The day after.

Trying to cope.

This is a very personal, possibly rather mixed-up, set of reflections of how the day after Pharaoh died felt for me. Some of you may prefer not to read this or view the photos.

I sat down to write this, late morning Tuesday, as it was becoming too hot to stay outside. I felt inspired to be 100% honest about my feelings and the photographs are, in essence, copies of the pictures that are in my head.

I woke early yesterday, a little after 4am, and started listening to BBC Radio Four using ear-phones plugged into my tablet while Jeannie slept on.

But I couldn’t get the images of Monday out of my head. Such that it seemed unreal to think that less than thirty-six hours previously Pharaoh was sleeping quietly near his bed, albeit unable to walk on his own.

Then, in what seemed like the flick of a finger, Jeannie was offering Pharaoh my dinner plate Monday evening.

For every evening, unless we had eaten a very spicy meal, Pharaoh always licked my plate clean.

A routine that had gone on for years.

I lay there in bed as 1pm arrived in England (5am PDT) and BBC Radio 4 was broadcasting The World At One. Despite the gloomy headlines still focusing on that terrible fire at the Grenfell Tower in London (not three miles from where I was born in 1944), the images of Monday kept thundering into my consciousness.

How dear friend, Jim Goodbrod, and I had driven into Allen Creek Veterinary Hospital, where Jim is a visiting DVM each week, to collect the required amount of euthanasia drug (apparently just 1 c.c. for every 10 lbs of animal weight – looking at it in the syringe it seemed such a small amount of fluid to bring an end to Pharaoh’s life.)

Then over breakfast, as in Tuesday morning, Jean said how difficult it was watching Pharaoh yesterday (Monday) when Jim and I were away getting the meds because it seemed to her that Pharaoh sensed something was happening outside the run of a normal morning.

Continuing with Monday. When Jim returned, accompanied by his wife, Janet, and knelt down to examine Pharaoh his analysis was that the time was right. Pharaoh had lost massive amounts of muscle tissue from his rear legs and hips.

It was time. Jean and I settled down sitting on the floor alongside Pharaoh’s bed. Pharaoh shifted his body and placed his wonderful, furry head across my outstretched legs. It was time.

Jim injected Pharaoh with an anesthetic. Slowly, gently Pharaoh fell fast asleep. Jim shaved a patch of fur from Pharaoh’s front, right lower leg.  Janet pinched a vein in Pharaoh’s leg and moments later, Jim injected the euthanasia drug. Jean and I continued to stroke Pharaoh’s forehead but frequently looked down to where the rise and fall of Pharaoh’s lungs was visible.

Then at 11:57 PDT Monday, June 19th., there was no more breathing. Jim took out a stethoscope and confirmed that there was no heart-beat. Jim closed Pharaoh’s eyelids while Jean and I sat quietly just holding on to Pharaoh. A few minutes later, Jean and I had wriggled out from under Pharaoh and then Jim slipped a plastic sack over the rear half of Pharaoh’s still body.

Pharaoh had died without pain and in the most gentle way imaginable.

Back to Tuesday, as in yesterday, and now Jean and I were awake and I was reading every comment and response to the post Adieu, Mon Brave.

I must tell you that the love and compassion extended by every single one of you, including the numerous emails sent to me, is the most precious, special recognition of what Pharaoh meant to me, to my Jeannie, and to you all.

Thank you! Thank you so much!

Time then for a call into England and to let Sandra Tucker know that Pharaoh had died. For Pharaoh had been born at Jutone, the GSD breeding kennels run by Sandra Tucker, and Jim, in Hennock, Devon.

Pharaoh’s legacy will live on forever. What he stood for. What he represented. What I learned from Pharaoh. What he inspired in me. That inspiration that will live with me until it’s my turn to take my last breath.

Then it was time to get up and try and stay occupied. But I didn’t warrant for seeing Pharaoh’s empty bed as I walked out of the bedroom into the living-room.

It looked so empty, so lonely.

I burst into tears.

I turned on my heels and went out to feed the horses and the wild deer. As is done every morning.

Walking back to the house, I stepped up on to the rear deck and looked up at the line where the tops of the forest trees on the hills to the East meet the morning sky. It was a clear, cloudless sky.

