It has taken me a couple days to even be able to write about it….. but on Wednesday I had to have my old dog Cheyenne put to sleep.
She had deteriorated so quickly in the last two weeks…..I couldn’t allow her to go on that way any longer. It was time.
I knew it was time as the vet gave her that last shot into her vein, but knowing that didn’t change the fact I was devistated taking her….I was on my hands and knees with my red swollen, tear covered face pressed against her fur sobbing like a baby a few moments later.
The past 13 years I have been truly blessed in the fact she has graced my life and my children’s lives. Of anybody who helped me raise my children, it was her….that old dog of mine. She taught them compassion, protected us when we had to live in undesirable neighborhoods and was my constant companion no matter where I went or what I did.
She was an ideal dog and will never be able to be replaced. She had such a strong Mothering instinct we called her “Big Mama.” She mothered everyone in the house from me, to the kids, to the other dogs, rescue dogs, even the cats. She loved all of us and constantly was grooming or checking on us.
Every night she spent about an hour grooming her best doggie friend Tonka. When Tonka first came to me many, many years ago as a rescue she was broken…..mind, body and spirit. I loved her and cared for her but Cheynne taught her how to love and trust other dogs. She was her constant companion even when I was unable to be there, she never left her side untill she got better.
Over the years Cheyenne also fostered several litters of puppies and a litter of kittens that lost their mama at 1 week old. Cheyenne not only loved on them and protected them (no one could come near them except the kids and I) but after we fed them she would stimulate them and then clean them up. Her cleaning moisture rate had something to be desired because afterward they would end up totally soaked from her giant tongue but none the less the tiny kitties adored her and she would allow them to sleep, climb and pounce all over her till they day they left the house. They day they left, she looked all over for them and cried………she made me cry.
Once we brought home a Momma dog and 9 pups from the shelter to Foster and Cheyenne immediately appointed herself “Foster Mom” to the pups. As soon as we would get the real momma out of the baby pool that we kept the puppies in, Cheyenne would tiptoe straight into the pool, nudge the puppies around a little, lay down and groom them and love on them. She even a few days later produced sympathy milk and began nursing them. She nursed them for weeks and took her roll of Foster Mom very seriously. (They were the fattest little puppies ever) I can still vividly remember her herding them outside in the yard when they would venture too far into the grass.
She was a doggie friend to the numerous rescue dogs who have rotated thru our house over the years. All dogs seemed to love her, she had a way about her that made a nervous, anxious dog somehow calm down and be comfortable.
One of my favorite memories with her was every year at Ward Elementary School she got to come into Ms. Castle’s kindergarten class and meet a room full of excited, wiggly 5 year olds. I came along with bone shaped cookies for the kids, treats for the kids to give Cheyenne, a “Carl” book to look at with the kids and a Polaroid camera and film. Often for the children it was their first experience with a dog and she was always her normal loving self. Passing out lots of kisses, ignoring little feet that accidentally stepped on her and performing on her mark when I asked her to do her tricks. She stood patiently to take photos and get hugs from all of the kids and the kids with home with a new positive experience with a dog, and a photo of themselves and “Big Mama”.
She was my alarm clock for the last 13 years, nudging me with her nose at about 5:00 –5:30AM every day get me up, slept in the bed with me every night, camped in more places with me than I can remember and I am sure of the fact she would of given her own life to protect my family.
To her I will forever be grateful…she was a wonderful old soul, and I miss her more than I can ever explain.
My heart hurts so bad….My life has forever changed without her.
RIP my friend Cheyenne…… RIP.