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Goodbye, Violet Rays.

I was going to post a photo of Violet after she died. It looks just like this one, taken shortly before she died, but her tongue is slightly protruding. But then I thought some people might find that upsetting, which is odd after all of the gruesome images we’ve seen.

Nine years in her service and no regrets about her care or my decisions.

If you’re a Facebook friend, you know what happened and when, and how eerie some of it was. You see, On October 15, the day before the second anniversary of the tragic death of Charles Hobson Booger, III, Violet fell on the tile. There were trails of yoga mats for her, and I didn’t see what happened. I only heard Sky screaming. She was very upset that Violet was spinning around the floor trying to get up, obviously in agony. The following day–the anniversary–Violet spent at the vet. They were trying to get her comfortable. She tweaked her back, and if she was six, like Charles was when he did the same thing, we’d have done the surgery. But at 45 days from her 13th birthday, that wasn’t a good idea. Besides, it didn’t even help Charles that much.

Treatment options were limited due to Violet’s diabetes, as some neuro drugs make diabetes go haywire. There were two options, so we tried the first medication. And here’s eerie part numero due: Violet started behaving just like Charles did two years ago, when he had a reaction to tramadol. The vet thought he was just in pain, despite my insistence that something wasn’t right. He told me to more than double the tramadol dose. It was too late for Charles, by the time he got to the vet, although he fought for the entire day.

As soon as I saw the same behavior in Violet, I rushed her to the vet, who was able to reverse the effects of the drug she had a reaction to (not tramadol). We tried the other option that would make her comfortable (maybe), but it didn’t work.¬†After a harrowing day at the vet, and a just as harrowing evening at home, she calmed down by morning. But I had to tackle her to get her to lie down. I actually wrestled her to the ground and it was just about the worst minute of my life.

There weren’t any options left. She was in pain, unable to lie down or get up without assistance (and she was hostile to assistance), and she could hardly walk. And she wouldn’t eat, which meant she couldn’t get her full dose of insulin and her diabetes was about to become un-regulated.

A friend came to pick up Sky for the day, and I spent the day lying next to Violet, stroking her nose and paws, telling her how grateful I was for our time together. I had lavendar and cedar wood candles burning, and beautiful music playing throughout the house. Her final hours were peaceful.


The vet came at about 4pm, administered her injections, wrapped her in a blanket, and took her away. Forever.

I spent much of 2012 saying goodbye to my girl. Her final six months weren’t easy for her, but they also weren’t dreadful, until that last few days. If she hadn’t fallen, she might even have made it to her 13th birthday. But I don’t think much about that. I focus on what we did have and how honored I feel to have been able to know her. She wasn’t a cuddly creature. She never snuggled. But in her own way, she demonstrated that she felt loved. And even happy, sometimes.

Violet didn’t have an easy life: not as a champion racer, and not as a retiree. My mission was always to create a safe, comfortable, loving environment for her, where she would never be forced to do anything. She wouldn’t have to race for anyone, she wouldn’t have to be a perfect “pet,” she would never have anyone try to “break” her any further, and she would have the space to just . . . be.

Goodbye, my love.

Goodbye, Violet Rays.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Paula #

    Beautifully written – had tears in my eyes reading that Mary. Violet Ray was so lucky to have someone to love her unconditionally and respect her for the dog she was in her post-racing years. Something I wish all greyhounds could experience. Peace.

    January 5, 2013
  2. Deb #

    I remember the first time I visited, Charles and Violet came running into the kitchen when we got there. Charles was larger than life, and as we stood there talking most of our focus was on him. And then I realized that Violet was leaning up against my leg as I stroked her head.

    That, and remembering her run like the wind, are how I think of Violet. So sad that she’s gone, but she had an amazing life with you, and I am so glad that I had a chance to get to know her during my visits.

    <3 Violet…

    January 5, 2013
  3. Paula #

    Violet *Rays*. Sorry.

    January 5, 2013
  4. I am so sorry for your loss of one who will never be replaced, never forgotten, always missed and forever loved. Violet was treasured… I know you’ll take comfort in that. <3

    January 6, 2013
  5. Hi Mary,

    I’m glad you took good care of Violet and that she felt loved. It’s good that Violet had someone who felt honored to serve her and give her a good home.

    Though I am grateful for the chance to serve the cats I have lost and cherish the memory of good times with them, I’m one of those people who can’t process that kind of loss very well. It seems to get worse every time I lose a pet.

    I’m glad that you are able to focus on the good parts.

    But for when there are times when you feel sad and miss her, I am sorry for that wound.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    January 7, 2013
  6. What a beautiful tribute, Mary. I feel like I came to know Charles and Violet through your blog and Deb’s. I wish you all the peace and comfort in the world, and then some.

    January 10, 2013
  7. CQ #

    And now it’s my turn to join in the chorus of friends who are touched by your tribute to beautiful Violet Rays. The photo of you lying by her side speaks softly of the special relationship you and she had — or maybe I should say the special way you treated her, always making sure that she was feeling serene and relaxed. And never thinking less of her just because she wasn’t a cuddler. Thank you for assuring us, through the image and your words, that her last hours were peaceful.

    Though I am sorry I found out this sad news so late, I am not sorry *where* I learned of her passing: in your sweet comment to Jason after Deb sent you word of his amazing blog about Thea and Poplar. I shouldn’t have been surprised to “see” you there, given your close connection to Deb and her close connection to the sanctuary.

    I hope your newly vegan neighbor who recently lost her precious bulldog was consoled by Jason’s beautiful blog and his welcoming of Roy into heart and home.

    For anyone reading my comment who’d would like to meet Jason:

    Please hug Stanley for me — and Sky!

    January 30, 2013

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