Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The other morning I got up for work at the ass crack of dawn, like I usually do, and stumbled into the bathroom.  As I wandered into the kitchen my roomate said "Oh, Michelle, this package came yesterday for you(I had gotten in late the night before and was not home to retrieve it).

I was slightly puzzled, as I was not expecting a package. I picked it up and looked at the return address to see who it was from.

It was from the vet hospital where we had Gizmo put to sleep.

As  I held the package in my hand, this is what was going through my mind:

Pleas don't let it be her ashes, please don't let it be her ashes, please don't let it be her ashes.

We did not request to have Gizmo cremated and we certainly did not request to have her ashes sent to us.  Dead people's(and animal's) ashes freak me out. I would rather remember a person(animal) as they were alive, rather than think obsessively about how they got to be ashes, or how heavy that box is that they are in(and why) and many  other obsessive things I start to think about whenever I am in close proximity to someone's ashes.

I'm not even sure why my mind went immediately to the thought that the package contained the ashes of my dead dog.

But anyway, when I picked up the package that's the first thing I thought:  Please don't let this package contain the ashes of my Gizmo.

I immediately dropped the package onto the table like it was a bomb while simultaneously almost shouting at my roommate, "Oh my god you have you open that package for me, you have to open that package for me, I can NOT open that package."

At this point I think she was starting to think I was slightly unstable, but being the good sport that she is, picked up the package from the table and proceeded to open it.  I found out later that had it contained my dog's ashes she had no desire to open it either, which makes her a doubly good sport.

And so she opened the package for me.  Much to my relief the package did not contain the ashes of my deceased dog.  It did, however, contain this:

Upon finding this little gift in the package that the animal hospital had sent me you would think that my response would have been something along these lines:

"Oh my gosh, how special this is that I have a small part of Gizmo to treasure forever."


"How sweet it was for them to take the time to make such a special gift for me in remembrance of my beloved pet".

Neither  of those were thoughts that popped into my head.

All  I could think of when I looked at that ornament was Holy crap when did they take that paw print?  Did they get it when they brought her in the other room to put her to sleep?  When she was scared and confused by the muzzle we had to put on her to keep her from biting them and the fact that she was being taken away from us by strangers?  Is that the paw-print of a terrified dog?  MY terrified  dog?

And if it isn't then did they take it AFTER SHE HAD BEEN PUT TO SLEEP? Is that the paw-print of my dead dog? At that point I wasn't sure which option was worse.

That ornament did not bring fond memories of Gizmo flooding back to me.  Instead it brought back every horrible memory of that day we put her  to sleep, but tenfold.

It brought back the fear I saw in her eyes as we stood with her on the metal table on a white towel with stains on it that smelled of bleach.

It brought back the memory of how cold it was in that room(even though it wasn't), and me sitting on the bench hugging my arms to my body and shivering, watching through tears as Joe fed her dog biscuit after dog biscuit, as many as she would eat,  to distract her(and himself) from the fear. It brought back the memory of the vet coming into the room to tell us that it had been done, that it was over(please don't judge me for not being there with her when they did it. I have my reasons for that, none of which I care to share with you all).

It brought back a wave of grief so deep that when I finnaly was able to process it, it left me in a funk all day and in tears all the way home from work that night.

Joe says that one day I will be grateful tp have such a special token of Gizmo.  He says I will be glad to have that small piece of my dog that I loved so much preserved.

I hope that is true because  right now I don't feel glad at all.  The ornament is tucked away in a safe place where I don't have to look at it or think about how that little paw print was obtained.

I miss her so much.


dawn said...

I'm with you. I'd feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

Did they even ask you if you wanted a pawprint? When I had to put my cat down, they asked me if I wanted a pawprint in plaster, I said yes. I loved him with all my heart and miss him so much.

It is everyone's choice to have their ashes, or not. It is ok to not have it. It is your choice.

I am so sorry you had to put him down, it is the hardest thing you have to do.