What a sad time this is at our house, and yes, I'm wallowing in self-pity for a day or two...
we came home Wednesday night, late, and found our big old, sweet old puppy dog, dead in the backyard. Granted, she was a hundred years old, a dinosaur, a bit of a relic... but we're still really, really sad.
Lady was all goodness and kindness and such a big presence in our lives!
She lived to make us happy, which she did incredibly well, and I hope I made her life half as happy as she made mine...
It's a really great story, how Lady came to live with us, and I'll try to keep it brief...
Lady Comes Home, Chapter One
"She's really nice for a dog, but she can't stay"
These were my husband's words when I finally told him what the surprise was that I'd gotten him, when he came home from work on Saturday, December 7th, 2002. I'd been working with a gal who raised puppies for Leader Dogs, and I had mentioned I really wanted an adult Labrador Retriever, and when Lady was left at the Leader Dogs, she called me. Lady's owner had died, and the lady's family thought she'd make a great Leader Dog, so they gave her to the Leader Dogs. There was a question of her having Parvo, and she was too old to be a Leader Dog, so Leader Dogs surrendered Lady to the Flint Humane Society, and that's when my friend called me... she said, "There's a really great Lab up in Flint, and someone needs to go get her... I thought you would be interested".
I didn't tell my husband (because I knew what he'd say), and on Saturday morning, my daughter Corey and I waited for John to leave for work, and we headed straight to Flint. I recall Corey saying to me, en route to see Lady, "What do you think she looks like?", to which I answered, "Well, I think she's probably about 65 pounds and yellow... not sure why I think that, I just do"... and when we first saw Lady, she was outside, peeing like a boy dog, and she was pitch black, weighing in at about 90 pounds. NOT what I was expecting!
They put Corey and I in an adoption room with Lady, and Lady immediately went over to Corey and put her enormous square head in Corey's lap... Corey looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said "I just LOVE her, mom!"... and that was that. Lady had adopted us. I remember loading her into my car thinking, "I sure hope I don't live to regret this"... and we headed home.
For the remainder of the weekend, my husband spoke not another word to me besides, "She's really nice for a dog, but she can't stay". To which I simply did not respond.
I worked all day Monday in the Operating Room, and was not about to drive back to Flint that night, so she stayed on till Tuesday. After work Tuesday, I decided to surprise John again, and took Lady to see him at his work. Everyone there fell all over themselves talking about how pretty Lady was and what a great dog she was, and I could see my husband slowly becoming kind of like a proud papa.
We took her home that night and gave her a bath, and she was incredibly well behaved... she didn't fight it, she just stood in the tub and let us hose her down and bathe her. Next thing I know, my husband says to me, "OK, she can stay, but never in our bedroom!" I was more than fine with that.
Little while later, I look in our bedroom, and at the end of the bed, is John's robe on the floor, folded in half and there was Lady, lying right on top of it. I must've looked pretty surprised, and John said to me, "OK, well... " he stuttered, "never on the bed! OK?!?!?"
Needless to say she eventually won a spot on the bed with us, and for years we slept with that great big dog hogging our bed, and we loved every minute of it, until she hurt herself and couldn't jump down any longer. After that, her dog bed was at the foot of our bed, until Thursday morning. We loved hearing her snoring like a sailor... it was a very comforting sound... we knew she was alive. And as she got older and older, (the vet thought she was between eight and ten years old in 2002 when we adopted her); that snoring at night became more and more important to hear.
Her bed has been put away, and her remains have been cremated. She made us better human beings by adopting us, and we will miss her every single day. Stay tuned... if you like, and one day real soon, I'll tell you the story about the four thousand dollar rescue dog... it'll be Chapter Two.
Thank you for reading all the way down to here... I really appreciate it... this is cathartic for me and necessary... I hope I didn't bore you too much!
With a heavy heart and lots of tears,
PS: Thank you SO much to all of you who have so kindly and graciously written to me with condolences... what a great community of loving friends I have!