Dog Days of Summer

We miss Lily.

And missing her is good.  It feels good to miss her.  And know that she is loved and well cared for. 

And it is good that she is no longer in my home.  In my heart is good.  In my home, not so much.

And in thinking about the relinquishing of Lily, I have been thinking of other dogs gone by.

See, my dad loved dogs.  He loved to hunt down a rare breed, get a good deal and buy it.

What he didn’t actually like about having dogs was…well…having dogs.

So we went through a lot of dogs.

Before kids:

Ginger (afghan hound)

This is actually a good story.  Ginger helped a little boy with a debilitating disease stand up for the very first time when the couple was visiting my folks.  The parents were so excited and emotional that they begged my parents to give them Ginger.  Bye Ginger.

Brutus and Midas (standard poodles)

Brutus and Midas were the big poodles and they were chocolate.  They looked really cool together.  Very striking.  One of them bit my brother when he was a baby and was sent to live in an outside dog house with my grandmother.  He ran away.  I am pretty sure his brother did too, but I am never sure which was which and what happened to the one that stayed.

After kids:

Lightning (miniature poodle)

Lightning was hyper.  HYPER!  And at some point she was bitten by  a dog in our neighborhood in the neck and was sent to the vet.  An elderly lady took a liking to her and my parents gave her away.  It was 2 weeks before my brother and I realized she was gone.  (in our defense she had been at the vet…)

Brandy (afghan hound)

Brandy was outside a lot.  I distinctly remember that she ripped open and licked a bag of cement that was by her run and my dog got mad.  She used to “escape” a lot and we would chase around the neighborhood looking for her.  I dressed up as and pretended I was an indian during these hunting expeditions.  We gave her away to two ladies.  I am sure now that they were life partners.  Back then, they were roomates. 

Puppy (miniature schnauzer)

Puppy was a pet store dog.  I believe she was the only one we ever got…She was my best friend.  She used to sleep on my bed at night and so it was my bed she fell off of when she had her first epilepsy attack early in the morning, early in the first year of her life.  She fought a good fight, and so did my parents, but she died within the year.

Taj (Akita Husky)

My father found this young man living in an apartment in NYC with an Akita.  I remember when we went to get her this young man picked her up awkwardly like she was a lap dog and Taj looked unhappy, confused and humiliated.  She liked to run.  Open door?   She was gone.  We would chase around the neighborhood for her and if we didn’t find her at night there would be a warm spot on the front steps the next morning and then we would finally track her down.  I think the neighbors got sick of it, or she met the bumper of a car, but the last time she ran away – she didn’t come back.

Jesse (Viszla)

Jesse was a rescue.  I female dog with SERIOUS separation issues.  If you held up your hand like a gun and said “bang” she’d fall over.  Very cool!  She dug a whole in our family room carpet where it met the linoleum of the hallway we kept her confined in when we weren’t home and she quickly found a new home with a stay at home mom, her father, her husband and their four kids.  We were pretty sure she would never be alone again. 

Josh (Lakeland Terrier)

Josh was an ugly puppy.  My dad got him for me as a holiday present my junior year of highschool.  I didn’t like him.  I thought he looked like a sharpened pencil.  But he was mine.  MINE.  And I got up religiously in the middle of the night when he was a puppy to make sure he was potty trained and fast so he could stay.  I taught him to sit, stay and heel.  He walked on a lead without pulling and DID NOT go to the bathroom in the house.  He eventually won me over and became my buddy.  If you said “ole” (spanish accent here) he would race around the house like a crazy man doing laps until he returned to you and you said “ole” again.

I went away to college and Josh became my mom’s dog.  He died at a ripe old age after moving with my parents from state to state.  He had at least 7 different houses in his life.

Precious (miniature schnauzer)

We had precious for only a month or so when we thought Josh might need a friend.  We were wrong.  He didn’t.  She went back to the people we got her from, got kicked by a horse and lost one of her legs.  Serves them right for naming her precious….

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Why it sucks to be a grown up

I gave Lily away.

I know.  right?  I had just decided that we were going to keep her.  Just decided that I loved her and she was part of our family.

And then…

Well.  Our new babysitter greeted her.

And picked her up to kiss her nose.

And talked to her in that baby voice that true dog lovers have when they are talking to a dog they love.

And I realized that I loved Lily.  But I did not love Lily like that.

And so she has a new home.

With someone who also fought the good fight to keep her alive when she was a puppy.  With someone who loves her just a little bit more than I do.

And last night, her new mom took her home.

And she left behind a pink metal bone with “Lily” on it.

And I cried. 

Even though I was and am proud of myself for the decision.  It was the best one.

For everyone concerned.

And like I tell my kids all the time, the right decision is usually hard.  And doing it anyway is part of what helps you grow.

And usually, growing up hurts a little.

And for the most part, being a grown up sucks.