If you’ve ever loved an animal, today is one of those days that is the hardest. The day when after years of love, hugs, and kisses you have to say goodbye. You know it’s time. You know it’s the right thing to do. But as the tears stream down your face, your heart breaks, and a little piece of you goes silent.
Today was that day for our sweet Abby, our pretty girl. Abby was 13 1/2 years old, and the oldest of our canine crew. Truth be told, she was the last one of our original family of five dogs, so it felt in some ways like the end of an era. We’ve known for some time that Abby’s time with us was coming to close, but this weekend it became clear that she was ready to move on. A beautiful blond Shepard mix, Abby had dropped to under 30 pounds, just a shadow of her former self.
This morning I made the call to our vet, and through tears choked out that it was time to say goodbye. As always, he took fabulous care of us and fit us right in. Cowboy and I stayed by her side until the end. Tears rolling down our faces, holding each other, and whispering to sweet Abby that it was okay. She would soon be at peace and all of her friends who have gone on before her, like her best pal Pooh Bear, would be waiting to greet her.
As we said our goodbyes, we left with love in our hearts and her worn leather collar in our hands. One more of our fur-children gone from this world. No matter how many times we go through this, it never gets easier.
On the ride home, Cowboy and I tried to get a hold of ourselves. Talking about the good memories inbetween searching for Kleenexes and sniffling. Abby came to us as a puppy who had been severely abused and neglected, and ultimately abandoned to be put down. Some great folks rescued her, and we adopted her into our family, crowning off our crew of five dogs, which happened to be the perfect home for her. Truth was, at the adoption she picked out Cowboy. He picked her up, and she hung on as if to say, “Will you make me yours?”
Once we got her home, she didn’t so much trust people at first, given what the two-leggeds had put her through, but she loved our other pups, especially Pooh Bear. Abby lived under the futon until we she was too big to fit, and to this day hid her head under furniture when she was scared.
But even given her unfair start in this world, Abby was a sweet loving girl. She gave back so very much. She was simply the best. Here’s what we remember most about our Abs.
- We laughed when at about six months old her ears went from flopping at the top to standing straight up. I can still see her turning her head with that questioning look and those great big ears.
- We’ll never forget the day she found a blue gel pen and chewed it to pieces turning herself and our comforter bright blue. It was like our very own Braveheart.
- We always said Abby could spot a lawyer. The only time she ever bit anyone was our neighbor and dear friend, the lawyer. Luckily he had done the reaching at her, had on gloves, and most of all had a great sense of humor.
- She was never one to snuggle up to you, but she loved to be petted, and the porch was her favorite spot. I’d sit in the big wicker chair and she would back into me over and over for a good rump scratching.
- She was a lesson in love, as she and Pooh Bear would always lay together, licking each other’s faces. They were never very far apart. In retrospect, after we lost Pooh Bear she never really was quite the same.
So as our hearts ache tonight, we want to remember the good times. That we gave her that second chance that she needed. That she gave us so much more in return.
Rest in peace pretty girl. Cover Pooh Bear in kisses and snuggle with your long lost pal. Until we meet again.
P.S. Again, I have to say big thanks to our wonderful veterinary staff who was just as compassionate as they could be, and I could see in our vet’s eye how this is the hardest part of his job. We are so grateful to have you caring for our fur-kids.