Serena’s Story

On February 22, 2010, at 8:45 PM the angels came down to escort you to Heaven.   Actually, they were in the vicinity long before that, but I was too selfish to let you go and you were too loyal and devoted to me to leave.  

In December of 2007 we had to rush you to the emergency clinic late at night because you were having difficulty breathing.  At that time we were told you probably wouldn’t survive through the night.  If you did survive, you wouldn’t have much longer than a week to live because your heart was severely damaged due to congestive heart failure.  But you were in total control of the situation and refused to leave me.  A year went by, and then two years, and you were still with me.

The extra time that you were given was certainly not easy for you toward the end.   As the vet described it, your heart sounded like a “washing machine” and he was amazed at how well you were able to adjust to congestive heart failure.  Then in July of 2009 you completely lost your eyesight.  That first week that you were blind wasn’t easy for you.   You fell into a hole in the backyard and ripped open your shoulder on a cinder block and you required stitches to patch it up.  After that we worked hard to make the house and the yard as safe as possible for you until you adjusted to your blindness.  It didn’t take long. You were going up and down the stairs and through two doggie doors to the yard all by yourself with no problem.  And you could always find me, no matter where I was in the house or yard.  

Everything was going well for you for a couple of months before the worst happened.   CANCER!  You developed bone cancer in your left rear leg.  Amputation would have been the treatment option, but because of your congestive heart failure, you were not a good candidate for a serious surgery such as an amputation.  Then another tumor developed on your shoulder and neck.  The vet said this one would have to come out or it would kill you within a short time.  Since the surgery wasn’t too complicated, we chose to take the chance and have the tumor removed.  I told you before the surgery that you would have to pull through because I wasn’t ready to let you go.  Amazingly you survived the surgery even though your blood pressure dropped seriously low a couple of times during the surgery. So once again, you were called a “miracle” by the vet, even though I always knew you’d be okay.

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer but you fought as hard as you could to live a happy life in spite of it.  The tumor on your knee grew quickly to a size much larger than a golf ball until you could no longer use your rear leg.  But still you trudged on, holding that leg in the air as much as possible and you never once complained of any pain.  Your bad heart caused you to collapse a number of times, but you always bounced back ready to hunt for my shoes or anything you could find belonging to me in order to carry it off to your bed.

Your bad days were so few and far between, but each time you had a bad day, I would hold you and tell you that you had to hang on and fight as hard as you could.  And you did exactly what I asked of you.  Toward your final days, I realized how tired you were getting and you were only staying because I asked you to stay.  So on Monday night when you went out to the yard by yourself to take care of business, I followed you and saw how hard it was for you.  When you came back to the door, I picked you up and hugged you.  For the first time, I whispered to you how much I loved you and that if you felt you had to leave, it was okay.  I would be okay.  You gave me one last kiss and collapsed within 10 seconds after I told you that you could leave with the angels.  I called your Dad, and together we carried you inside to your bed.  I stayed with you and rubbed your head until you took your last breath about 15 minutes later.

You are at peace now.  I know your best friend, DeeDee, was there to greet you and for the first time in 7 months you were able to see again.  You are probably running through the fields at Rainbow Bridge in full “grasshopper” mode.  The name “Grasshopper” was given to you by your Dad the first time we met you because you couldn’t stop bouncing when you ran through the grass.

You touched the lives of so many during your lifetime, both people and animals.  On the night that you left us, your Daddy’s brother was here from Michigan visiting us.  He never had a chance to know you other than the 6 days he spent with you when he first arrived.   The day after you left us, he wrote me a note to keep with your things telling of his feelings about you and the impression you left on him.  This letter fully expresses your personality all through your life.  I would like to share a portion of it with you now so that you know how important you were to all who knew you………

“I really root for the underdogs.  They are not usually
given a second thought when it comes to the number one
seed.  They are just not expected to win.  Serena was a
winner in every sense of the word.  Throughout her whole life
she gave her whole heart to those who loved her.  As she got
older and was ravished by her illnesses, she kept going
and still poured out her love.  She did this quietly never
complaining.  She adjusted and trudged on forward, always
forward.  Serena came to be an inspiration to me in these
few days that I have been here.  I will take that with me
and carry it with me always”.

There is no more to say to you now because you always knew exactly what I was feeling.   As the days pass, I miss you more and more but I can still feel your love around me.  It’s a love that we will always share until the day that we meet again (and you drag my shoes away to your special place on the Rainbow Bridge).

In my heart forever, my little one…..

Serena’s original life story continues below after a special poem written
for Blind Dogs, such as Serena, entitled

I Cannot See You Mommy

I cannot see you Mommy, when you cuddle me so near.
And yet I know you love me.  It’s in the words I hear.

I cannot see you Daddy, when you hold me by your side.
But still I know you love me when you tell me so with pride.

I cannot see to run and play out in the sun so bright.
For here inside my tiny head, it’s always dark as night.

I cannot see the treats you give when I am extra good.
But I can wag my tail in Thanks–Just like a good dog should.

“She cannot see. The dog’s no good” is what some folks might say.
“She can’t be trained, she’ll never learn–She must be put away.”

But not you, Mom and Daddy. You know that it’s all right.
Because I love you just as much as any dog with sight.

You took me in, you gave me love, and we will never part.
Because I’m blind with just my eyes, and I see you in my HEART.

Lots of Love From your Blind Dogs

Serena arrived totally unexpected in January 1996, given to John and me as a birthday present by our daughter, Shelly.  I had made a one-time comment to Shelly about missing our Doberman, Sabrina, and that we had looked at Miniature Pinschers because we weren’t ready for another Doberman.  

Shelly asked us to meet her for dinner one night to celebrate our January birthdays.   When we arrived at the appointed meeting place, we discovered that she was going to be late.  As it turned out, she had gone to the airport to pick up the puppy who was being flown in from a breeder in South Dakota.  There was a blizzard occurring at the time in the North, and the plane was delayed in Chicago.  When it finally arrived in Orlando, the puppy was inadvertently delivered to the passenger terminal instead of the cargo terminal where Shelly was told to pick her up.  Poor little Serena must have been very confused going around in circles on the luggage conveyor belt.  The mistake was eventually uncovered, and Serena and Shelly were finally united.

Finally, Shelly met us.  We looked up just as this little, tiny, black flash ran by.  The puppy was so excited to finally be released from the crate that had held her prisoner for over 12 hours.  She would run a few feet and then jump up into the air, and then run a few more feet and do the same thing.  John nicknamed her Grasshopper, and this nickname has been hers alone for the eight years she has been with us.

Serena possesses all the traits of a typical Miniature Pinscher.  She is very active and playful even at almost 8 ½ years old.  I truly can’t imagine she will ever slow down.   She does possess one very annoying behavior.  In her eyes, everything that is mine is really hers.  I have definitely learned not to leave my things within her reach.  She has never tried to destroy anything, but rather collects everything she can and hides her collection under the bed.   By the back door I have 3 old pairs of shoes I keep there to use when I go into the yard.   One by one, Serena will bring the shoes into the house, walk right past me with it in her mouth, and take it under the bed.  She will repeat this until all the shoes are under the bed.  Then she will look for another item belonging to me.  If my purse or car keys are within her reach, she will take those.   She will pull my clothes out of the laundry basket. What is strange is that she will not touch John’s things even if everything is in one pile.  She will sort through things until she finds everything belonging to me.  At least I know where to start looking for missing items.

My little thief certainly brings a lot of joy into my life and I treasure every moment with her.


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