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I will keep this one short. I've spent most of today sobbing off and on. I called home to wish my father a Happy Father's Day and halfway through our conversation he told me he had bad news. Adelaide, their dog, wasn't doing well and might be put to rest tomorrow.

When I say, "their dog," it's a bit more complicated than that. My ex (Steve) and I had three beautiful Briards, two of which were Adelaide's parents. So yes, Adelaide was born in my house. I raised her as a puppy. She became our 4th dog. As did a sibling from another litter, Moose. Adelaide had a sister, Ophelia (Ellie) that went to Florida with my sister. I only raised Ellie for 8 weeks, but she remained part of the family and I saw her every time I visited my family. Adelaide however stayed with me for 2 and a half years. She became my favorite, and we became inseparable. 

Then the problem arose. We had 5 dogs, 5 dogs who decided they needed to rearrange the pack order. Adelaide was out of luck. She was picked on non-stop. She spent her time outside on top of a picnic table to get away from them. When she was inside she spent her time either between my feet under my desk or in a room away from the others. It was too painful to see. She needed to find a new home, and I prayed it would be someone I could trust her with. Thankfully my parents knew her, loved her, and said they'd love to have her in their home.

When the weather was a bit warmer so she could fly, I flew her to their home. The entire time on the plane I was nervous, hoping she was okay, wishing I could tell her what was going on and that she shouldn't be scared. I wanted to crawl into the belly of the plane and just hold her. The day I left her with my family and flew home to Colorado I was devastated. I couldn't let her go. My parents felt guilty for taking her from me. I had no choice, so I gave her one last hug and cried the whole way to the airport. 

Every time I returned to Florida it was like I was returning home from college. She'd run out of the house and go crazy, running, jumping, bumping into me. We'd collapse on the driveway and wrestle and share the love. I looked forward to seeing my family, but what I always looked forward to the most was her running out of the house and seeing me that first time. I spent whatever time I could with her. In fact the photo I have for this entry is me spooning her, both of us sound asleep on the floor. 

For more than 2/3 of Adelaide's life she's lived with my mom and dad, but you'd never know that in my heart. 

So today when I heard that she was suddenly unable to use her back legs and would just whimper and look at everyone it just, well, I don't have to say it. The doctor on Saturday told my parents over the phone that she's lived years past her expected life time and it was time to think of what's best for her. Everyone was at my parents house and she was alone on the back deck, a fan on her to keep her cool because she couldn't come in to be with them. That image alone...I couldn't talk any more. 

Added to that was that because she's too big for my family to move, people were going to come to the house on Monday and "take her." The idea of strangers taking her without my family ripped me apart. If there was ever a time in her life she needed to be held and loved with people she knew, people who could thank her for so much joy and love, it was now. The idea of her facing her last moments scared and alone was unacceptable and just wrong. It would be an insult to the love everyone feels for her, no matter how hard it would be for them. I wasn't there for one of the dogs Steve and I had when she had to be put to rest. I've regretted that ever since. 

I sent a long text to my family telling them that they owed it to her to be with her should that time come. To my surprise, my father sent me a short but beautiful email. He promised that no matter what would happen he would be there for her. Thank you Dad. Thank you. 

Last I heard from my family my brother and sister-in-law brought her into the house. They managed to give her a bath so she was clean and pretty for everyone, and had her lying comfortably in the family room with everyone. (Everyone but me...sorry, but I should be there for her... or at least I really want to be to say thank you for so much. Matt offered to fly me down last minute, but I can't.) My parents are also taking her to the vet to get a second opinion and a fresh exam. I know they will do what is right for her, they are humane and too loving to put her through pain, but even with the second opinion my heart tells me that it's only a matter of time now. 

Added to this I found out that my sister's dog, Ellie, Addie's sister isn't doing well. She's not as bad off as Adelaide right now, but her time is coming as well. My sister hopes she makes it to Thanksgiving when her husband comes home from Iraq, but it seems unlikely. When I fly to see my family this Thanksgiving it's going to feel very different without them to greet me hello. 

I know that for now Addie's comfortable and with family who's loving her more than before, but I know what's coming. And that is breaking my heart. 


Dog River Hike Peak

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October 2010


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