Well. Today is pretty much a giant downer. For those of you who come here for snarky humor and sappy love, you might get some of the latter today, but, to be frank and without exaggeration, I am devastated. Writing is how I cope with things, so…here I am on the blog.
J and I had to have our beloved doggo put to sleep early this morning. We received some Not Good veterinary news in late December, but the old girl was hanging in there and seemed to be happy and even improving. Until bedtime last night. And she just didn’t get any better. So after one trip to the emergency veterinarian, we made a return trip a few hours later to end her suffering. Of course, now we are suffering with grief.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I wanted a dog my entire life. I mean, I’m really not a person who wants much, and of those things I want, I VOICE it even less, but I know I must have told my parents 96 katrillion times that I wanted a dog. No. No. No. No. No.
Then when J and I moved into our current home the weekend of our first wedding anniversary, I casually mentioned, ‘Now we have this house. Maybe we could get a dog. I’ve always wanted a dog.’
We got on PetFinder and went to a rescue organization with some adorable lab mix puppies, preparing to get one of those puppies. When we got there, the puppies were adorable. But…I fell in love with their young mama instead. The mother of the puppies had been saved while pregnant from a kill shelter. She had 8 puppies, 5 of which were already adopted when we got there that day. She didn’t look like her puppies. They looked like labs. She was brown and white and fluffy like a spaniel with short hound ears. She was already housebroken and a good mama and the sweetest dog that ever lived. I wanted to take her home with us that day, but she had a vet appointment to be spayed (no more surprise puppy litters), and we had to have an at-home visit to make sure we were worthy pet parents for her. We had to sign a contract saying among a lot of other things, that we’d never leave her tied outside or let her ride in the back of a pick-up truck. And if we decided we didn’t want her anymore that we’d turn her back into the rescue and not take her to a pound again.
J’s private commentary to me about that contract: I mean I GET it, but what kind of monster would take this dog to a pound?
Somebody did. Or abandoned her out in the country or a city street somewhere. Probably because she was pregnant with puppies they didn’t plan for. Or she ran away and no one ever looked for her (which is ALSO extremely hard to believe). But whatever their flawed reasoning was, their loss was definitely our gain.
We intended to be Responsible Pet Parents and Not Let the Dog on the Furniture. She cried the entire first night inside the crate until we let her in bed with us. She laid right down at J’s feet and went immediately to sleep. And she slept in bed with us every single night since, except when we left her to go on family trips, in which case, we politely informed our chosen dog-sitter that he or she or they had to let her sleep in bed with THEM. And obviously, since we caved on the bed, we also caved…*everywhere else* too. She routinely sat in J’s chair ALL DAY while he was at work. And…
…she was my couch buddy. Actually, if I was sitting on the couch, or J was sitting on the couch, and one of us went to join the other, wherever our doggo was, she would INSTANTLY be standing with her nose between our respective knees until we let her sit in the middle. J said she thought (maybe correctly) that we needed a chaperone.
And she was The Boy’s couch buddy too. Every morning before school, she would lay on the couch beside him while he poked around and got nagged to, ‘Finish your breakfast, omiGOSH, kid! You’re the only person alive who takes 45 minutes to eat a cereal bar and a banana!’ Our dog seemed to look at him like, ‘Dude…I could eat that in under 45 SECONDS. What is WRONG with you? You want ME to eat it for you?’ (She never did. But she would have. 100%.) She was also The Boy’s best friend. From the very beginning.
When we first brought The Boy home from the hospital, J was actually super worried that our dog would injure him. He’d seen those outlandish stories in the media of ‘dog takes baby outside by neck,’ or whatever, plus we’d already spoiled her, and J was thinking ‘sibling rivalry’ but the big sister has sharp teeth and carnivorous inclinations. But I mean…^^^ She was amazing. She was already a good mama herself. Whenever The Boy would cry as a baby, she would look at me like, ‘Well. The Boy is UPSET. Go GET him and DO something about it.’ (She still cared immensely when he cried YESTERDAY.) And when a visitor would come to hold The Boy as a baby, she was cool with that, but once they put him back in a bassinet or a port-a-crib? She would lay between him and that person. Like, ‘Yeah. You are done with My Boy now. Your turn is up.’ Before she got too old, whenever the boy would sound the ‘MOM!’ alert upstairs to let me know that he was, indeed, awake, our dog would beat me running up the stairs to him. They played together. They napped together. She was an unbelievably good Boy’s First Dog. (She was also an unbelievably good Jen’s/Mom’s First Dog.)
I miss her terribly already. I missed her when she was at the damn groomer for two hours to get a haircut and a manicure. But I am so insanely grateful to have had her be my first dog…my son’s first dog…our family dog…for 13 wonderful years of unconditional love. There have been times in the past 13 years where ZERO people (INCLUDING J and The Boy) wanted to be around me. But she always did. She was my best friend. That’s not just a tired cliche. She was a very, very, very good girl. She was my best girl. And it is very hard to say goodbye to her today. But I hope she knew without a doubt that she was dearly loved every single day we knew her.