Goodbye, Raven

Of all the many things I thought I’d write about next, getting high on lilacs, Stellar’s last days, a neighbor’s sudden death, being an introvert on lockdown… Raven dying in my arms last night wasn’t even on the list.

Something must have happened while I was inside making dog food around six. When I called them in to eat, she didn’t come. I called and called, and saw her rise from a strange place by the fence, but she wouldn’t come. I walked up to get her, and coaxed her down and into the house, where she lay on her bed and wouldn’t eat even a cookie. She was moving oddly, all tight and slow. I thought she might have had a stroke.

At the canyon in March

Over the next few hours, she seemed to relax, then she got up on the sofa and I thought that signaled improvement. An hour later she got off the couch and collapsed on the dog bed next to Stellar, unable to move her back end. I lay beside her for the next few hours breathing deeply and calmly myself, massaging her spine and hips the way she likes, telling her what a good girl she has always been, and how I love her. She struggled to turn a few times, her breath coming more labored. Her gums paled, her paws cooled. Her breaths came farther apart, turned guttural, then thinned to a whistle. I prayed for her to be reborn in the best possible life, and rubbed sand from the monks’ mandala on her forehead, to guarantee her a human reincarnation.

In two weeks we would have celebrated her fourteenth birthday. She’s been a joyful, delightful, challenging, loyal companion since she came to me at six weeks old. She died peacefully in her own bed, in my loving arms, at 11:40 pm, of unknown causes.

Grooming her baby brother in March. I don’t know what he’ll do without her.
Double rainbow and the last ice, three weeks ago at the canyon.

27 thoughts on “Goodbye, Raven

  1. Oh so unexpected and fast. I have tears in my eyes reading your beautiful account of her passing. Good bye dear, sweet Raven. We all loved you so much. My heart is with you Rita.

  2. Just heartbreaking news dear Rita. Her next life will have to be extraordinary for it to beat being Rita’s beloved companion. Sending you so much love.

  3. We are in shock over here. Raven’s friendly presence will be missed by all who knew her. May the beauty of springtime , and the sense of renewal help you heal, Rita. We are here for you.

  4. Wow Rita, what an experience! I’m happy that she went that way, and devastated that she went at all. She had the best of lives with you. May the energies of Spring move you forward as you grieve. Be well…

  5. My morning sit was filled with tears. Raven was so sweet and kind and gentle. These animals so enrich our lives. We’re thinking of you!

  6. So very sad and hard to deal with. I am very sorry. At least she died held close and adored. I hope my passing will be as beautiful.

  7. I have no words. Tears are streaming. My heart is aching for you. Godspeed Raven.
    My dear friend Rita, strength and solace are being prayed for you.
    Love, Jenifer & Gus

  8. Oh Rita my heart goes out to you. So bittersweet. Callie, too, died when the lilacs were in full bloom and the scent always carries me back like it was yesterday. love, Sydney

  9. Oh Pretty Girl. What a sweet and sometimes naughty girl you were. I enjoyed your sense of self, your pretty face, your affection. I will miss you. What a fine home and life you provided for her, Rita. Your eloquent post brought tears to my eyes. I grieve your loss. xoxo

  10. Such a beautiful gift, these broken hearts … we are so lucky to love and be loved, to feel so deeply! as friends pass… into the mystic… dear Rita…

  11. I am crying. She was such a love. And I know the love you shared. I am so sorry, Rita. Only the love you knew can allow you to feel this. I am sending virtual companionship and care. I grieve with you.

  12. Tears
    A beautiful, present, loved death
    Humbled to share it through your words
    Peace to you and Raven’s friends and family 💜

  13. Dear Rita, I can feel your grief but have no words to express the huge emptiness. Love to you and your family members. Barb

  14. Rita. That had to be one of the hardest posts to pen. My heart is sad today as I am only reading this now, and because of the news of our friend. There is a lot of despair in the air these days. I can feel it. Love you and hope you’re able to heal from this loss as much as one does. Please call when you feel like it. xo

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