December 25, 1993 - August 15, 2008

August 15, ,2008

Amy and I took Natalie to our wonderful veterinarian today, for a PTS (put-to-sleep) consult.   Although her spirit was as alive as ever, her body was failing due to stage IV congestive heart failure and her life was becoming very difficult due to the enlarged heart and related pulmonary edema.  Some excellent drug therapy had improved her these past couple months, but the last few days had been really hard, and I could see times when she was trying so hard to get enough air that she was very scared.  Thursday I noticed that she had to stay on her legs several times, shaking, because laying down put too much pressure on her lungs, so I knew it was nearly time.  Both kids are still home from college for the summer, and only for a few more days, so I am grateful that the whole family was together for this. 

The euthanasia session was as good as it could possibly be.  Dr. Mary Kate Cameron here in Sunnyvale gave her a nice big shot of valium, and we held her as she calmed down.  For the next 15 minutes she had her first real comfort in days, her chin cradled in Amy's hands with both of us close to her.  Then, surrounded in a blanket of love, she received the general anesthetic and the subsequent lethal injection, and she passed without so much as a shudder or whimper.  God bless Dr. Kate and the other caring humane vets out there. 

Yesterday Jason, our son, dug a beautiful grave and we buried her in the back yard and had a family cry-fest, followed by a long reminiscence of some of the memorable moments of Natalie.  She was our first dachshund.  I brought her home in February '94 as a present for Amy, who had doxies as a child.  I told her I had a surprise for her, and she looked out the window, thinking that there might be a new car in the driveway (the last thing she would have wanted!).  But no, inside my sweater pocket was a little brown fur-ball, to Amy's delight.  Her birth date was December 25, 1993, so we named her Natalie, the name for the Christmas child.  At the time Jason was 6-1/2 and our daughter, Diana, was 4, so they've had her nearly their whole lives until now. 

She got very lonely when we went to work, so the following year we got Archie, her companion.  For about 5 years
it was just those two (plus the 3 cats we then had-- we're down to only one cat & 3 dogs now). 
Here's baby Archie helping big Natalie stand guard:
She was a beauty in her prime, and ever afterwards.  Technically she was a "tweenie", the class of dachshunds that are too small to be Standard but too large to be Miniature. Of all her nicknames, "Bignose" was the one that got used the most. 
We grew the pack to four wieners over the years, with Lucy, who's now 8, and Petey (P.T. Cruiser), now a very frisky two-year-old. 

This picture was taken in August 2007. Left to right, I've got Nat, Amy has Archie, Jason has Lucy, and Diana holds Petey:
Petey fell in love with Natalie the first day we brought him home.  He'll have the hardest adjustment, she was his beloved. 
When not playing with her or licking her (or, more often, getting licked by her), he'd curl up and sleep on her.
Even on her terribly uncomfortable last day, she still had beauty and grace. 

Natalie "Bignose" Keller,  December 25, 1993 - August 15, 2008. 
Loved and comforted every day of her life, and gently helped out of this world without fear or pain, 
we should all be so lucky.

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Last edited August 18, 2008