Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saying goodbye to my best friend.

Dearest Sandy, 
The last fourteen years have been the greatest gift and you have been a bright spot in my life.  Now, we are facing some tough decisions.  Sandy, your body is failing, even though your spirit is strong and willing. You are unstoppable in most situations, the most determined dog on the planet.  You were diagnosed with cancer two years ago, it spread to your lungs, and you have a cough that sounds almost human.  The vet gave you 4-6 weeks to live and you are too stubborn to give in.  You kept on going for two more years but now I can feel the clock winding down. Going for walks is too difficult and those hind legs of yours seem to have a mind of their own.
Last month I took you to the vet for your vaccines, and the vet sat down on the floor with me, while she looked you over.  She looked deep into your eyes and said, "Wendy, it's time to think about letting our old friend go.  She is trapped in a body too feeble to house her big spirit."  I drove home and cried saying, "I just can't do it, I can't make this decision. It's not my call."    
As the month went on though, we could see signs, you are frustrated with your body, and this weekend, you took a turn for the worse.
This last month has been a gift, Sandy.   You have been spoiled and pampered even more than normal. We have savored every minute of it.
 Unfortunately, Skoopi has been deteriorating over the summer too, and we never thought we would lose both of you guys at the same time. You remind me of Where the Red Fern Grows , you and Skoopi just can't live without one another. 
Mr. Boy is having a tough time with the thought of losing you. You are best friends.  Ever since he was a baby, you would watch over him.  You would sleep by his crib and come and get me when he stirred.  He would lay on you and read books, and you never seemed to mind.  Even now, he comes to you and "wrestles" with you in the most gentle way.
Promise me, Sandy, if I release you from this body you will not hold it against me and that you will watch over this boy from heaven.  He loves you so deeply, I worry that your absence will leave a hole in his heart too big to heal.  Thank you Sandy, for being his best friend. 
Thank you Sandy for being my friend and companion for the last fourteen years.  You were the best friend any gal could have.  I know you didn't mean any ill will when you ate my earrings, 4 necklaces, and wedding rings. You are forgiven.  Will you forgive me for trying to make you swim?  You are a Labrador, a water dog after all. 
 I will miss having you lay on the couch with me every evening, You were my armrest for a thousand plus movies.  You were my companion during the day and when Mr. Man was gone.  Mr. Man never did figure out that you slept in our bed on the nights he was out of town.  One time you jumped into our bed on accident when he was home.  You saw him lying there and jumped off, giving me a look of, "Oh shoot, did I just blow our cover?" 
 I will miss your ears so much, how they bounced up and down when you walked.  Your ears were two sizes too small, but they made your face so much more expressive. 
 Some speculate your ears were a side effect of your bout of Parvovirus when you were a puppy.  Sandy when you were a puppy, you had been with us three days when you became extremely sick.  We took you to the vet and he said, "We have a 50/50 chance of saving this dog."  We put every last dime towards saving you, and it was worth it.  Some vets think the Parvo stunted your ear growth, who knows, but it fits your personality so well.
There are so many things I will miss and my heart hurts thinking about you won't be there by my side.  You have the snortiest snore I have ever heard.  The first night we brought you home, you would howl like a dog followed by a snort that sounded just like a pig.  I have always thought you were half Labrador, half Pig.  Plus you have an appetite like a pig as well.  You will eat just about anything, especially metal.  When the kids were in highchairs you quickly learned to lay nearby to catch the falling food.  You gained 10lbs with each toddler. 

Mr. Man has had the toughest time coming to this decision. Sandy, we didn't want to have to do this, but we know it's the right thing to release you from your body.  You can not stand it when people are in the hot tub.  You come over and bark and try to get us to get out of it.  It's as though you think we are being cooked to death.  Last week, Mr. Man and I watched you come out of the house with wild determination to let us know, "YOU ARE BEING COOKED! GET OUT!"  You climbed down the back step only to have your hind legs come out wildly flailing behind you.  You flailed and ended up rolling down the step with a flip, it caused your cough to flare up. It was a sad sight to see.   We want you to be able to run and jump again.  Mr. Man wanted you so bad that he talked to our landlord for a year to try and get him to allow a dog. When I saw Mr. Man with you as a puppy, I knew he'd make a great father some day.

One day Sandy, we were home alone in our little house in LA.  Mr. Man was gone on  a trip, and there was a knock on the door at 9pm.  I opened it and it was a man who claimed to be selling cleaning supplies.  He told me, "Put away your dog and let me come in and clean your windows."  Something didn't feel right, and you growled at him and started barking ferociously. I did not let the man in.   The man then said, "Is the dog going to bite me?"  I said, "Yep, I think you should move on to another house"  and closed the door.  I'll never know that man's intentions, but I what I do know is that you made a great guard dog, when it counted. 
Sandy, I can not help but think of you when it rains. It rained non-stop when you were a puppy.  That second night we had you home, it rained buckets.  I got up at 3am to let you go outside to "do your business" and you just wanted to play in the mud.  Mr. Man came out to join us and we stood in the rain holding hands watching you play.  Mr. Man whispered, "My life just keeps getting better and better.  I love my life."  
Then it rained buckets as I drove you to the vet, in a box on the front seat.  I had never been more terrified in my life. You prepared me for motherhood and you prepared me for those trips to the ER. You were the silent loyal companion, who was always on my side. 
 I know you are just a dog, Sandy.  It may seem silly to write a note to you, but you are my dog and I love you.   So now I am giving you a gift of going peacefully onto the next life.  May we be reunited many years from now.  Thank you Sandy, for the memories, for being my friend, and for loving me with your whole heart.


Laura "Redial" EllJayPea said...

God speed, Sandy.

Brooke said...

Love that dog. I'll be thinking of all of you tomorrow.

Kerry said...

Wendy, just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you. I don't know what to say. That was an amazing post. Love you all.

Anonymous said...

Aw, it's so hard. We'll be thinking of all of you today.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, I'm in tears for you all here. Sandy had a wonderful life here with you, and soon will be happy and frolicing again over that rainbow bridge. Much love and hugs to you all on this very tough day.


Craig said...

I miss Sandy!

Ellen said...

I am bawling. I never knew Sandy, but I will miss Sandy too. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Cimblog (tm) said...

God Speed Sandy. We will raise a paw with ice cream tonight, and you'll know it's us's US for goodness sake!!

Cimblog (tm) said...

It was tough to select what the raise a paw food would be, but ultimately I refused to eat a paperclip, so...option 2 it is.

Cindy said...

I'm crying for you Wendy. And for your family. Big hugs to you all.

laura said...

i am heartbroken for you all, wendy. i know how hard this day is for you. what a beautiful, beautiful love letter to sweet sandy. she's NOT just a dog, she's your friend and your baby and you are doing right by her. i love you my friend.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know you and I'm in tears. Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole. Godspeed Sandy.

Visty said...

Lovely sentiments. I just lost my 17 year old kitty friend and your post resonated with me. Your vet saying he was trapped in a body that could no longer house his big spirit---makes me sad to think at the end, how much my boy wanted to do but couldn't. I miss him. I can tell you miss your sweet dogs immensely.