The Saturday before I put Belle down, which was actually the day before I did it, I contacted my sister to let her know I was going to take Belle around town for her Last Day. She informed me her husband was coming too. I have a small car, and I have set it up for dogs to be in the back, not people, so transporting two people and a dog was not really my intent. At that point, I didn’t care anymore, and when they showed, I made arrangements to have Belle ride in front with me (something she never did), and they sat in the back. Belle’s two car pillows were stacked, so she had support for the one she sat on by having the other one prop her up. She was sitting as comfortably as she was going to be and since the day was all about her, that was all I cared about.
I had a few places in mind but did not know exactly where we should go. I’m not a regular patron of Starbucks, but I did know that they had Puppuccino for the dogs. So we headed to one and got one for Belle. A Puppuccino is a small cup filled with whipped cream. Usually, I would not give this to her, nor any of the following treats, but as they couldn’t do her any harm now, I wanted her to enjoy herself. I asked everyone in the car if they wanted anything and they said were okay. So I got a drink for myself, and we headed to our next destination as Belle lapped the cream out of the cup and made a huge mess. Her tongue was extraordinarily long and would have put Gene Simons to shame.
Our next destination was Jeremiah’s Italian Ice to get a Pup Cup. We arrived, and the girls at the window gushed at Belle. They said she was so cute, and I told them what I was doing. Saddened as they were, they still complimented her and said they did not think she looked terrible. A Pup Cup is a lid for their small desserts filled with either peanut butter or vanilla ice cream. I opted for the peanut butter because she never had it and I expected her to get more vanilla as the day went on. Although she still had part of the Puppuccino left, I placed the Cup in front of her, and she started licking at that vigorously. Just in case, I got a lid and some ice cream for myself, as no one in the car wanted anything there either. We parked in the shade, and I let Belle decide which of the two she wanted to have. She wanted the Pupachino, and so I put the rest of the Pup Cup in a cooler I had in the back of the car.
We went on our way, and I wasn’t sure where I was going. I knew there was a list of places, but I was driving. I mentioned this, and it took a second for my sister to realize I was asking for her to look up the list. After going through the whole thing and seeing where we were, I opted not to go to Dunkin’ Donuts because the listing said SOME locations offered treats to dogs at the manager’s discretion. Rather than going to a place and not getting a treat, we went to Sonic. They have a Pup Cup as well, but this was the big one. She got a full small ice cream topped with two tater tots. Usually, I would not give her tots because of the grease, but when I showed it to her, she leaned in to get a tot, and again it didn’t matter much now. She was ecstatic with that one. As it was around lunchtime, I got a burger and again asked if anyone wanted anything, and still, nobody did. Belle and I split the burger, and she also had some of my fries. I placed one on her nose, and she didn’t know what to do with it. Eventually, it fell, and Belle woofed it in a single bite. She then shoved her face in the ice cream. She was getting her food all over my car, but I didn’t care. She had the biggest smile and was enjoying herself.
From there, we moved on to the local Pet Smart. When we got there, my brother-in-law helped me get a cart ready, and we put Belle’s bed on the bottom and her on top of that and carted her around the store. Typically, I would have her walk, but she was in so much pain the last few days, I didn’t want to bother her. As we went around, she was complimented and asked if she could be pet. I told her story, and she got oohs and ahhs. We then went down the toy aisle so I could buy something for Lily to keep her busy when I took Belle to the vet the following day. After I decided on a flavored cheese bone, we moved to the treat aisle. I decided on small salmon treats because she loved salmon and I could give her a bunch of them without having to break them up.
We left and went to our last food destination. It was Culver’s. They had recently opened a location near me, and I was not aware they had treats for dogs, but they were mentioned on the list so I figured we would go as it was near our last destination on the trip. When we got there, the summer storm was in full downpour mode. I ordered a mixer, and this time, my brother-in-law decided he wanted one too after I chided him into it. I also asked for their dog treat, expecting to get some ice cream for Belle. The person at the window was not sure what it was, but after asking, they said they would get one out with the rest of our order. We parked to the side, and someone came running out in the torrent. When they left, I realized there were only two items, neither of which were a treat for Belle. She didn’t care, and it was too wet to bother. She still had her ice cream from Sonic, and I opened the bag of treats and gave her two.
After that minor disappointment, we drove across the street to pet-friendly Home Depot. She always enjoyed going there, as it was one of the few stores I was allowed to take her inside. She also used to get so much attention before we passed the security area, it often took ten minutes or more before we entered the store proper. We made the bed in the cart again and wheeled her around. I was actually there to see if they had something. I do not recall what it was other than in the lighting section. When we were leaving the area, we ran into an employee, and he made some comment that prompted me to explain it was her Last Day. He then told me the story of him putting his dog down and was very reassuring saying it was more selfish to keep her around and suffer than doing what I was planning. It actually made me feel better about the whole ordeal I was going through. We headed to the front, and Belle’s regular personality took hold, as she hated containment. She tried to get out of the cart, but as she was not as strong as she used to be, she didn’t get far.
From there, we headed back to my house. On the way, she fell in between the seat and the door. I tried to move her back, but she just struggled more so I left her until I pulled into my garage. Once there, I carefully opened the door and cradled her. My sister wanted to say goodbye and started to well up. I told her to be quick and kicked her out because this was going to be a happy day for Belle and no one was going to ruin that.
After they left, I took the ice cream I had left and froze it to give to her the next day. Lily was released from her crate to burn off some energy, and I put Belle in my bedroom. My plans for the rest of the day were to watch movies with Malamutes in it with Belle, and only Belle to give us a bit of alone time that I hadn’t had since getting Lily.
I crated Lily and put Belle on my bed on top of the towels I was using to absorb her scent. I pulled out the treats and was about to give some to Belle, and Lily started making a loud noise wanting attention and probably the treats. I turned around to deal with her, and when I returned, Belle was laying on the ground. My bed is pretty high, and a fall like that probably hurt her, but she didn’t act like it. I tried to get her back on the bed, but Lily wasn’t allowing it, getting in the way, and from Belle’s vantage, she could not see the TV.
I moved both dogs into the living room, and we watched a Dogs Purpose because I wanted to remember her in a good way and hoped she was just on the beginning of her journey and I would see her again. After that we watched Iron Will (her favorite movie) and I did the call. Belle responded. We tried to watch Snow Dogs, but my copy was Norwegian with no subtitles. I opted to watch Lost Boys (one of my favorite movies and the reason I wanted a Malamute). We cheered when Nanook saved the day, killing Paul. He “helped a little.” we then we fell asleep. She stayed on the bed with me while Lily slept in her crate in the other room.
The real last day’s tale tomorrow.