But, truth be told, I've been in a bit of a funk- I'll save that story for another day.
But I felt the need to write today because Thursday, I euthanized my faithful companion of almost nine years. My dog Mackey, named after Vic Mackey from the FX show The Shield, had been my steadfast, loyal friend through the most challenging and simultaneously delightful years of my life.
They say God places Angels among us.
Call me nostalgic just because of the timing, but I have no doubt Mackey was that angel for me. Through a divorce, a separation, 3 children, then 4, a new marriage, and moving 8 times.... Mackey has been there (that is, when she wasn't running away- she was a winter breed you know ;))
We often called here "Eeyore" because of her pure apathy towards life. Unless life involved a squirrel. That was different...
She was happy to sit around all day as I figured out this parenting thing, or just didn't want to get out of my jammies. And she was equally as happy to jump in the car and visit friends or family or go for a hike. She never woke us up at 3am to go out, she could go allll day if she had to, never had an accident in the house, and was far too apathetic to be destructive. Her only vice was food. She was a begger. And a food stealer if you weren't looking. And our under-the-table-vacuum, and dishwasher-pre-rinser.
I went to get her with my first husband, when she was just 12 weeks. I printed out her picture online, filled out the applications, and went to pick up... her brother. Yep, that's right. I did NOT want a female dog. Sadly, her brother had already been chosen. So my then-husband and I looked around at the other puppies running amok and jumping on us and chasing other puppies or pieces of paper around this woman's garage... when I spotted the sister. The sister I said I didn't want.
There she was: sitting in the corner, far too bored to be bothered by all this commotion. And what was that? She was missing a toe?? It looked like it probably needed surgery, and I was working at a vet. So that was it. We took home the lemon.
After repairing her foot, spaying her, training her, and getting her used to her new routine of going to work with mommy every day- her many days at the vet as a greeter also suckered her in to being subject to an extra cautious mom- extra bloodwork, teeth brushing, daycare, and several ultrasounds. A combination of which soon proved that she had renal dysplasia, a congenital defect of the kidneys. It was unlikely she would live past the age of three.
Seven years later... yep, seven.... we had what I suspected was nothing more then a little skin tag removed from her gums above her canine tooth. We sent it out for pathology (again, extra stuff because I worked at a vet) and it came back as fibrosarcoma, a form of cancer.
A little over a year later, I noticed a lump on the opposite side of her gums, about the size of a nickel. Within weeks, it had swelled into her nasal cavity. We essentially hospice-d her here at home, with the help and guidance of her veterinarian, for the last several months. It became more and more difficult for her to breathe- and despite her normal days and attitude, normal appetite, and normal activity level- the nights were getting so hard on her- trying to breathe laying down. We knew it was time to say goodbye.
She wouldn't lay down- which I knew she wouldn't.... I held her head and neck, and had one arm under her chest. As her body became heavier and heavier, I was able to easily scoop her onto my lap and continue to stroke her face and kiss her head. I reminded her what an amazing friend she had been. And that I hoped she would remember us too.
We were blessed to have so many weeks to say good bye.
I am afraid someday I will forget those last few minutes... and I hope I don't. I hope I don't forget that feeling of her resting her head on my shoulder.... the warmth and "Mackey" smell of that huge tuft of fur on the back of her neck..... her seemingly peaceful gaze into nothingness....
Fly away home, babygirl.... fly away home....
March 22, 2005- Sept 19, 2013
I hope she has found her friends who have gone before her, and her brother or sister who would now be turning 2 in a few months.
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