They say dogs bring many happy days into our lives and one terrible day…the day you have to say goodbye. Boy do I feel that. One of the things that has been suggested to help with grieving a pet is to write about them. Since that has helped with other things in my life, I thought I’d give it a try. It made sense to do that here because she was actually part of the journey that I write about here.
May 5, 2009 – April 14, 2023
We drove an hour and a half to a rescue place in Pennsylvania to pick up a dog named Blue. That’s right…we weren’t even supposed to get you. We saw you on their website, but you were listed as not available for adoption. You were the runt of the litter and the owner didn’t think you were ready. We got there and were taken to a little fenced in play yard where you and your siblings were playing. All the puppies, but you, came running over to say hi. Blue was excitedly jumping up and down to greet us. You were over in the corner sleeping while all of the commotion was happening. We said hi to Blue and he was cute as a button with stunning blue eyes (hence the name) (smile). We asked if we could hold you because you were just so tiny (what they actually named you) and cute, and we fell in love. I guess we looked trustworthy because the owner said she was willing to let us take you. We were so excited!
Since it was a long drive home, we stopped for a potty break for us humans at Wawa. We put your harness on and leashed you up so you could have a potty break too. You went under a bush and suddenly our harness was empty! You were so tiny you came right out of it. Scared us! We thought we lost you. Luckily, we were able to reach in and grab you. We should have known then that having you as part of our family was going to be an adventure.
Your first days at home were not the easiest as is normal with owning a puppy. You didn’t like being in your crate at night. There were a few nights that I slept next to it to try to get you to settle down. I promised you that it was only until you were house trained and enough out of your puppy stage that we could trust you not to destroy the house. We also needed to make sure you got along with the cats. As you grew, we realized that the sleepy little puppy at the rescue was just an act. You were the most energetic dog we’d ever met. After you settled in, we took you to puppy training. You were a good student and graduated with no problem. You were not thrilled with the graduation cap and hid under a stool. We improvised to get a picture. It was all worth it because you also graduated from the crate a few weeks later.
We know that your mom was a husky and it was clear that you had border collie in you. This made you an energetic, smart, spunky, and sassy girl. We got you a year after our journey (the purpose of this blog) began. You went on many late-night walks with me in those beginning years as I processed everything. You didn’t care about religion or what people thought and you were a good listener as I vented about those things on our walks. You loved everyone which is what I wanted to do…no matter what. Having you as a distraction helped me from losing my mind with worry. You kept me busy. It was near impossible to wear you out. You LOVED balls and we would throw them in the yard for you to chase for hours. Kensie would take you out with her scooter and you would pull her down the sidewalk. Even after that you still wanted to play so we would sit on the sofa at night and throw your ball down the basement steps for you to chase. Sometimes we would have to take your ball away because you wouldn’t stop begging for us to throw it and we knew you needed rest. But it was so much fun and a welcomed lightness in the midst of hard things. Your love of balls never ended.
You were a smart cookie. We taught you to ring a bell when you wanted to go outside. You knew lots of commands like come, leave it, sit, lay down, wait, etc. You could catch food when we threw it in the air, you could jump through hula hoops, you could shake hands, high five, sit up pretty on your hind legs, turn in a circle, and roll over. You even played hide and seek. When I cooked dinner, you would dance with me. I would chop some veggies and you would bring me your ball. I would kick it into the family room and you would chase it and bring it back. I always play music when I cook. I would start to dance and you would get so excited. While keeping your ball in your mouth you would gallop towards me as I backed up and when I switched to go towards you, you would jump backwards. We would go back and forth “dancing” a few times, and then I would go back to cooking for a few moments until we did the whole thing all over again.
You were our guard dog. Our doorbell. Our mailman and delivery announcer, and our people greeter. You were a crazy, sweet girl that was loved by many. I don’t think there was a day that went by that you didn’t make me laugh. You brought us such joy.
You were good at getting yourself into predicaments. You loved chewing sticks and since we have some trees behind us we were never in short supply. I would rake the sticks down our big hill and you would steal them and take them back up the hill. One day you came in the house and you kept pawing at your face. Low and behold you got one of those sticks stuck in the roof of your mouth. Off to the vet we had to go. You ripped your toenail digging in the ice and snow. Off to the vet again. You ate a mushroom at the state park that could have been poisonous so yep…off to the vet again. Once when playing with another dog you took off running when the dog had your ear in his mouth and ended up ripping your ear. Let’s just say the vet was used to seeing us. Sadly it made you not like it there very much.
