From the moment I met Abby, I knew that she belonged to our family. She was with another family at the time and they didn't have the resources to care for her. We went to their house to meet her. She was so friendly and came right up to us to be petted. We had lost our dog Sadie 18months earlier and I was wary about taking a new pet home. After all, Sadie had been with us for 16 years. The grief from her passing was still present. And Abby was a bigger dog--could we take care of her?|
I walked away that day convinced that this dog was ours. She had allergies and other medical issues but she looked at me and that was that. She had my heart.
We brought her home and into our lives. She was such a smart dog. She learned her home boundaries in a matter of days. And she never ran away. She walked with our children to the bus stop. All the kids in the neighborhood knew her. She grew up with our kids.
About 4 years ago we noticed that she was slowing down and disinterested in playing. So we got another golden retriever puppy--Millie. She breathed life into Abby. They played and napped and swam together. They were best friends.
Over the winter I noticed Abby was losing some back muscle and leg strength. No worries I thought. We would get to Michigan and she would swim in the lake. It always restored her. Up until 3 weeks ago she was jumping off the pier and swimming though I noticed her tummy was somewhat swollen. She didn't seem in pain but I got scared. Something was wrong.
Last week I came home from work and Millie met me at the door. Where's Abby I thought. As soon as I saw her I knew. Pain. She couldn't get up. Something happened. Did she slip on the hardwood floor? I thought it was a case of bad arthritis. We went to bed. The vomiting started at 4:00 am. Turns out, she had a tumor burst in her abdomen. She was bleeding internally. She had maybe a month left.
I can't describe how I felt...out of body experience? So many emotions. Denial.
We took her home. I thought that I could nurse her back to health. Every day she was weaker. She stopped eating and she was sleeping a lot. A decision had to be made. No. I don't want to take her away from her home. But it takes 2 people to move her. She can no longer stand on her own. She is in pain.
We made the fateful decision Friday night. My son slept next to her on the floor. I woke up around 6 and went into the bathroom where she liked to sleep. She was up. She wagged her tail for the first time in a week. She gave me a kiss. She gave my son a kiss. She told me it was time.
We came together as a family and said our goodbyes. Lots of hugs and kisses. And then we drove off to our decision.
The end was peaceful. We got to hold her and tell her how much she was loved and will be missed. How much she meant to each of us. And then she was gone. It happens so fast.
So I sit here at home and see the empty spaces in our home. She filled them with her unconditional love. Her love for us.
When she first came home, I looked her in the eye and told her that I would take care of her but that I would never become attached. How silly it must have sounded to her. Really? Game on. Watch this. And now I sit and am heartbroken. She proved me wrong.
Thank you my sweet Abby.