My little girl...

I've been a cat person all my life. Even though I like dogs and enjoy being around them, my temperament was always more inclined to cats...they do their own thing. Dogs are needy and require a lot of work and attention, which has never much suited my lifestyle. I'd never even dated a woman with a dog, really. They smelled bad too.

Lucy took to me right away, and I took to her too. She was so sweet, she had big huge brown eyes and when she saw me her tail wagged so hard her entire body would shake. She would come outside with me for cigarettes and patrol the yard to make sure I was safe. She would lay beside me on the sofa and put her head on my lap. She slept in the bedroom with us and wouldn't leave the room until we were both out of bed. She became my dog as well as my wife's. She was our dog.

On Sunday, Lucy wasn't eating much. She was still getting around and playing with me in the yard and being Lucy. By Monday night, she wouldn't eat at all and she'd lost a lot of weight. Tuesday morning, we took her to the doctor who noticed she was a little jaundiced and kept her overnight to test for various things, but was optimistic about getting her better. On Wednesday, the doctor rattled off some numbers that were related to blood and meant that she was getting worse. That's when the doctor said we should be thinking about "quality of life". In a day, the optimism had turned to thoughts of the worst.

We took Lucy home Wednesday night and brought her back Thursday for more tests. We dropped her off with the doctor who said they would have test results in 20 minutes. We didn't hear from them for several hours. The doctor called my wife and she called me in tears saying she was coming to get me on the way to the clinic.

A massive kidney infection had developed into kidney and liver failure. It had happened in a matter of days. The doctor rattled off more numbers, I didn't know what they meant except that this creature I loved was dying. My wife and I were both in tears, as we had been on and off for days. I asked if she was suffering, the doctor said she was probably feeling no more than a dull ache, but that it would get worse. I asked what could be done, she offered us some pills to give her with the food we would have to force feed her, because she still wouldn't eat, and an IV bag of fluid to give her.

We knew the doctor was right, we knew we were losing her, but we had to give her one more chance, and we wanted to say goodbye to her. The doctor told us we would have to bring her back on Saturday for more tests, but we all knew we would bring her back to let her go.

The next day was as surreal as any day I can remember. We both sat with Lucy most of the time, brought her pillow around into whatever room we were in so she could be close. She still followed me into the back yard when I would have a cigarette, though she lay mostly on the ground instead of patrolling. The doctor had warned us that she may pass in the night, so we were constantly alarmed that she would just go, but she didn't. She stayed with us, she was patient and forgiving when we force fed her. She was the absolute model of a good dog.

Saturday morning, we got up and sat with Lucy one last time in the back yard, drinking our coffee and letting her enjoy the warm, sunny morning. We cried. We hugged her. We kissed her face. We stroked her fur. We took pictures. We cried more. I carried her to the car, she was too weak to walk down the steps and, if I'm honest, I wanted to hold her close to me. I don't know how my wife found the strength to drive to the clinic. The doctor saw Lucy, asked us a few questions and didn't have to run any tests. She said it was time to go ahead. We were already in tears, we already knew it was time.

They took Lucy into the back room to put in an IV tube for the injection, and my wife and I went outside to smoke a very needed cigarette. We barely spoke, our faces wet. Someone came out to tell us she was ready, and when we came back in the room, Lucy wagged her tail. As always, she was happy we were there.

We sat with Lucy, we kissed her and stroked her and told her what a good girl she was, and she lay down before us with her head in my wife's hands. The doctor gave her a shot of powerful barbituates that would stop her heart with no pain. We cried and told her we loved her over and over again and didn't stop when the doctor said she was gone. We stayed with her for a long time, telling her we loved her and that she was a good girl. She looked so peaceful, so sweet, just the way she always did.

It was a peaceful way to go for her, surrounded by love. My wife said to her that we hoped this was a gift, that we spared her from suffering. Lucy put her trust in us and even though the decision to let her go was so painful, I hope and believe that we did right by her.

