went onto the deck and sat down and looked out over the golf course [we're beside the 18th hole], where we'd taken many walks and nearly always took our 'early morning potty run' [Yes, I pick up her poop]. She was there 3 or 4 minutes. I went out and disturbed her reminding her that we'd sat on the chairs just a few days ago watching the clouds and rain. She turned and looked at me and then turned back to gaze and say goodbye to the 'backyard.'
She came inside, stopped and starred at the front door [the Condo is small] for a minute or two, then walked another 3 feet and sat down, starring at me ... I was on the computer ... and I immediately looked up to see those beautiful brown eyes with that mesmerizing gaze that had won my heart so many years ago. I went over and sat beside her, crying, rubbing her side and telling her how much I loved her and how wonderful a dog she'd been and that I'd remember her forever in my heart and it was okay to go bye-bye over the Rainbow Bridge. Then I said "It would save me so much [pain] if you'd just fall over and die" ... and she did. She went on her side and I said through my tears, "Casey, I was kidding, I don't want you to die" but I know, she was already gone. She'd said her goodbyes to the places she loved, and to me. She laid down and ran over the Rainbow Bridge. I petted her and told her that I released her to heaven ... and her heart beat one last time followed by two breaths, and she was gone. I kissed her one last time.
Loyal and devoted to the end ... I lost my best friend, my soul-mate. I lined a low-sided plastic bin with a blanket and gently positioned her inside, making it appear that she'd climbed in and laid down to sleep. I covered her with a sheet. Then I called the Vet and told them, but went over to see them for my own peace of mind. The Vet verified what I already knew.
Then I called Ray, the owner of Eternal Pet Crematory in Silverhill, AL, to let him know that Casey had died. We'd had an earlier conversation and I found him to be very caring. I drove Casey Nicole The Wonder Dog over to be cremated and put on "Kokomo" [replaying it when it ended] all the way over there ... sound turned way up, me singing and crying, driving with one hand, rubbing her soft fur with the other. Ray is a most gentle loving animal loving understanding person. I carried Casey in and left her and her bin on the scales. Ray cremated her after I left. As I said, Ray is so caring; since many people drive to the Gulf to spend vacations and bring their pets, he also does a 'while you wait' cremation ... the only place around to do so.
I bought a beautiful Purpleheart wood urn for Casey on ebay. After I dropped off Casey at the crematory, I dropped the urn off at a friend here who did some additional finishing work on it.
Today, Thursday the 8th, I went to Mass and had Casey's collar and attachments [id tag, rabies tag and St Anthony medal, which she always wore] blessed as well as a miraculous medal I'd brought back from Italy in 2001 for this occasion, a crucifix with a relic from the catacombs, and some shells from Dauphin Island Beach. I'll pick up the urn and her cremains and bring them home for a small personal ceremony before placing her cremains and blessed items inside the urn forever.