Pumpkin passed away peacefully this evening at 6:15 in my arms and surrounded by friends who love her -- human and canine. As she went, I told her what a wonderful friend she's been and I whispered the names of everyone who loves her and those we knew who have gone ahead -- two legged and four-footed -- into her ear.
When she was first diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in February, she was given two months to live and I told her it would make me really happy if she, somehow, could make it to her 13th birthday on October 1 -- seven impossibly long months away.
I promised that, no matter what, for the rest of her life I would make every day a Dog Day and that we would have fun and I would not let her suffer. And that's what happened. I took her cue, stayed in the present and found magic in the small moments and we celebrated that in the daily "#@%! Cancer" photographs we shared with our thousands of Facebook friends.
My beautiful Black Dog survived and thrived for seven months. We went to the desert and the mountains and the ocean. She flushed quail and rabbits from the underbrush and hiked and hung out with lots of friends, old and new. As if she knew her days were measured, she tried things she had never done before (chasing a ball! fording a creek!). If my girl was hurting, she never showed it (and I watched her like a hawk) but around noon on her 13th birthday, it became apparent that suddenly she was not feeling well. She rallied an