This was written on the afternoon of the morning that I carried the sweetest girl to get a one-way ticket to Rainbow Bridge. It was horribly painful to write, but I felt it the best time, so I could get the genuine feelings of my emotions. They were very raw, nerves exposed, so get ready, as it will be a tear jerker. I will give a brief part of M'Lynn's life after she was born (one I'm thankful I don't know much about). But the real story(ies) will be in the paragraphs to follow. M'Lynn was a rescue. She came from a puppy mill. I don't know much beyond that. We were granted her by the Westie & Scottie Rescue of Martinsville, IN.|
I guess M'Lynn's story really starts with Dixie. Dixie was a sweet, beautiful, and mischievous stinker. http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/DIXIE044/Resident.htm
I loved deeply with Dixie. The loss was so real. I actually wound up in the hospital a week after she left me because I thought I was having a heart attack. As you can read in her tribute, I was not sure I could ever love again. At least not love like I had loved her, and if I couldn't love like that, wouldn't it be an injustice to another dog? Well, as also mentioned in Dixie's story, my husband and I went to some friends' house and I got to love on their baby. Loving on her did prick my heart and that started blood flow again.
Several months passed, and we began the journey of dog searching. I always loved the Bush family's Scottish Terriers, so we thought that might be a direction we would look. One thing I was for certain, was this time I was going the rescue route. Scouring websites daily, I ran across different babies but things always fell through with them. As I'm surfing rescue sites, I found this Westie/Scottie Rescue of Martinsville, Indiana enter my browser. With it, a beautiful little Westie sitting in a K-Mart shopping cart. Ever so cute, I realized this was the dog for which we had been looking. I emailed my husband the link and told him "I think this is it!" We submitted the application, had a few telephone calls back and forth, and before we knew it, we had been accepted! This process was what I imagined a child adoption would be like. The thrill of being chosen made us ecstatic. So we decided to head to Martinsville IN for the weekend and go claim this beautiful little boy. Yes...BOY. Martin was going to be his name. (Named after the town where we were going to get him...Martinsville)
This was early on in the week and we would be making the trip over the weekend. About mid-week we got a call from Westie/Scottie Rescue of Martinsville, Indiana telling us they also had a little girl if we would be interested. Our original intent was to get two at one time for the sake of companionship, as my cherished Dixie never had canine companionship, and we wanted more for the next member of our household. So when they called giving us the news of a little girl they had, we were ready to jump at the chance. It really didn't matter. They told us of a little girl, gave us the price, told us we would be under no obligation, but they would bring her along to the Starbucks where we were going to meet. They said we could take a look at her there and decide. But we had already made up our minds, went ahead and took the extra money, and obligated ourselves sight unseen. NO REGRETS.
My husband said he remembered when we got there that she stood up in the backseat and looked out as if to say "Hey, doesn't anybody want me?" Of course we did! My first thought of seeing her was how absolutely strikingly beautiful she was. Honestly, she was no lightweight, I will say that. We were anxious to get her home, and had quite the distance to travel back to Alabama, so the financial exchange was done along with paperwork so that she was officially ours. Is this what parents feel like when they adopt? If so, this is wonderful!
I do remember she was terribly afraid as she got into the car. Martin got into a carrier. (He was the best little thing) But M'Lynn was so frightened I held her in my lap the whole way home. 25 pounds for about a six hour drive. But we made it! I do remember we stopped by Burger King and we got them both some chicken fries. Martin ate his, M'Lynn did not. As her personality emerged years later, I saw that one of her favorite things to do was eat. Thinking of that made me realize how very frightened she was.
We got her to our house, and while Martin was thrilled with his new surroundings, M'Lynn was just too afraid to let herself go. I know she didn't realize what all was going on, and certainly didn't understand a forever home was now hers. We had bought both of the babies new toys, one of them being a plastic rubber foot. We didn't realize at the time, but M'Lynn adopted that rubber foot as one of her babies. She carried that foot around all the time. And she would moan. Bless her heart. She was grieving. She was grieving for her babies, and anything familiar. At first we joked about her carrying that foot around. We would say "She's got her foot in her mouth." and "She won't put her foot down." She eventually gave up the foot, but for a while, it really was some type of security blanket to her.
