I woke up this morning and Lily was asleep in her dog bed underneath my desk, so I went to take a shower after feeding Steve. After showering, I came into the office, and Lily had somehow gotten wedged underneath my office chair, with all four legs splayed out, lying in a puddle of urine. I said “oh Lily,” tried to pick her up so she could walk, and her legs just went out again. Tried again, same thing. And I knew.
Every dog owner knows when it is time, and I have known for a while the bill for 13 years of unconditional love was coming due. I cleaned her up the best I could, wrapped her in a towel, and headed to the clinic. My usual vet was not available, so I went to the Animal Urgent Care in Wheeling. I kept a hand on her the whole way to know I was there and because she was really out of it, and I tried to keep it together for her so she did not sense anything was wrong with me.
Got there, was taken to a back room, waited for what seemed forever, and they finally came back and gave her a shot to relax her. I was holding her when they gave it, and maybe 30 seconds after they gave her the pre-shot, she was for the most part gone. Her bladder evacuated on me, and she was in a deep, deep slumber, completely relaxed. I sat there holding her for the next fifteen minutes, just trying to somewhat keep my shit together, because my end of the bargain had not been held up, and I owed her still.
Another five years or so passed, and finally the vet came back, we found a vein, and administered the dose that would end Lily’s life. I held her in my arms, talking to her, felt her heart stop and her chest no longer rise and fall, had the vet confirm her heart was stopped, and just sat there for a while, just the two of us. I wanted to just run out of there before I completely broke down, but I had to wait for the post-mortem abdominal spasms to end. I was not going to leaver her there twitching on the table, I was going to hold her until I knew she was gone. The spasms finally stopped, and I had a very ugly, ugly cry for a while before pulling my shit together, paying the vet, and driving home. The Lily era has ended, and we are both better off.
Lily was a special dog. We met at a turbulent time in my life, and over the years we dealt with my anxiety and depression, my alcoholism, the loss of Tunch and Rosie, her cancer, and so many other things so big and small. I knew the moment I saw her that she was the one, even though I had gone to the shelter to adopt a cat. There are just so many things I want to say about her, but can’t, because I’m not in the right place right now. But I can say that I doubt I will ever have the same unconditional love for a dog that I did with Lily.
I will miss so much about her. Her delicate eyelashes, her goofy smile, the way I would go to give her a kiss and she would burp in my face, her constant presence at my feet in her dog bed. The way that she seemed to be constructed from after market parts, with a neck thicker than her head so no collar could stay on, the long legs and the curled tail, the super thin abdomen. She was very feline, too- and walked along the backs of the couch and rarely barked, and if you tried to play with her and throw a ball to her, she thought you were trying to assault her.
I’m so fucking crushed right now. I can’t keep writing I need to go cry.
I will love you forever, Lily. You were the best dog in the world.
*** Update ***
I want to thank you all for your kind words, they really mean a lot, and I know that many of you feel the same loss. She wasn’t only my dog, she was all of ours. I’ll never forget how you all gifted me with four more years of her during her bout with cancer. One thing that does bring me comfort is that we were able to squeeze every good day out of her that was possible. Even yesterday she was eating well and napping and not in pain, and she was not showing any signs of physical pain today. She had thousands of wonderful days, and one bad one, but I know I did everything I could to make it as easy as possible for her.
In other news, I went to eat my feelings at the Italian restaurant and got to the big city and realized that I was only wearing boxer shorts, so I got fast food at a drive through. It’s nice to know there is still some normalcy and stability in my life.