The sun was within seconds of rising above that skyline. I took a photograph and then the sun had risen. It was 06:24 am. Fifteen hours to the minute before the exact moment of the Summer Solstice this evening (21:24 PDT).

I don’t know what it all means other than in some mysterious, natural fashion, everything is connected.

Dear, sweet, noble Pharaoh.

20 thoughts on “The day after.

  1. Paul & Jean,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. This piece was extremely moving Paul. I couldn’t help but cry.
    We did the same exact thing for Abby. You did the right thing. Pharoah’s legacy is in your memories.

  2. So very beautiful, you allowed us all to share a little of the wonderful life of Pharoah and I for one am grateful to know that the end was as beautiful and peaceful as he was. Just an aside – I was also born within a few miles of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy in 1946.

  3. Dear Paul and Jean,
    Pharaoh must be one of the world’s luckiest dogs to have such brave, loving and devoted parents looking after him. He’ll be running over the fields now carrying with him all the love you gave him.
    All my love to you both, Tess ❤️

  4. Sad but very beautiful to read Paul. Thank you for sharing. Everything that lives shall surely die. If only the end, be it for a tree, a pet, a wild animal or bird, a fish, a human being, could be as peaceful – as surrounded by love – as Pharaoh’s was.

  5. As my own tears stream down my face after reading your poignant post, I know there are no words to comfort your aching hearts but please know you are being sent tons of loving thoughts. Your Pharaoh was quite the lucky boy as was his family. The bond between you both is stunning and touching. Peace and love to you all. ❤︎

  6. Thank you, one and all, for your dear, sweet replies. I have just read each one out aloud to Jeannie and, in turn, we are now weeping.

    We all understand the pain of losing our beloved furry companions and let’s reach out to Peter who lost his dear dog just this morning.

    Thank you! ❤️

  7. Paul and Jean, thank you for sharing such a lovely story with us. My heart is broken for you both, as I sit here in sobbing in tears, remembering how we felt just a year ago, doing the very same thing with our Bristol. Our vet has a sitting room with sofas and chairs, and we laid Bristol on his bed that we brought from home. The anesthesia didn’t kick in right away, so we had extra time with him to say goodbye. Even after he was gone, we sat there on the floor and stroked his silky fur, we just couldn’t bear to walk away and leave him there.

    The happiest day of a pet owner’s life, is bringing home that cute little puppy and the saddest day is helping them cross over the Rainbow Bridge. Stay strong my friend.

  8. Deeply sorry for your loss ❤️ My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know too well the pain of loosing a fur baby and it truly does leave a hole in your heart.

  9. First, I would have to move that bed. I’d be a hot mess every time I walked by it. Second, you have every right to feel exactly as you do. And I agree, he sensed something was afoot. But as much as all sentient creatures love life, they cannot enjoy pain. Maybe he sensed his freedom from it was near. I’d like to think that was the case.

    You adn Jean did the most humane, the most loving thing for him in sending him off. Our vet lives not 5 minutes from our house, but it is the longest trip, ever when it comes to That Day. My heart goes out to you both. 💞

  10. Paul, this post had me in tears yesterday and I couldn’t even bring myself to comment..So many memories of your own feelings as images of my own beloved four legged ones were brought to mind whom I had to make that same decision.
    Honour your feelings Paul let them pour out, I agree with Bela.. The bedding was the first thing I had to remove, the house was empty enough with out purs and meows, To walk beside an empty bed only breaks our hearts even more.
    As I looked at Pharaoh’s photo’s I felt he also knew he was ready.. And he would be in his own way telling you that you did right by him.. In every possible way..
    No words will help relieve that loss, but know you and Jean are held is so many of our thoughts.. Sending LOVE to you both, as you take time to heal..
    Love and Blessings to you both..
    Sue ❤

  11. I’m so sorry to hear of Pharoah’s passing, but am comforted to hear he went so peacefully. The empty bed was so sad to look at in the photo, I can’t imagine how it is to see it there. Wishing you both peace.

  12. So many tears and so much love.
    Memories and loss churn together with love. It makes an unsettling yet wonderful cocktail of feeling that will let Pharoah’s’ presence go. He lives on in your hearts … and his legacy continues forever.
    Thank you Paul for sharing such a dear farewell.
    This special boy did good, all the way to the end 💕
    May the days that pass bring comfort and appreciation for such a wonderful soul.
    💕

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