As I mentioned above, she always had a weight problem. And just after a couple years of having her, we noticed we could hear her lungs crackle. She would have spells of where it was obvious she was having a difficult time with her breathing. Nothing ever an immediate danger, but we would always wind up at Dr. Gault's office and he would give her some medicine. It would usually keep the problems at bay, but never completely gone. Dr. Mommy realized after some online research that my baby had Westie Lung Disease. No cure. Someday this would claim her, I had no doubt. Nothing short of a miracle, or an unexpected tragedy.
Memorial Day weekend 2014 started rather normally. Friday night her daddy took her and her brother out for their routine night night potties. A neighbor was burning trash. It was definitely in the air, and her daddy noticed the air was especially thick with smoke. That night M'Lynn's wheezing got considerably worse. I took her to the doctor that Saturday morning, and once again, Dr. Gault gave us medicine. Thinking this would be just another routine flare up, we tried to go on with life as normal. Only it wasn't a routine flare up. This time the medicine didn't help. She struggled all weekend long, and I was making myself sick over it. And Monday was Memorial Day which meant Dr. Gault would be closed.
Worried to no end, I took her to the Emergency vet on Monday. My best friend went with me, because she knew I couldn't bear to do it by myself. The ER vet gave me hope! She thought we could pull her through this - gave her some additional medicine, and we were to follow up with another appointment with another vet nearby who had some specialized equipment and could run more extensive tests than what they (the ER vet) or Dr. Gault could. It would cost, but I would do anything for my girl. ANYTHING. We followed up, got more medicines, and still felt like we could pull her through.
The week wore on. M'Lynn was no better. As a matter of fact, she was worse. I was beginning to feel like we would not make it through this. Even just typing this now brings such sorrow to my soul. This just couldn't be happening. Not my baby girl. She was still too young for this to be it. I remember looking into her beautiful face on the Thursday night after all this started. This time a week ago, she was fine. Her normal self. Now I felt like we were at death's door. Should I take her on Friday morning and have her put down? I did not want her to suffer. I had vowed that with Dixie, and was so glad that the minute we felt like there was no going back, that I did not prolong the inevitable for her. I tried so hard that Thursday evening to tell her we were doing all we could and for her to try and hang on. I even took a couple pictures of her. She didn't quite look like herself, but yet, not like Dixie was the night before she left us. We stayed up for a little while that night and I held her as long as I could. I realized she needed to rest, but she could hardly breathe. It was so difficult. I realized that Friday morning would be it.
I took her to bed, and I slept down at the foot with her, with my arm around her and cuddling her as close to me as she could tolerate. I was determined if she went during the night she would feel my arms around her. We had a fan on her, as that did help her breathe, as much as possible. Then I fell asleep. I woke up and found her sitting up on the bed. She couldn't sleep. Her daddy had fallen asleep. Her brother had fallen asleep, and I had fallen asleep. My baby had been there during the night all alone. I now hated myself. I had done the one and only thing I had vowed I would not do. I still hate myself to this day for that. Tears are rolling down my cheek as I think about it. Why? Why could I not stay awake with her? I'll never forgive myself for that. Never.
But she had survived during the night, and now it was morning. This was the day her life would end. I knew it. I reluctantly got up that day and dressed. We spent a little time holding while her daddy got ready. Once he was, we had the awful task of letting her brother say goodbye. He didn't understand. She didn't feel like understanding. I was caught in the middle. My dogs were/are not pets. They are my life. They will be treated like they have working brains. I had to try and let them make peace, because I knew what was about to take place.
Bobby Johns brought me a towel and said to put it underneath her in case she had an accident. We loaded up into the car. I rolled the window down so it would help her with breathing. I remember her looking out the window at the neighbor's house and thinking "This is the last time she'll see this." We were on our way. I can remember thinking I would not wish this drive away as I had with Dixie. With Dixie, I was just anxious to get there and get it over with, not really realizing, what was on the other side. By the time we made it to downtown Hartselle, M'Lynn was barely with us. By this time, I kept thinking she would die in my arms. I don't know why, but I didn't want her to go that way. Looking back, I don't know why I thought that. But I just kept telling her "Hang on, baby girl. We're almost there." I felt like I had to get her to Dr. Gault.
