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Sexy Mabel

November 25, 1997 (Gotcha Day) - May 5, 1999 (Bridge Day) Sexy Mabel (stands for Mothers Always Bring Extra Love)

The following was written by Melinda C. Capers on Wednesday, May 5, 1999.

"She woke me up very early this morning to go outside, as she has done several times a night for the past couple of months.  Usually we wait for her on the futon that is by the back door because she will scratch on the door to let us know that she is ready to come in.  I must have fallen asleep right away because before I knew it, I heard my husband waking me up for work and I jumped up - realizing where I had fallen asleep and ran to the door to check on Mabel. She was curled up in her favorite spot on a rocking bench that we have on our back deck.  

She looked so very peaceful, and so comfortable at that very moment.  That was the very moment when I knew it was time.  She came into the house and only ate two bites of food, her eyes just stared straight through my heart.  
She looked so very tired, so tired, not sleepy tired, but the tired that said, "I don't have it in me to fight this battle any more."  I was always afraid that I wouldn't know when she was letting me know, but everyone was so right, I really believe that I did know.

As this is not an easy decision, I got in touch with my vet's office at 8 am.  I was told by the technician that our vet wouldn't be in until appointments started at 9 am and that there weren't any openings until 11:30 am.  They asked if I would mind waiting and could I come in then, I asked if there was any way I could come in now and they said no because they didn't want to push back any of the appointments that were already scheduled and they didn't want to have people see us coming and going (as they try to schedule any euthanasias with plenty of time around appointments).  I told her I would have to call back and I hung up.  

I called another vet whose office is right down the street from here and he also knows me personally because of the veterinary organization that I work for.  He was the first one that took care of Mabel when I first brought Sexy Mabel home from the pound in Greene County, Ohio where she was dumped in a night drop box at age seven.  Dr. Brick got her on her feet the first time around.  At 9:20 am she fell into eternal sleep in my arms.

I stayed with her for what seemed like forever."

Addendum to the above story:
On Friday, January 8, 1999, Mabel had a perianal mass removed from the left side of her hind end.  It was deep, inverted and pear shaped.  In the x-rays that were taken prior to this surgery, Mabel was found to have mild pulmonary edema (fluid near or around the heart) and mild congestive heart failure.  One week later, we received the biopsy results on the tumor that had been removed - "Histopathologic or Cytologic Diagnosis: Region of the left anal sac - moderately differentiated solid to acinar adenocarcinoma of the apocrine glands of the anal sac.  Biological Behavior/Comments:
Neoplastic cells extend to the margin of the section evaluated.  High chance
of recurrence if these represent the true surgical margins.   High chance of
metastasis.  These can cause hypercalcemia."

Mabel's fight for the next few months following that diagnosis was not an easy one, however, she continued to forge ahead while she still could.  On May 3 her condition took a bad turn.  That evening she was laying on the floor in her trademark Sexy Mabel pose with her freckled belly pointed to the sky.  We used to tell her to show us Sexy Mabel and she would roll over for a belly rub, just like that - which is how she got the "Sexy" part of her name.  I went to touch her stomach and it felt as hard as a rock.  We went to the vet first thing in the morning on May 4 and a tumor that had been suspected months ago had made its ugly appearance at 8" long and 6"
wide.  She also had a golf ball sized nodule growth by her spleen.

The experience of losing my childhood dog Raggs and Sexy Mabel in less than six months of each other was a very hard reality to face.  It reminded me of one of the largest animals I've ever bonded with and how he touched my life.  His name was Stosh and he was the Palomino horse that I rode through my beginning horseback riding lessons.  As a gift at Christmas in 1986, my Grandmother gave me a purple sweatshirt with Stosh's picture and name airbrushed on it.  I never felt so at one with Stosh as when I cantered with him bareback in an outdoor fenced arena.  That is true freedom.  My horse riding instructor always told me that she saw something in the way I was with animals and that I was one of the people that would never lose this.  
At 13 years old, I never thought much of that, but now I know exactly what she meant, and only wish that I will one day have as much wisdom as she bestowed upon me.

Raggs and Sexy Mabel started me on this path of learning from animals.  
After Mabel's journey to the Rainbow Bridge someone wrote to me and shared the following words, "Her eyes told you she loved you and you did love her, her eyes told you to be kind and you were kind....Mabel and you were joined at the hip - soul mates for a lifetime - you will meet again someday at that very special place called the Rainbow Bridge.....You will see her always in your dreams - coming to you with unconditional love!  Tonight the stars will shine extra brightly for there's a special little girl named Mabel who is the sexiest thing at the bridge.  The shooting star is in her honor so all basseteers will say another very sad Aroooo in her honor."

About a month after that another person sent me a message that said, "I believe that they are sent to the earth to teach us what it is to love.  
They are such great teachers that when they leave, the void they leave us is so great that we think that we cannot love again. Later, as the wound heals you realize even more what great teachers they are - we are ready to love again, but nonetheless, they are forever embedded in our heart....I bet that they are already scheming as to how they will greet us when it is our time to join them.  Until then...we wait and learn to love again."

These words gave me a lot of comfort at that time and still do to this day.
The one message that I can't find a copy of to this day, is the one message that had the absolute most profound effect.  This person told me that the dogs that we rescue only stay with us long enough to let us know that we have to go on and help the others.  Every time I think of those words, I get
goosebumps.   She was my greatest teacher, and she is the reason that I
continued to go on and help so many others.

This poem also was sent to me after Sexy Mabel went to the Rainbow Bridge:

"When somebody dies, a cloud turns into
an angel, and flies up to tell God
to put another flower on a pillow.
A bird gives the message back to
the world, and sings a silent prayer
that makes the rain cry.  People disappear, but they never really go away.
The spirits up there, put the sun to
bed, wake up grass, and spin the
earth in dizzy circles.  Sometimes you
can see them dancing in a cloud during
the day-time, when they're supposed
to be sleeping.  they paint the rainbows and also the sunsets and make waves splash and tug at the tide.
They toss shooting stars and listen to
wishes.  And when they sing wind-
songs, they whisper to us, don't
miss me too much.  The view is nice
and I'm doing just fine."

- Ashley

Sexy Mabel's time with us was all to short, but her impact was forever - from her stealing bagels from my backpack, to our very first trip ever to the Michigan Basset Rescue Waddle in May 1999 - she will forever be Sexy in my eyes and in my heart.