My darling, precious Chandi had died a few minutes before midnight. I was in total shock. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stay with her and just stroke her and kiss her divine face as I had done countless times before. Nothing was going to bring her back. I just couldn’t believe that she was gone.
I finally dragged myself away from her and stumbled out to my car to drive the sixteen miles home. I was so grief-stricken that I didn’t care whether I made it or not. As I was driving, with the silvery light of the gigantic full moon lighting the way, the most beautiful image appeared in front of my eyes – it was exactly as though there was a TV screen in front of me.
In full technicolour and glorious high definition, I saw an enchanting scene: acres of rolling fields that were covered in vivid yellow buttercups. I could see the deep blue sky and the mountains in the distance and it was so real I thought for a minute I could even smell the freshness of the air. It was wonderful! And then, from the left hand side of this TV-screen-sized-film, came Pepper and Chandi galloping full tilt.
I could instantly see how young they both looked – all signs of age totally gone. Pepper’s long pink tongue was lolling out the side of her wide-open mouth just as it had when she was alive and her hair was streaming back as she ran. Chandi also looked so young and fit as she galloped along side her dear friend. I watched as they galloped across the screen and then the whole scene just disappeared in a flash and I was back in my car, still driving, guided by the full moon.
I have no idea what this was all about. I can only state facts: I know that I have never walked my dogs in a field of buttercups; I did not know where this place was; I had not seen Pepper for nearly six years; I had seen neither Pepper nor Chandi as young dogs for many years. All I know is that it was so vivid and the details of how they looked were so strikingly obvious. I would like to think that I was allowed a brief glimpse into some magical place that dogs go when they die, to see that they were well and happy. On the other hand, maybe it was just my exhausted, muddled brain conjuring up an idea that would make the horror of the situation bearable. I do know that the last thing I whispered in Chandi’s ear before she left was ” go and find Pepper”…
I had thought about Chandi dying many times. There was no point denying it was going to happen. None of us are getting out of here alive, no matter how much we struggle. I regretted burying Pepper, but I hadn’t thought about what I truly wanted. Unless you plan in advance, you may do something you come to regret.
I had decided that I would have Chandi cremated. I am going to be too, despite my mum having bought me a plot in the cemetery next to where she is buried with my dad. I want to be with my dogs. I want to be scattered on the Long Mynd where we loved to walk, and my dogs ashes to be scattered at the same time.
I kept a lock of Pepper’s hair that I had snipped from her gorgeous, long, wavy coat many years before she died, and had kept a discarded, broken part of one of her claws. They were in a little box by my bed. I wanted Pepper to be with Chandi and me despite her being buried in the garden. The only way I could think of was to remember to take the box and have it cremated along with Chandi. I just had to remember to take the box with me when that vile day eventually came.
Despite having not slept at all that night and being in total shock and disbelief, I remembered to take the box with me. My Vet said she would ring the pet crematorium early on the Saturday morning and phone me to say what time I could take Chandi on her final road trip.
I didn’t know how I was going to drive there and back – it was quite a long way given the state of me. I didn’t have a choice though – I couldn’t let Chandi down now.
Before I set off, I walked down my road and knocked on Annemarie’s door. I needed to talk to someone before I went. I stood shaking, shivering with tears streaming down my face as I told Annemarie what had happened. She hugged me and immediately said that she would drive me to the Vet’s to collect Chandi and then on to the crematorium. I was overwhelmed at her kindness and will always be so grateful as it meant I got to talk to Chandi and say goodbye to her during the journey.
It was a horrible experience having to entrust Chandi’s body to strangers who showed no compassion whatsoever, but there was no other way. I kept telling myself that Chandi knew nothing about any of it. Being handed a small wooden box that contained what was left of my soul mate and constant companion for almost fifteen years, upset me even more. When the time comes though, we will all be free, together and blowing in the wind for all eternity. And to be completely honest, I can hardly wait.