Yesterday we buried our dog, Prinz. “Prinzie.” He was 12 years old.
Yes he had a good life and was very loved, but when that moment comes, when the end is now, and time is up…it is very sad. It is like all of the last 12 years become concentrated in that single moment, all of the memories packed up in a little box of time now gone. And they suddenly flood your mind and you try to remember all the details over the years and panic when you don’t.
Prinzie had had a few ailments over the years and 4 major surgeries that he had recovered from. He was a fighter, but he just could not fight his failing kidneys.
I found Prinzie in a pet store in Kingston, England back in 2000. From the minute I saw him I thought he was the perfect dog for our family. He looked like snoopy…how could he not be? My brother was on board, my father too…now just had to convince my mother. I told her we were going furniture shopping and instead drove to the pet store. She gave me “that look” and reluctantly walked into the pet store with me. I showed her the puppy and she looked at him and his crown like markings on his forehead and said “He looks like a Prinz”….(Yes! I felt excited!….I knew then we had won her over). Fast forward a little bit and there he is in the back of the car on the way to his new home! Our little Prinz.
We had lots of fun with Prinz over the years. Even though I moved to LA when he was 3 years old I always thought about him and missed him and loved coming back home to his wagging tail and wet kisses. When my father would pick me up from the airport he would leave Prinz in the car and I would sneak up to the window and surprise him by whispering “Prinzie, Prinzie…” He would start making his sweet doggie sounds, getting really excited and I couldn’t wait to open the door and given him a big cuddle and lots of kisses. He would lie in my lap all of the way home.
The last year or 2 though that I had come back home, I wasn’t sure that I would ever see him again. But here we were in May 2012 and I was back home in my parents kitchen seeing Prinzie. His tail wagging had lessened and the kisses too, but it was still there…he was still here.
A few days after I arrived here in England we had to rush Prinzie to the vets at midnight…he had blood in his stool and was not himself. I wanted to go with my father and brother to the vets…we were not sure he would make it through the night. I had to wake Noakai up…which I hate to do, but had to. I told him what was happening and he was amazingly calm throughout it all. Not one cry.
We had to leave Prinzie at the vets on a saline drip for a few days, and to get some blood tests. The results: His kidneys were failing and he had about 2 weeks left. There is always that hope though that your dog will get better…somehow he will miraculously recover…fighting fit. And for a couple of days after coming home from the vets he did seem ok….but then he became more and more lifeless, not even eating. And that for Prinzie was an indication that things really were very bad.
So on Monday morning – what was supposed to be my last day in England – we had to take Prinzie to the vets to be put down. My father wanted him buried in our garden so he and my brother went to buy the wood to make a coffin. Then I went with my father to the vets, holding Prinzie in my arms all the way there. I kept telling him I loved him and that everything would soon be ok…he would be at peace. It was one of those moments that I wanted to last forever.
I felt I was able be in the room with him as he was put to sleep. It was hard for my father to do that…he had spent every day with Prinz his whole life, as had my mother. I felt I needed to be there with him for his last breath. It was important. And so I stroked his beautiful head and little Prinz-like tuft, tears rolling down my face as he took his last couple of breaths and peacefully passed into the light.
We all helped to build the coffin, although my brother did most of the work….and we all wrote a note to him on his coffin. His favorite toys and treats were in there with him and he looked so peaceful as we closed the lid and said our final goodbyes.
And how amazing really that the 2 weeks I come back every year to England, were the very 2 that his body finally just gave in and he decided it was time to move on. As sad as I am, I am happy and grateful that I got to be here with him in his final moments…it was a sacred moment.
I changed my flight to come home a couple of days later….it did not feel right to leave so soon after burying Prinzie.
I catch myself thinking about life, death, time passing, all the memories, the past, the future, Prinz lying there in the cold in his coffin – alone…and fears start to creep in….a mild panic…and I find my breath becoming shallower….Stop! I tell myself…..just breathe and live this moment and feel what there is to feel and move forward….don’t think so much, don’t go there….enjoy all you have now, be grateful for times had and let go of all the rest. Continue on your journey through life, don’t stop for too long…for there is a power in embracing each moment, whatever it holds, and not adding additional story to it…just being with the truth and moving forward.
Goodbye Prinzie. I Love you x