Thursday, May 24, 2012

There Are Good Days, Bad Days and There Was Yesterday


     We knew it was coming, but that didn't make it easier. I thought that after losing 3 parents in the past two years, I knew horrible grief and this would be somehow different. I knew that she had lived longer than any dog I had ever known. I knew that she had been spoiled beyond belief and had the best life a dog could ever want. My brain knew all of that, but my heart did not.

     Her AKC paperwork shows her name as Nike, The Duchess of Air. Named by my children, who at 11 & 13 when she came to us, were just falling in love with the sport of running. To us, she was simply Nike. The runt of a litter of puppies from Indiana, found on the internet (I was high tech even in 1996) and fitting into my hand the day we brought her home. I thought a lot of that day yesterday, how she whimpered all the way we stopped along the way to walk her, how she didn't stop shaking for about 3 days and mostly how she was immediately loved.

Nike in her prime (sorry kids)!

     She was a beautiful beagle, mostly brown and so well-behaved from the day we got her. My daughter said a few days ago that she wasn't her pet, she felt more like a sibling...and I think that was true for all of us. She was family, for 16 years. She was family when my kids were growing up. She was family after they left home. She was family through all of our ups and our downs, always the one to love unconditionally and to know just the right time to curl up in your lap and give you a moment of peace.

     We had hoped that she would pass away in her sleep. The past year we have seen her failing. The past four weeks have been really sad. She woke one morning to front legs that seemed weak and would barely support her, yet she still managed to stagger around the house. There have been days where she wouldn't eat or drink and days where we hand fed her bits of salmon. For the first time in a year, she wanted to be held again and I carried her around like a baby. She lost half her body weight in four weeks and yet she didn't give up. She wasn't in pain, so we tried to let her go on her own...but, when we carried her outside Tuesday morning and she fell over and couldn't get up...we just couldn't let it go on. Later that day, she was walking around again...but, we knew it was time.

Nike-Yesterday, in her favorite spot.

     We made arrangements to take her in at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. So, I tried to give her a really good day. I held her most of the day. We went outside and I laid her on a blanket in a sunbeam so she could feel the warmth of the sun and smell the grass. I fed her as many tiny biscuits as she wanted and one last bowl (bites) of salmon. We talked about all of the things that we had done over the years and I wept like a baby all day long. Losing Nike isn't at all like losing my mother...but, it was Nike that I held on to when I cried after losing my mom. It was Nike that curled up next to me for days on end a few years back when my son got off track and tried to drive us insane for a couple years. It was Nike who was my only friend when I moved to a new town and empty-nested at the same time. It was Nike who meant I was never truly alone. She was as much a part of this family as the rest of us and today, we grieve and are so thankful for having her in our lives for all these years. She was the "family dog" and while having Zoe (who at 9 months shows no signs of being nearly as well-behaved as her big sister) helps...she will be loved, but she will never be the dog of my children or the dog that shared all the memories of them growing up.

     The wonderful place where we board our dogs when we travel is located about 20 miles from our home, in the woods. It was a place that Nike loved and a place where she was loved. They have a pet cemetery and yesterday they were coming to pick her up at the vet to bury her there. We will visit in a few days. I hope she is running after squirrels and rabbits, nose high in the air and giving that beautiful beagle howl as loud as she can. Goodbye, sweet friend.


Gypsy Heart said...

Oh Sue, I'm sitting here crying so not sure if my typing will be legible. My heart goes out to you ~ there's no pain like losing a pet. It doesn't matter how long we have them, it's never long enough. It's a grieving process, a bit like losing a human family member, but a bit different. I had my Maggie girl for 16 yrs too and I almost lost it when she had to go. It helps a bit to keep your mind busy when you have another (Zoe) but it doesn't diminish the pain of loss.

I so wish I could give you a hug ~ please know that I'm sending you a virtual one with lots of tissues and healing for your heart.


Barbara F. said...

I am crying my eyes out. I know how much a pet can touch your heart. I am sure Nike is at Rainbow's Bridge playing with all the other beloved pets. xo

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Cindy I am so sorry. (((hugs)))

Mosaic Magpie said...

Tears running down my face what a sweet post. There are no words that will lighten the burden on your heart. Yes those furry friends, become family and live in our hearts forever. Hugs to you.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Oh, Sue you are making me cry with you. I am so so sorry. It is very hard to lose a pet. They are family and are so loved. Hope your days get easier, my friend.


Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

so sorry to hear this , Sue. It is always hard to loose a friend.

xinex said...

Oh Sue, this is so sad and I feel your grief. Just be thankful for the time she spent with you. I know you will never forget her but I pray that you will cope well with your loss. Take care!...Christine

bj said...

so sorry, suz...too upset to back later...

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Sue,
I am crying over here as I read your post cause I remember only too well
all the same feelings we had when we had to have our lil sweet Zippy put to sleep. It is just a heart wrenching time, strange that much of our emotions come out on our pets for some reason, maybe it is because they are the only living creature on the earth that loves us unconditionally no matter what.....
You walk out of the house for 10 mins. and come back to a welcome fitting for the queen of Sheba, and they sense your emotions and know like you said when to stick close.

Some people said why don't you get
another dog and I said I don't want another dog, cause he is irreplaceable as far as I am concerned, but eventually my daughter got Rosie and I fell in love all over again.

I am so sorry for your loss, and know you are grateful for the time you had with her, and that is a wonderful thing.........but it doesn't keep your heart from hurting, so cry's
the only thing that helps but time.

Praying for you hon,
Love and Hugs, Nellie
Thanks for coming by today I appreciate it even more knowing what is going on............

dee dee said...

Oh honey.... I so sorry. Sending you a big hug... one for hubby too. Your words are a beautiful tribute to Nike and her life with you all. I am sure she is up there chasing rabbits with our Abby! Big hugs.....'
dee dee

NanaDiana said...

Well, you know that I am sitting here bawling like a baby! Anyone that has had a pet that they have loved and lost can feel your pain. I am so sorry for your loss-but knowing that Nike had a good life and was loved until the end does help. And now, beyond pain and illness, runs free with those other pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. xo Diana

Patrice said...

So sorry about Nike, but she had a great life. I lost both of my dogs right before we moved to Atlanta four years ago and have not been able to bring myself to get another one.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Tears for you Sue and for sweet and loving Nike.
A beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog.
What more can I say, this will stay with me for a long, long time.
Big Hugs to you my friend,
You were the bestest dog Mommy she could have ever had!

Low Tide High Style said...

I wish I could write something profound, something to help you and your family right now, but there really are no words that are adequate. Thinking of you, and hoping you are able to take comfort in the knowledge that you gave Nike an amazing life!

xo Kat

koralee said...

Oh sweet is sooo hard to say goodbye to a member of the family! We experienced the same with our sweet dog Rosie. Sending you ooodles of love...she is chasing her rabbits and squirrels in a place with no pain!

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know it's hard. What a sweet dog.

Jenny said...

Oh Sue. I'm so very sorry to read this.

She sounds like the absolute best kind of pet!

Hugs and peace.

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

I am weeping right now for you....I am so sorry, Sue. I missed this post while preparing for the {rained out} art show. I know you are grieving over Nike....what a sweet little face! I had a Beagle named Wendy growing up, and I still think of her often.

{{{hugs}}} from Alabama....

Angie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Nike, Sue. She sounds like she lived a full life and was so loved. What a great way to honor her with a resting place she loved.