One of your best friends was our neighbor’s dog Brody. He was a year older than you. One day you asked to go out in the backyard. I thought you needed to go to the bathroom. When I realized it was taking you longer than normal, I went out to call you in. You weren’t there! I panicked and started calling your name. I heard you bark and looked over to see you on our neighbor’s deck like “hey mom!” I looked and saw that you and Brody had been working together to dig a hole big enough for you to fit through to his yard. I guess we didn’t plan enough playdates for you both. We were always filling up holes. You tried to deny that you were the culprit, but your nose would say otherwise.
Another crazy thing you did was attack our tree in the backyard. It’s a unique tree in that it is two different trees in one. One part has white flowers and the other has pink flowers. The branches with the pink flowers are lower and when it would rain you would run and leap into the tree and hang from the branches. Sometimes you would get a chunk of the tree to come off and you would run around the yard with it. Luckily you didn’t hurt yourself doing this…so no trips to the vet over that.
You were my shadow. You insisted on following me everywhere. The only thing you didn’t do with me was take a shower (smile), but you would wait outside of the bathroom for me to finish. You were always either sitting next to me or at my feet. And when I was in the sauna, you would wait outside of it on a chair. At night, you would sleep on your dog bed next to my side of the bed or at the foot of my side of the bed. In 2017, I started working from home and you always joined me in my office. All I had to say was it was time for work and you knew just where to go. I only work about 3 hours a week so it never took up much of our play time together. As you got older, you would lay behind my chair and snore the whole time. Boy do I miss that sound. You were the best companion. Becoming an empty nester was made a little easier because you were always by my side.
Who says dogs and cats don’t get along? Benry was your best bud. He loved you SO much. Every morning he would wait by the sliding door for us to get back from our walk. Every morning. When you went out for your potty breaks during the day, if he knew about it (basically if he wasn’t snoozing), he would wait at the door and meow to let me know you were ready to come in. At night, he wouldn’t go upstairs when it was time for bed until he knew you were coming too. He would rub all over your face as you were trying to go up the stairs. You were a good girl and shared your dog bed with him and even shared my lap with him. The day after you left us he sat at the sliding glass door pawing at the glass. I think he was looking for you.
As you got older, I knew our time was limited and I knew it would be hard to say goodbye. It has been harder than I even imagined. You were a part of every part of my day.
The very first thing I did every day for the last 13 years and 11 months when I got out of bed was get dressed and take you for your walk. You loved going for a walk and we went in rain, sleet, wind, and snow. It didn’t matter to you. The only time we didn’t go was if the sidewalks were icy. You didn’t like that, but I always told you that if I fell and broke a hip we would miss way more walks. So mornings now are really hard.
I can’t leave the house without thinking of you because every time I left I would tell you to be a good girl and let you know that I would be right back. A routine that started when you were a puppy and just stuck. And then every time I come back home I expect to see you at the door because you always greeted me when I got back.
I can’t cook dinner without thinking of you because it reminds me of our dancing. And then when I sit to eat, I think of you because I always shared my last bite with you. You always waited patiently for that bite…well most times. It’s especially hard to have french fries because those were one of your favorites.
When I open the sliding door to go out to water my plants on the deck, I think of you. I still expect to see your little head strained to see what I was doing because there was no way I was going out there without you coming with me.
I still can’t believe you are gone. Just last month a neighbor stopped us to ask how old you were because you were still so energetic and got around so well. They were shocked to know that you were just a few weeks away from being 14. Learning you were sick and then having to say goodbye so quickly has been really hard.
There is nothing that I have done this last week and a half that doesn’t make me think of you because you were always with me. I feel like I’ve lost a limb. There wasn’t a day that at some point I didn’t get down on the floor with you to give you a belly rub (something you loved) and a little kiss on the head. I am confident that you knew you were loved and that gives me comfort. You were my Lucy, Lucy Lou, Lucy Goosey, Goose, and forever my puppy pup.
You were my very best girl.