I saw her picture on FB. She was gorgeous. Big and gray-black with a wonderful smile, or was it her aura I saw?
Her name was Colomba and she was a senior dog that had been in a not-so-very-nice shelter in Southern Italy since 2005. In a cage with some other dogs and all together maybe 180 dogs. All on concrete floors, and in a kind of darkness. The volunteers worked hard to do something; you could see in their eyes how tired they were.
In the picture she sat in the sun, and around her neck a big thick chain. On our way down to Napoli we made a big turn to the eastern coast of Italy, into the shelter to pick Colomba up. My joy was enormous. Olivia who normally loved shelters and who always was my best volunteer didn’t like the place at all. She became very sad.
Colomba was mentally tired and we lifted her into our SUV. She smelled like a big horse barn with pigs and everything else included. My children sat and held their noses for the 3 hour trip to our Hospice in Lago Patria. There were a lot of giggles.
She was full of matted hair, and a big lump infection hanging from her neck. We had a veterinarian for a very short time at our clinic that did a fantastic job trimming her matted hair and generally helping Colomba.
Colomba loved her room at the hospice, with bed and mattresses. She was such a good girl, no accidents. When the volunteers opened the door she would run out into the garden do her business, then straight back up to her room again.
In December, Colomba went in as an emergency to Dr. Damiani’s clinic for a long surgery. She made it through the surgery, our brave lady. At the same time she also had dental work done. She came back to the hospice and recovered wonderfully, our Princess.
She was so loved by many, and they cared so much about her. The volunteers were amazed over how well she did.
Then one day recently, her internal organs started to say, “stop”. Cancer was growing fast within her, and we could see she was not doing very well. We worried, “another hard surgery and she would get maybe a couple of months?” Was it worth putting her through the pain and suffering to only forestall the inevitable for so short a time? Or would we could give her the peace that she so deserved.
My heart cried since I wanted her to have so much more experience with freedom, to love her bed, her room, her volunteers to have more of her around them. But I realized then freedom was what she would truly get if I let her go --- her ultimate freedom.
My wonderful Colomba, it is a little while since you left us but my heart wouldn’t let me write. It was filled with such tremendous pain. You had a little taste of one kind of freedom, now you can lay truly free in the grass across the Rainbow Bridge, and wonder at the butterflies that are dancing on the warm breeze around you. Colomba, I am sorry life wasn’t better for you, but I hope you felt all of us loving and adoring you at the Hospice Casa dell Amore.
Forever loved. That’s Amore