Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Saddest Day

I got Dublin as a birthday gift the year I turned twenty. We picked her out of the litter because when we held her, she would stretch her legs out like a flying super hero. Her face used to be all black with little brown eyebrows and she had one white toe. She was always a good girl...not "good" in the traditional dog sense, I mean, as many of you know, she had her issues...we had to keep her away from strangers since a 100 pound dog lunging and snarling at you can pretty much make you pee your pants. But as a family dog, there was never a more loyal, gentle, sweet girl ever. I could trust her completely with the kids. They always climbed on her, pulled her lips way out and let them snap back, poked at her, kissed and hugged her. She loved having the tips of her ears stroked, and cheese. Sometimes she would sleep flat on her back, just in case anyone wanted to give her a belly rub. She spent almost every afternoon wandering around the backyard right next to Eli. He would just talk to her while they explored, or she would lie in the sun near him while he dug in the dirt. Ira's third word after Mama and Dada, was DubDog.

We had to have Dublin put to sleep this morning. She developed a virus that made all the muscles in her face swollen so she could not eat or drink. She also had cancer and the vet said that the huge steroid dose that may, or may not have helped her muscles relax would super-speed the cancer. It actually seemed as if, even if we hadn't have had her put down, she would have gone by the end of the day anyway. She couldn't see or even raise her head, although right before the vet did what she had to do, Dublin lifted her head and licked Justin's face once.

I have never had to do this before, even though I grew up with all sorts of animals, and lost pets. It was always my parents, or a car, or the butcher... One of the hardest things ever. I guess we must have seemed in pretty rough shape because even the vet was crying. She was just part of our family. I was really thankful that the kid was in school, and that this all happened quickly, not dragging on for weeks. It would have been terrible to watch her get worse and worse, and I knew it was coming soon, but still, it was so quick, too quick. We weren't ready. And tonight there are no toenails clattering up the stairs to her bed next to Eli's, No give-away collar jingle when she's sneaking a drink out of the toilet, No turn-turn-turn-thump-sigh as she lays down, no wet nose nudging my hand.

We buried her at Mom and Dad's, right above the patch of flox and below the swing and maple tree. The bare patch of ground was covered with red and gold leaves by evening.

Goodbye Dubber Doggie. We loved you. I am so sorry for all the times you got left behind because the car seats take up so much room now. I wish I'd let you sniff the grass longer when I walked you in the rain instead of dragging you back inside. I should have let people feed you from the table more often when you begged. We could have taken you swimming more this summer because that was your favorite thing. I'm sorry you weren't in the family portrait I took last week, I wanted you to be, it just seemed like such a hassle to hang on to kids, camera, AND leash. I'm so sorry. You were a good, good girl.

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