Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge




"Go see Grandma!"

That's what I always told Elvis whenever we'd visit my mother's house. Entering her foyer, I'd remove his leash, say, "Go see Grandma!" and whoosh! I'd witness a flash of the lightening-fast racer my greyhound once was as he bolted down the hallway and into my mother's waiting arms.

But ever since mom died in August of 2009, I've never said the word "Grandma" in front of Elvis. I didn't want to confuse him, have him wonder what happened to the "Grandma" he loved. The "Grandma" who used to feed him cookies and give him kisses.

Until Wednesday.

Under a big picture window, bathed in the rays of a streaming morning sun, I laid alongside Elvis on a fleece-lined pillow. I looked into his gentle eyes, sleepy with the sedative Dr. Arnott had administered to help my sweet boy with his labored, ragged breathing. I held Elvis like I've done a million times before. Inhaled his sweet doggie scent, stroked his velvety soft fur and talked softly in his ear, making sure he knew I was at his side.

Always, at his side. And he, forever in my heart. Oh, how I love this dog.

And with my heart breaking, I whispered the words that I knew Elvis would recognize. The words that I prayed would help guide him on this new journey he was about to take without me. "Go see Grandma," I told my lovely, loving boy.

"Go see Grandma."

25 comments:

arsela said...

i am so sorry about elvis, about your loss of your boy. he'll be waiting patiently, for you. a prayer for you, and a prayer for yours.

Lynn said...

Eileen, very touching and heart-wrenching. Mandy and I will miss Elvis very much.

Terry said...

Eileen, my heart is breaking for you. My deepest sympathy on your loss. May Elvis rest in peace.

Terry Kraus

Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen,
I have followed your Pet Tail columns for years, looking forward to tales of Elvis most of all. Your love and devotion to each other always touched my heart. What a lucky boy, what a wonderful companion! Please know there are many grieving with you today, many who will always remember and cherish the Elvis moments that you shared with us. Both of you brought such beauty, many smiles and much joy into the world and, today, tears. I hope you find comfort in happy memories you created with Elvis and in Robinson Jeffers tribute to his canine companion "Deep love endures to the end and long past the end...if this is my end, I am not lonely, I am not afraid, I am still yours."
take care,
Livy and Roxy's Mom

Shannon Presson said...

Dear Eileen:

I cried this morning when I read about your final goodbye to your beloved Elvis.

It seems like it was just yesterday when you first wrote about bringing Elvis home - was it really 9 1/2 years ago?

They say there are no leashes in Heaven - perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that Elvis is now free to run like the wind.

Sending you much love in this sad time - I'm so sorry for your loss.

Rene, Tripawds.com said...

Oh Eileen, my tears are falling, I am so, so sorry.

I hope Elvis finds Jerry too. They will be great together.

Much love and sympathy coming your way from the Tripawds nation.

Juliet Farmer said...

so very sorry for your loss. run free, Elvis.

Mr.Mischief said...

I am so, so sorry about having to say goodbye to your boy..Last February I lost my boy Guinness-he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and exactly a week later he had to leave us, and we knew it was coming..it made that last week that much more bittersweet and memorable for me and my wife (who I met a few years after adopting him)...I still cry a year later about the loss of my heart dog...my condolences in losing such a wonderful entity.

Carol David said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It is the bittersweet side of the love we share with the animals who become our family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen,
Your devoted readers know that you have experienced a succession of great losses. Again today, we share your raw pain. Through sobs of deepest understanding, I send heartfelt condolences at this unbearably sad time.
An anonymous friend

Unknown said...

Eileen, I have read your Elvis stories in the Chron with pleasure
for years. Even though it's been
(thank g-d) a very long time since
I went through the pain of losing my Moushka, I can still feel that ache in my heart, and do when I read your stories about Elvis's last days. My
deepest puppy sympathies are with you at this very sad time.

Veghead Cris said...

Eileen,

My husband just told me about Elvis' passing. I can't bring myself to read the story yet. I am so truly sorry for your loss and grief, I know the magnitude of your loss.

Thank you for sharing Elvis with all of us for so many years. He will always be well loved by us.
And missed greatly.

-Cris and Michael

Francine said...

Ms. Mitchell, I teared up over your column in today's Chronicle, 2/29/2012.
I put my precious cockapoo Lola down 6 weeks ago and it left a hole in my heart.

you have all my sympathy.

Francine

Anonymous said...

