Pearl, a wonderful and much loved little working terrier that was retired to the pampered comfort and luxury of my parents home, came down sick late Sunday night.
Early Monday morning she was diagnosed with a ruptured malignancy on her spleen that had resulted in massive internal bleeding. The decision was made to put her to sleep -- there was no other option, and she was so weak by this time, that it took only took the first shot.
Pearl came to me at the age of one year from the working kennel of Char Smith, and I will forever be grateful for the time I had with this little dog.
Pearl made it on national TV (ABC's Nightline) for a short clip, made it to the cover of a book on working terriers (not my book, but another), and was even featured, in retirement, on a neighborhood calendar.
My folks thought Pearl was the most wonderful gift I ever gave them, but in truth my parents were my gift to her. Pearl was love-bombed the minute she came through the door, with warm laps, soft couches, Persian carpets, long walks and daily ball tosses. And was she always glad to see my parents? Oh yes! She simply could not get enough.
The picture below is of my mother and Pearl, shortly after my father died earlier this year. Pearl loved my mother even more than she loved me. Together they were well known regulars around DuPont Circle, and it was my hope that they would have 6 or 7 more year together, but it was not to be.
Life is a deck of cards, and we never know what the next hand will bring us. In the end, no matter how long we live, we will wish there had been more time. But, in the end, the only question is what did we do with the time that was given to us?
Pearl, at least, can say she did quite a lot for a little dog. She worked groundhog, raccoon, fox and possum in dirt dens in two states. She ran on the beach and climbed trees, battled rat snakes and chased cats, caught the ball, and brought it back. She counted mice, rats, chipmunks and birds as fair game and even caught a few. She showed a few other dogs how it was done.
Pearl had three loving owners, all of whom made sure she was moving forward in her life, and all of whom mourned her passing on her last day.
I last saw her on Saturday -- as spry as ever, and as wiggly as a worm.
Pearl was loved, and she loved. In the end she had an unseen medical time bomb inside her that suddenly, and without warning, swept her off her feet and out of our lives. But did she live when she was alive? Oh yes!
Goodbye sweet little dog. You will never be forgotten.