The year after!

I make no apologies for turning in on myself.

Pharaoh, who is still so badly missed by Jeannie and me, died on June 19th, 2017.

I published my thoughts The Day After on mid-summer’s day 2017. I cannot think of a more apt article to publish today than what was shared a year ago.

Here it is. If you recall this from a year ago then my apologies – please come back tomorrow!

ooOOoo

The Day After.

By Paul Handover, June 21st. 2017

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 early yesterday morning, 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, as in yesterday, 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.

ooOOoo

I will close by sharing a photograph that I included in my post of June 19th, 2017.

For this photograph underscores what a loyal and faithful friend Pharaoh was to me.

Taken on the 26th July, 2006 at Watchfield Aerodrome in Devon. The aircraft is a Piper Super Cub.

25 thoughts on “The year after!

    1. Me too. So beautifully written. I received this post from Paul within hours of a friend advising me that she had her old blue healer euthanised yesterday. She was upset and we spoke for quite a while about the love that pets bring into our lives and the great sorrow that inevitably occurs when we must say farewell. I have just forwarded her this latest post from Paul about Pharoah, as it is comforting to know that there are many people all over the world who feel the same way.

      1. Margaret, thank you. If your friend would like to pen some words that capture her love for her dog then it would be a privilege to publish them here. Tell her that so many will know the sadness she is feeling.

  1. “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.” ❤

  2. one year or twenty, the heartache never really leaves. He was a magnificent creature.

    We lost our dear Brother 2 weeks ago, and our heads are still spinning.

    1. Oh John, so very sorry to hear that. As I mentioned above, would you care to publish some memorable moments in this place? You know that would be so precious!

  3. Such a beautiful tribute to a dear and wonderful friend and member of your family. Pharaoh looks like he was one amazing dog. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I remember this. I remember this because my dog died on the 21st last year and you left a thoughtful comment on my post about our last day with him.

    1. Dear Peter, I regret that has slipped the rather creaky brain cells of mine! But I sincerely hope that my republished tribute to Pharaoh also refreshed your loving times with your lost dog!

  5. Pharaoh, I think, must have been a beautiful soul. Looking at that 2006 photo of you and him is so touching. His devotion, companionship and teaching, learning, a confirmation that you journeyed together through some massive changes to life.
    Have you noticed Paul? How life brings the souls we need, when we face change? And how those souls go when their journey, learning and teaching, is complete. I have no doubt in my mind that when you released Pharaoh from you, he thanked you, and felt a most extraordinary and deserving peace.
    Thank you for sharing. I know that Pharaoh meant so much to you. It is always so hard to say goodbye and to wish for just a few more moments together.

    I hope yesterday (Solstice) was peaceful for you. And in some way, you felt all the things that you and Pharaoh learned together. 💖💖💖

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