Eileen-
I have so enjoyed your column and most especially your stories about Elvis. Anyone who has loved a pet understands your deep love of Elvis and the joy that filled your writing when you spoke of him, his cute ways and antics.
I have so appreciated these wonderful stories.
Many, many thanks for sharing this wonderful dog with us.
-An appreciative reader

Anonymous said...

I have followed your time with Elvis from the first day and until the last day. I have so enjoyed your stories about your precious friend. I know he will be waiting for you some day. Cherish the memories.My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Lima (or Lima Bean) said...

Eileen, I just read your Pet Tales article today describing your good bye to Elvis. It was so beautifully written and so heartfelt, it brought tears to my eyes. I've followed your and Elvis's adventures for several years now and I dreaded the day that I'd see this story. You guys actually played a big role in my own greyhound adoption several years ago. I used to live in Boston and I happened onto your articles when I was searching for any information about what it was like to actually adopt one of these guys. Your stories helped me make my decision to finally do it. We recently moved to San Francisco and I'd secretly hoped the we'd run into you and Elvis at some point. My condolences to you. Run free dear Elvis.

Rally and Lima Bean

Kim said...

We just found out that our 'sweet boy' Griffin has cancer. We likely only have a few weeks left with him and are doing what you did...enjoying every minute "in color".

He is also a rescued Greyhound and we have also had him for 9 1/2 years. Elvis had a wonderful, happy life with you and Griffin with us. We can rest well knowing we provided that for them.

Elaine S, chron reader said...

Dear Eileen,
My heart is with you. Thank you for sharing Elvis's joy, life, and the beautiful, brave way that you said goodbye. The world is a better place because of you and your stories of four legged loved ones.
May you find comfort and peace.

Peter Stuart said...

I had to wave my own beloved Greyhound (Schniff) over the bridge. He too gave me that look, so I knew it was time. I've worked in war zones, I've seen all manner of horrors in my life, but nothing, nothing prepared me for the pain in saying goodbye to my best mate. Now I have two more Greyhounds (Cami & Jakka) but not a day goes by without me missing my Schniff. I wish you well and send cyber-hugs from far away. - Peter

Sharon McKeegan said...

Eileen: I have been sobbing since I read in the Chronicle about Elvis dying. I am still sobbing. Your column is one of my favorites, but it seems like the most recent have been about dying pets or the darling little girl who died in her sleep.
At some later time, I would like to share my experience with 6 indoor kitties, 4 that are technically still kittens, but one weighs 12.5 lbs. 5th cat is the mama cat and the last is my Grandcat. My tears are drying now, so maybe I can finish the paper with the "funnies".
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Eileen,
I've been following your stories about Elvis since you got him - I'd be especially happy to see a story in the Saturday Chron, when I have more time to read. It's been a lovely and loving relationship, you did so much for greyhound rescues. My lab, Dolly, is 16 this month, so I too cherish my time with her. So sorry for your loss,
Terry Lee

Paula Randolph said...

Eileen, I'm so very sorry about Elvis. I've eagerly followed your adventures with him in the Chronicle from the very first day. And grieved for your mother and Lucy. I've lost my mother and two dogs over those years, so it was like we were experiencing this together. Thanks for opening your life to us.
Paula

Anonymous said...

Eileen,
I am so sorry about Elvis. I've also followed the story of how Elvis entered your life years ago always jumping to your column on Saturday (and then Wednesday) first to see what Elvis or other precious animal story you were going to share with us. One of my favorites was how Elvis learned to navigate those scary stairs to be with you. Elvis will always be with you - thanks for sharing the story of your relationship with us.

sandy

Marla Blanchard said...

I too dreaded reading your story. I was so touched by your words of love and compassion for your sweet boy Elvis. As you said, now he can go see Grandma.
There are no words of comfort for a loss of this magnitude. We as pet owners know this loss all too well and just reading and hearing sympathetic words are a balm to our broken heart.
Thinking of you and wishing you peace as you rest and Elvis rest with you in your heart.

Ellen said...

Eileen,

I'm just another Chronicle reader who has been touched deeply by your columns. My deepest, sincerest condolences for the loss of your beautiful boy.

You've done so much to raise awareness and appreciation for Greyhounds. I have no doubt that this is a part of Elvis and Lucy's legacies. Other retired greyhounds have undoubtedly found their own forever homes because of them and you. Thank you for sharing their lives with us.

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