Chrissy’s Last Wish

Chrissy, Houston Hospice’s first therapy dog.

Chrissy, Houston Hospice’s first therapy dog.

200-janJan Glenn’s | Pawsitively Purrfect –

One of the sweetest golden retrievers you could ever meet has been featured in this column several times over the years, as her story was worth sharing. Chrissy was found in Sugar Land as a stray, and her first wish was to be rescued and adopted. Ann and Stuart James, with the help of Golden Beginnings, granted that wish, and she gave back to the community as a therapy dog for almost the remainder of her life.

Chrissy was blessed with good health for the nearly 11 years the James family owned her. Last spring, Chrissy began to show the usual signs of an aging 13 year-old dog. Cataracts were giving her vision issues, her hearing was minimal and arthritis had settled in. In the months to follow, she slowed down considerably, taking longer naps and shorter walks.

Chrissy and Hairy were partners in crime caught digging in the flower bed.

Chrissy and Hairy were partners in crime caught digging in the flower bed.

In late September, Chrissy’s decline accelerated. Her appetite had diminished, and a few masses had popped up on her, making getting up more difficult. Stuart and Ann had pledged to this special girl that she would never suffer. On a beautiful October Sunday morning, Chrissy was granted her last wish.

I got the news that morning from Ann’s email. It read, “Chrissy had an anxious night last night. She was only content when outside. I was with her on the patio after midnight. We made the decision to call Last Wishes this morning.  I’m so glad they can come today and will be here in an hour to send Chrissy to doggie heaven peacefully. They will do it here on the patio where she is most happy. She will finally be free of her struggles and pain.”

I looked at my watch and realized she had passed away over an hour ago. The grief settled in for me. I knew the end of Chrissy’s life was near, but Ann’s weekly updates were always encouraging. Chrissy’s cat pal, Hairy, must have been devastated, because they were constant companions. Hairy sensed that Chrissy was ailing and never left her sweet pal’s side those last months.

Ann said, “Last Wishes is an organization that sends a veterinarian and vet tech to the home to perform euthanasia. Appropriately, Chrissy, who for nine years brought joy to terminally ill patients at the Houston Hospice, was now going to have a beautiful hospice experience of her own.

Hairy and Chrissy side by side during Chrissy’s last days.

Hairy and Chrissy side by side during Chrissy’s last days.

“Chrissy passed peacefully in the comfort of her own surroundings on the patio where she spent countless hours over the years with her loved ones beside her. She was heaven-sent to us back in 2005 and is now rolling in the grass above the clouds with her therapy dog buddies who preceded her.”

To many, losing a pet is no different than losing a best friend or a family member. “From the moment she left, there was a void in the house, and for many weeks to come, we would look for her in her favorite resting spots or hear her sweet whine, calling us to pet her only to remember she was no longer here,” Stuart said. Their comfort comes from knowing it is what Chrissy would have wanted, was ready for and certainly deserved.

This new year of 2017 offers new beginnings. Chrissy has been gone a few months, and Ann and Stuart believe someday there will be room in their hearts for another dog who needs a forever home as Chrissy once did. While Hairy has adopted Ann as his new Chrissy, his wish is to have another canine buddy to wrestle and play with. Perhaps it won’t be long before Hairy’s wish is granted.