My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Remembering Pantera

Pantera - 10/30/95 - 3/22/08
It was one year ago today that my first guide, Pantera died. She became very sick the last two weeks prior. They would conclude she had cancer and we knew that it was time to say good bye when she could not walk and was in such intense pain. I have had some hard times in my life but making that decision to allow her to not suffer was so difficult. I still remember all my amazing friends and family that supported me through those difficult last days. I treasured those last moments of being in the room alone with her. I had a few moments alone with her after she died and I hugged her and tried to thank her for a life well lived. I remember crying and telling her that I am not really sure how to thank her for giving her life to serving me. I often think if I could live my life in such service as she did ... I would consider my life well lived. As I type this tears are streaming down. Cricket has wiggled into my heart and is such a special girl - she has a different place in my heart than Pantera does. As we know, one doesn't replace the other one. Pantera helped me to embrace my blindness to that next level. She was so proud of her job as a guide dog that I always felt like it helped me to be proud to be walking with her and having her as my guide. I have finally picked out a bench that will go in our yard to remember this beautiful guide. As I've contemplated what I could do on the anniversary of her death to honor her, I realize what she would want me to go for a nice long walk with Cricket and celebrate the amazing work of a Guide Dog. She would want me to encourage anyone that I know to serve someone as she did. So, if you have the opportunity today to serve someone, say a kind word, make a donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind, find a passion and embrace it. She would also want me to be with family - thankfully, our family will be together on this day ... she would want me to contact Peggy and Meg, Pantera's puppy raisers, and give my love to them. That is what describes Pantera, my beloved first guide ... Love and Service.

I took off her collar a few days prior to her death and told her it was okay, she could go ... Cricket was now a guide of a year and we could do it without her big sister support. She wouldn't ... she was so stoic. I thank Heather for sharing this poem that helped me immensely during this time.

If It Should be

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should wake me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done
For this last battle can't be won.

You will be sad, I'll understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years.
What is to come will hold no fears
You wouldn't want me to suffer, so
When the time comes, please let me go.

Take me to where my needs they'll tend.
Only stay with me, until the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me
Although my tail its last wag has waved
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We've been so close -- we two- these years.
Don't let your heart hold my tears.


Brittany said...

What a wonderful tribute to Pantera! It got me all teary eyed just reading it!

Lisa and Ellie said...

What a beautiful tribute.

2 labs 4 me said...

Pantera had many people that loved her. I remember her & thank her for bringing us together as friends. Her life touched many....

Tabatha said...

She sounded wonderful! Just reading that brought tears to my eyes!!

OSU 98 said...

I cried when I read this. :) Little miss Pantera didn't know it then, but coming to your house was the BEST day of her life...

Lacey said...

What a beautiful are an amazing person Becky!!

Dan and Suzy said...

May the Peace that surpasses all understanding be yours today Becky. . . Love, Susan and Mirage

4 Wheeling Princess said...

This was my first time reading your blog and I cried through the whole thing. Last year I lost my service dog unexpectedly too. This is a beautiful way to remember Pantera.

karen (Mom) said...

Such a beautiful tribute to a truly beautiful guide dog. We all loved Pantera dearly and remember her with such fondness and fun too!