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Inspirational Essays

Buffy's Greatest Adventure

It was more than a trip to the pond that I watched, it was a courageous adventure in the face of death. Buffy had never made the short trip across the backyard, through the field, and down to the frog pond, but in her eighteenth year and very near death, she gathered the courage to do it. She stopped eating several weeks before and her frail body was barely functioning. I tried, probably without success, not to bother her too often, but today, on one of my many trips down to the family room sofa to see if she was still alive, she walked toward the door. I let her outside to spend some time in the sunshine hoping that it would warm her body and her soul.

She had never ventured out of sight before, but in a few moments she had vanished. Alarmed, I scanned the yard. I finally saw just the top of her once fluffy, white body barely visible in the long grass near the pond. Unable to take more than a few steps without rest, she was slowly returning to the house. I desperately wanted to run to her, pick her up and carry her back to the safety of the sofa, but I knew I could not interfere with her journey. All I could do was watch through my tears and send her my love and energy. As she neared the house, she stopped in the shade to catch her breath. I opened the door and she entered slowly.

Even though Buffy was blessed with good health (so good, in fact, that with the exception of her trip to be spayed and given her rabies shots, she never had a visit to the vet), she was now quite elderly and deserved the right to die when and where she chose. I knew that the time was very close, and she maintained her dignity even when I had lost mine to sorrow. I prayed each day that I would have the intuitive ability to know when and if she needed help to leave her tired, thin body, and that I would have the strength to help her with that transition. I had called the vet and she was prepared to administer the final injection when it was necessary.

Buffy spent the next two days, her last two, on the sofa in the family room. After several trips outside, the time was drawing near. She waited quietly on the sofa for death to arrive, looking up every time we entered the room, totally aware of her mortality. On her final day, I knew she wanted to feel the sunshine on her body and I carefully moved her and her blanket to a beam of sunshine coming through the door. She waited for Brian and I to sit beside her in the sun before she took her last few labored breaths. What a painful relief I felt.

We placed her body gently on the sofa, covered her with a towel and let her remain there for the night, giving her an opportunity to say good-bye to her physical surroundings and, hopefully, to aid in her transition into the spiritual realm. I could still sense her energy in the room the next morning, but I knew that it was time to place her body in a grave under a persimmon tree near the pond where she had gone just two days before on her greatest adventure. What a wonderful, elegant lady she was not only in her life, but also in her death, and how fortunate I was to share 18 beautiful years with her.

--Lee Channing

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