"Can we take her back?" I asked Hubby. Our new dog, Lady, from the humane society required two walks a day and followed me everywhere.
"We'll get used to her," he said. "Let's give it some time."
Even then I knew. I knew we'd grow to love her. I knew that someday (way in the future) when she left us, we'd be heartbroken.
Oldest son and I were not dog people . . . yet.
That first night, a ferocious thunder storm terrified Lady. In her panic, she leaped into oldest son's bed. We woke to his shrieking. But Lady was so gentle and sweet, he learned to love her . . . and all dogs.
I grew to enjoy our walks. I learned that Lady liked to chase squirrels . . . and she was fast. I learned that the sight of another dog turned our sweet pooch into, um, CUJO. No doggie parks for you!
Lady ran to the door, tail wagging, when Hubby's car pulled into the driveway. She nearly jumped out of her fur when hubby donned baseball cap and sneakers, because that meant she was going for a walk with him. In the evening, when Hubby lay on the floor watching TV, she plopped next to him, resting her head on his chest. They were the best of buddies.
Once we figured her out and she figured us out, she really was the perfect pet for us. She kept me company while I wrote. She got hubby and I out for walks together in the evenings and on weekends. By some miracle, she was the only dog on the planet that didn't kick up hubby's allergies. And she never barked unless someone was at the door. Or, well, that CUJO thing she did when within ten feet of any dog larger than the size of a cotton ball. (Nobody's perfect.)
The holidays this year were awesome with Lady. She loved her goofy lobster toy that Santa brought.
And unlike last holiday, she didn't get into any boxes this year.
This past Friday, I had a lot to do, but I took Lady for a walk in the morning, past the ducks and egrets and herons that populated a nearby pond. I fed her breakfast and ran off to a meeting. Back home, I threw a toy for her to chase and got to work. Youngest son came home from school, petted Lady and got on the computer. Hubby came home, and I told him to feed the pets before I ran out to help with the concession stand at oldest son's school show.
I was selling sodas and candy when Hubby called to tell me Lady had an accident on the floor. "She's lying down and won't come over," he said. "Maybe she feels bad about her accident, but I'm afraid to leave her and come to the show."
I was watching the school show when I got a text from Hubby: "Call right away." Within minutes, I was in the car, rushing toward the emergency animal hospital, swiping tears off my cheeks and muttering, "Not my dog."
Turns out, Hubby and youngest son had to carry Lady into the hospital because she tried to walk, but collapsed. The vet told us her blood levels were out of whack. "Frankly, I'm surprised with levels like these that she's still alive."
By the time we went back to see her, she had no control over her muscles and her head jerked. I petted her fur and whispered in her ear that I loved her. I told her she was a good girl. Hubby petted her.
We went to the waiting room to prepare for a tough decision, but a moment later, Lady made it for us. A vet ran out and told us she'd stopped breathing.
Who knew a house could feel so empty? It's weird to work at my desk without hearing her snuffling nearby. It's odd to hear the doorbell ring and no bark afterward. We keep expecting to see her in the yard or waiting for us when we come home or following us into the garage when we get the cat's food. It's hard to peel a banana and not have Lady at my feet, looking up at me with those eyes, waiting for a piece.
We miss you, girl. You are irreplaceable.
And a fond farewell to Miep Gies, the wonderful "ordinary" woman who helped hide Anne Frank, her family and four other people for 25 months during the Nazi occupation. This woman is also responsible for saving Anne's diary after the Nazis discovered the family. She died today, at age 100.