We made it. We, of course, were the first ones there that morning. I didn't want to wait in line. We went in, and Dr. Gault knew why we were there. He offered to try her on some more medicine. I knew, this was not going to work. She was not only at the door, but it was open. I said "No, let's do this." He knew how difficult this was on me. She was on the table and I was right there with her. He told me he was first going to give her a shot that would basically anesthetize her like he was going to do surgery. He said, "Sometimes this is enough for them to go." And it was. She didn't have to get the shot for euthanasia. And just like that, my baby had crossed Rainbow's bridge. I now had two babies on the other side. They were together, and I picture them healthy and running. But I'm left on this side, broken hearted. Although my thoughts are of them running and frolicking in those beautiful grassy fields, I do picture a part of them crying for their mommy. After all they loved me. And oh how I loved them.
M'Lynn, mommy will grieve you forever. I am so sorry for what you had to go through in an all too short life. I curse those who made you begin your life in a puppy mill. How in the world anyone could put you through that is beyond me, and I hope they spend their life paying for it. I know that's not very Christian of me in my thoughts, but it's where my heart is. They are cruel and vile people, and I hope they have nightmares about it to this day. You had the most kind and gentle spirit of any dog I have ever known. I'm not just saying that I'll never forget the time I stepped on your foot and you didn't even yelp. What dog doesn't do that? You. That's who. Because you were the best dog ever. There will never be another one like you. You definitely had your own M'Lynn shaped puzzle piece of my heart, and your's was covered over in softness and sweetness.
Coming home without you was horrible. With Dixie I had carried a blanket and left it to go in with the cremation. We left your pillow. Your two things that made you "you" were eating and sleeping. So we left your pillow. You have your pillow with you at Rainbows Bridge. But we did have to come home with the towel. An empty towel. We came in the door without you. Martin saw you weren't there. How did a house with two people and one remaining dog feel empty? But it did. You were so quiet, and never a bother. How was it so noticeable you were gone? But it was. It was horrible. And it lasted for days. I didn't think it would feel like this. I knew I would miss you and love you, but I didn't foresee such emptiness. Little girl, you not only filled our hearts, but you filled our home.
So this is how your story ended. The beginning of the end was that horrible burning rubbish, and the end of the end was with you slipping away from me. Thankfully, your Daddy and I were holding onto you telling you how much we loved you. You knew you were loved from the first time you were in my arms in that Starbucks parking lot in Martinsville, Indiana. You knew it all the way home to Priceville Alabama. You knew it those first few days and weeks you carried that foot around, and you knew it in the months and years which followed, and you indeed realized you DID have a forever home! And even though I have my blasted regrets for falling asleep on you I believe you knew it the last night you were taken to the big bed to be with all of us.
A couple weeks passed, and just like your big sister, we received your ashes back. They, too, hold a place in the bedroom. I got a special frame for a special picture of you, my beautiful girl. Just know that Mommy's love for you will never, ever end. You will always be my beauty. My Cesar's girl. You could have so been in their commercials, or done calendars. You really were that beautiful. And although outward beauty would capture others' attention, I know the beautiful you were on the inside too.
Mommy still has the cuts of your hair, and I still say goodbye to you some mornings when I leave. You still get to go to Aunt Karen's and Uncle Allen's house. Dixie goes, so you go.
So I guess that was it. That was not really your life. You were way more than words on a piece of paper. But these were the highlights, the beginning that we knew, and the ending that we couldn't avoid, try as we might. If I could have you back healthy and whole, you would be there waiting for me when I get home this evening. I'm going to list some of my favorite things about you, and some of my top memories with you.
I will say, your ending had one positive outcome, and that was so we could bring in another puppy mill baby girl - Miss Barbara Jean Wiley. Just like you, she has her own puzzle piece, shaped only for her. You moved out of the way, because you knew she needed a home. How gracious of you. Always a lady. Always were. Always will be. My very special M'Lynn, my Hey So Sissa. Till we meet again, here are a sampling of our memories.
1. Singing "Hey So Sissa" - you loved (or maybe it was me?) when I could grab your face and sing that song to you. It was "our song"! Still can't hear it without thinking of you, doing my hands like I've got your face and moving them up and down like I did when I would sing it.
I'm sorry it took such a long time for me to get this posted. Just know it is not an indication of my love, because that is #Timeless.