Saturday, February 29, 2020

3 months. 11 years wasn't enough.

3 months, Daisy May.

3 months since I’ve been able to rub your ears. 3 months since I’ve rolled my eyes at you for eating something you shouldn’t. 3 months since we’ve taken a car ride. 3 months since you’ve jabbed your feet into my back in the middle of the night while you stretched or laid your head across my neck to keep me in bed when I wanted just 5 more minutes before getting up. 3 months since I felt complete and safe. 3 months I’ve cried.

The ground is mushy outside. You should be tracking pawprints throughout the kitchen, trying to sneak your way into the living room without getting your paws wiped.

Today, this is hitting me a little harder and I think it’s time I take a few minutes to write it out so that *maybe* my heart can move forward a bit and not hurt quite so much.

As everyone who knows me knows, we lost our 11 ½ year old Brittney spaniel, Daisy, the day after Thanksgiving. She had been facing some challenges the last couple of years so her death shouldn’t have shocked me the way it did.

But here’s the thing, she was doing so good. Her meds were helping, she still had all of her spunk, I had absolutely no reason to think that when I got up that day and she wasn’t right beside me that it would have meant I was so close to losing her.

It was the craziest thing. There were other days, months prior when I thought… ugh, we might be getting close. But not then. She had been doing awesome. I was positive we had bought a lot more time with her.

Waking up and seeing her struggling to breathe, crushed my heart but I still didn’t think this would be the day we said goodbye. I thought that Dr. Sarah could once again fix her with her superhero vet skills – she’s worked miracles in the past.

Even when Dr. Sarah said it didn’t look overly encouraging, I still didn’t think I would truly lose her. But we did.

When she crashed that day, she crashed hard as though she had been holding on so tight to all of us she used all of her strength to have good days and then she just couldn’t anymore.

She laid with her head on Allison’s arm as she took her last breaths. I stroked her ears. We both cried. Yet it was all so surreal.

It was peaceful, which I am thankful for and wish humans had that same option – to just go to sleep and quietly pass over to Heaven instead of suffering. It truly was peaceful. It just didn’t seem real.
Maybe because it all happened so fast. She wasn’t ok, we went to the vet, I talked to the kids (who were at their dad's), gave my parents a heads up, and then just moments after the vet office closed that day – we were there, holding her, kissing her, and saying goodbye. Shortly after that, we made the hour and a half drive to my parents to bury her, in the rain, at her favorite place to really run free. It was all just so fast.

Here’s the thing, I’ve always owned pets. There has only been a couple of years, right after high school, when I didn’t have a pet – but we still had family pets at my parent’s house so, while one wasn’t living right with me, I still had pets back home.

Over the years, I’ve said goodbye to horses, dogs, cats, turtles, hamsters, and chickens. And, it hurt to lose each of them – especially my cat that I had for 21 years – but, it hurt and I moved forward.
That isn’t happening with Daisy. I’m stuck in the hurt. I physically hurt when I think of her, my chest gets tight and I just ache I miss her so much. I still cry – pretty much daily, like I just can’t let go of her.

I swear so many times a day that I hear her at the back door or I panic that I have forgotten and left her outside.

I sleep less, who knew that was possible because she’s missing. She hogged the entire bed. I slept on my little slice of bed while she stretched all the way out, diagonally across the rest of it until one of the cats – usually Emmie, would come up and want to snuggle with her. Then, and only then, would she move to the floor.

Daisy was with me through so much from my divorce to Allison’s diagnosis – she was the one who nudged her head up against mine through many tearful moments. I rarely left the house without her. I bought special covers for the seats of my new car because I didn’t want dog hair all over. That lasted about 2 trips, then it was back to me just opening the door and letting her in. Maybe it’s how alone I feel without her that keeps the pain so front and center.

There is guilt, too, that we didn’t spoil her enough, that I got frustrated when I shouldn’t, that Parker didn’t love her the way he did our first dog. Poor Daisy wanted nothing more than for Parker to love her – and she tried, always but he just wasn’t having it. He never bonded with her the way he did Emmy, despite her laying on him when he was sick and never leaving his side – even when he told her to go away. Maybe it’s because she just knew. Maybe it was the rare hug, or pet, or giggle when she would do something silly. Maybe she knew he loved her and understood he didn’t know how to show it. Maybe that is why she continued to stay as close to him as he would allow.

I know, as the parent, I am supposed to suck this up and move on but I’m seriously stuck.
I think of how much she loved to run at mom and dad’s, 22 acres of wide-open heaven and she loved it. 

I think of how much she loved the snow. We were 2 peas in a pod when the snow would fall. Despite having basically no fur on her belly, she didn’t care – she was running, jumping, and rolling in the fresh snow each time it would fall.

I think of how much she trusted Allison, how she knew that Allison would go out of her way to snuggle with her if Daisy just gave her the right look. 

I think of how she would refuse to eat when I would be gone. If I leave the cats for an hour the eat all of their food, convinced they are starving but Daisy would go days without eating if I was away for work or fun. It took someone sitting next to her on the floor encouraging her to eat most of the time. Even then, it wasn’t much.

I think of how often you would steal the cat's bowls and eat the rest of their food then act like you didn't do it. 

I think of how we used to take very late night runs, back in my running days. She was the best running partner.

I think of how she loved the cat beds more than the ones we got for her. 

I think of how she's not there waiting for me to finish my shower. 

I think about how much she loved to pick up the kids from school, and how much they loved to see her waiting for them. 

I think about how much we loved watching the fireworks together in the back yard.

I think of ALL OF THE RABBITS you brought to me, I won't lie - I don't miss the dead rabbits, especially the ones she snuck into the house. 

I miss how when she was too hot (which is nearly impossible in my house) or stressed, she would go lay in the bathtub. 

I think about how much she and the kids loved the big front window. 

I think about how she was never too big... never too big to snuggle, never too big to be a lap dog. 

I think of how I wish I had done more with her.

She was my girl.

My friends have been amazing through all of this. I’ve received so many cards and gifts, so many ways to remember her. I have some truly thoughtful people in my life.

I just don’t know when this one is going to get easier. 3 months have passed and if you ask me about her, I’ll still cry. If I turn down the wrong aisle at the store and end up in front of the dog food, my eyes will well up with tears. In the most random and unexpected times, it will hit me that she is gone and as hard as I try, the tears will still flow. I still cry. Daily.

I’ve lost my sense of security, which is laughable because Daisy was the worst guard dog. She loved everyone, except the mailman – I never understood that one. But, I felt safer with her here and in the back of my mind, I’m not convinced she would have been so friendly if someone who was not welcomed came into the house. Daisy knew us and could read us like a book. I believe she would have sensed that fear if it came down to it.

She was seriously just the best. I could not have ever asked for more from her. She was truly a special dog and a very special part of our lives, especially mine.

I am sure that one day a few years from now, there will another dog in my life. It can’t be now but when we’ve gone through our big transition and I’m on my own without Parker attached to my hips 24/7 – Daisy will send along the right dog for me. She may try to send more cats, but let’s be real – I have enough of those! It’s just going to be awhile and until then, I need to find my way without Daisy and that sense of security.

I just don’t think it will be anytime soon.

I knew that when the day would come for us to say goodbye it would be hard. I just never expected the pain to linger the way this has. Daisy was so much more than a dog though, she was part of our family, she was my soul dog – she just understood me, all 3 of us, so very well and I miss that. I miss her, every day, I miss her.

We all do. 

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