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In Memory of Clarice

Clarice arrived at FBRN in bad shape. She was terrified of everyone, every noise, and every movement. She wasn’t able to move her back legs properly. Oh, she would try but it just wasn’t happening. But she was determined. Granted, as terrified as she was, she may have been determined to move in order to run away…but she was still determined.

My rule of thumb when bringing in a new foster is to simply put them in their crate or room and let them acclimate to the smells and sounds of the house. This girl, however, was so worked up, that idea concerned me. Once we got home, we got her out of the car and went to the front yard with her. My husband lay in the grass with her and after about 10 minutes, she took her first, deep breath, releasing some tension. 

Clarice had her first vet visit and this was the start of her showing the sweet, beautiful soul that she truly was. Between weekly acupuncture to try to treat her spinal issues and lots of love and attention from her family, she finally began to calm down.

Clarice bonded to her foster family and became a Velcro dog. Her determination and spirit was evident when she would follow her foster mom from room to room. She was not a loner, by any means.

When acupuncture didn’t improve her spinal issues, an MRI was done and revealed a tumor on her spine. It was decided that Clarice would stay with her family until it time to humanely let her go. No one knew if it would be days or months.

We were determined to give Clarice the best of life every day, truly letting her live as if each day were her last. She loved being outside. Never mind that it was Florida and hot. Never mind that she might easily overheat. She wanted to be outside, laying in the grass. We made sure to let this happen. She spent time watching the birds, sniffing the breeze and occasionally alerting to the curious hawk that swooped too close. Up until her last day, she would still try to chase lizards and hunt toads. She enjoyed spending time in her cart and stroller and of course, plenty of couch time. 

Clarice’s last day was filled with treats (who knew she loved Frosted Flakes so much??) and lots of cuddling. Clarice taught our family so much. Determination was, of course one of her lessons to us. But more than that, living in the moment was her biggest, most thoughtful lesson. Yes, all dogs live in the moment and it’s something that we, as humans, could greatly benefit from. But to see a dog who is confused and terrified, not understanding what is happening to her, not understanding why she’s in another strange place, why she can’t walk or run when she wants, why she’s in the car frequently going to appointments…to see this dog go from trembling to kissing and snuggling in seconds, to see that over and over again, it makes us realize that there really is only this very moment.

Everyone who encountered Clarice fell in love with her. Everyone said she was special, which we knew of course, and everyone hoped that she would have more time, but it wasn’t to be. We took her to our amazing vet clinic where she had more Frosted Flakes, some cheese cookies and lots of snuggles with the clinic dog. We went outside to the back of the clinic, to a gazebo and water garden, and let her go peacefully while she was sniffing the breeze and getting ear rubs from her family. We are thankful that FBRN allowed us to love her through her final days. She is missed. Every day.