Everything since then has been hard. We came home and cried when she didn't meet us at the door. I cried when I went outside for a cigarette and she didn't come with me, and I cried more when I went back inside and turned to call her in with me, and she wasn't there. We spent most of the day in our studio, where Lucy wasn't allowed, because the living room made us cry when she wasn't there, and my wife cried when she laid down on the sofa for a nap and Lucy didn't join her. Today, I cried when we left the house and I turned to say goodbye to her and couldn't.

I miss her. I miss her more than I ever thought I would miss a dog. I know tomorrow will be easier and I will miss her a little less, and the day after that and so on until I will think of her and smile sadly and no more, but today it is so hard not to see her face or pet her head or hold her close to me. I can still feel her weight in my arms when I held her that last time.

I'll always love you, Lucy. You were my little girl.
posted by Gibson Twist @ October 11th, 2010, 5:01 am  |  13 comments

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LeyLegbreaker, October 11th, 2010, 5:42 am

Would you know my name
if i saw you in heaven
would it be the same
if i saw you in heaven

I'm not religious at all, but at times it can give you comfort. She had the best time of her life with you, and had been loved dearly. Not every pet gets that chance. You did great for having allowed her such a good life, and who time, when you both feel better, you can give the exact same love to a new little pet, and raise her with the same spirit and love you did with Lucy.

darkamnios, October 11th, 2010, 8:08 am

<3 The best thing is life is to be love, and to be loved in return.
And seems she loved you guys very much so, as you loved her.
I cant imagine exactly what you both are going through,Gato our dog is my furry kid and I have no idea what would life be like without him.. however I want to thank you again, for sharing such personal happenings here with us your readers, and to allow us a little bit into your heart, True, its a sad occurrence, but to witness love regardless is a beautiful thing, and for me makes for a beautiful bday present.
Saying goodbye is never easy, and as sad as the situation is I hope you can find some comfort on knowing you have given a pet a lovely home and life. <3

liamdelf, October 11th, 2010, 8:37 am

It is so hard to lose a loved one. I lost my Leareth about a month ago and I still cry when I think about her. Maybe I always will. My thoughts are with you guys.

Rori, October 11th, 2010, 9:18 am

Thank you so much to everyone. You all have no idea how much your sympathies have meant to us. It's so moving to me, it's hard to put into any words but thank you.

youngcannibals, October 11th, 2010, 12:24 pm

I really couldn't finish reading this post. I was at an airport, and was starting to tear up. I know how hard it is to lose a member of the family like that; my heart goes out to you both.

Kotire, October 11th, 2010, 11:56 pm

When I read this I started singing this. It made me cry and may do the same for you, so click with caution please.

dangerface, October 14th, 2010, 6:30 pm

Heartbreaking. I've been there, guys, so I know what you're going through. Her life was short, but it sounds like it was a good one. My condolences.

Penguino (Guest), October 16th, 2010, 5:05 am

My thoughts and prayers go out to you both. Losing a family member is never easy and the ache while never going away can only lessen over time. Love is never ending, and I'm sure that Lucy knows that even gone she will ALWAYS be loved, cherished, and remembered.
Much Love and Happy thoughts

Jamming (Guest), October 25th, 2010, 1:03 am

The Rainbow Bridge The Rainbow Bridge is a Poem you can find several places online. Search for it when your prepared, it can still make a grown person cry.

Mike (Guest), October 26th, 2010, 8:53 am

My sympathies I am so sorry man. I really am. I know what its like to lose a dear friend, and pet. Just know that she lived a good life with people who loved her and cared for her.

Take care,

Jeff (Guest), November 19th, 2010, 4:58 am

I've cried maybe 4 times in my adult life, but that did it in for me. Take solace that she was loved and cared for all her days and you gave her the perfect life. You will always have my sympathy in this, it's never easy to lose a friend, I still miss my dog to this day but now I can look back fondly. Never stop loving her.

Corkey (Guest), November 22nd, 2010, 7:04 pm

Your dog The one thing thing you can take comfort from is that the awful, wrenching pain and loss is you feel is a measure of the love she felt everyday she was with you.

You can't replace a companion like her. But I will say that it would be a shame to let all she taught you go to waste, and I guarantee that there is some goofy-ass dog out here that could thrive on half of that love.

barclaybenj (Guest), December 23rd, 2010, 12:39 pm

D: this made me burst into tears.

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