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She was a damn good dog

May 5, 2015


 For the second time since we got married, we had to say goodbye to a dog. Making the decision for vet-assisted pet death is sometimes easier than others, but it’s no walk in the park. It’s usually the right and best option, but it can’t help but seem a little wrong. I don’t tell you that for sympathy, but I know how many of you understand.

It’s sad that she’s gone. The house is quiet. We got her when she was about one, and she stayed with us for fourteen years. That’s a long time, and she had a better than average life. She loved loaves of bread and leftover Mexican food. She hated baths but hated thunderstorms even more. She got in the tub with the first dark cloud. 

We got her as a companion to our first pup, Sam. He had anxiety that caused some rather disturbing bodily responses (read: lots of poop), and the vet recommended we get a second dog. There was a sale going on at Animal Services that very weekend. 

A sale? Yep. It was a last ditch effort to find homes for dogs scheduled for euthanasia. They used a spray paint system for decoding which dogs would be adopted with what discount. A hot pink stripe on the fur meant 20% off, yellow 40%, and red let would be adopters know the dog had heart worm. It was a sad, sad sight. So many dogs. It was nearly impossible to choose just one.

I can’t remember who found whom, but she was extra shy. She was the nicest dog in the whole place. She didn’t jump up, her tail wagged a little, and she sniffed with caution. They’d named her Zelda. We named her Lizzy. No offense to any other Zeldasout there. 

We never had to house train her. She did whatever Sam did. Until she was sick and dying, she didn’t go to the bathroom in the house. She learned to sit, shake, and lay down. Again, all figured out by watching Sam. She didn’t eat shoes or underwear, and she never tried to get on the furniture. 

She had a way of sneaking her head right up under your hand, not matter how inconvenient or awkward. We’d warn her victims: if you pet her once, be prepared to do it for an hour. She always wanted to be on the porch with us. It seemed like she hated the mailman, or anyone else who came in the driveway, with her ridge hair on end and a semi ferocious bark, but she was all talk. She was great watchdog. 

Over the past month, we noticed swelling in her leg, and she had a little trouble getting around. Her tail still wagged. Occasionally, we’d carry her up the stairs, just so she wouldn’t have to work so hard. We chalked it up to arthritis and old age. A vet visit during Masters week confirmed bone cancer. She came home with pain meds and a promise to keep her comfortable. 

She spent the last week eating steak wrapped opiates. We told her she was loved. Her tail still wagged. 

If you’re considering getting a dog, look into adoption. If you adopt at Animal Services in Richmond County, the adoption fees aren’t more than $75, and that includes basic vaccines, micro chipping, and spay/neuter services. Not listed on the website but also included is unending loyalty. That, my friends, is worth more than any adoption fee. 

Lizzy’s buried at the lake, next to her buddy, Sam. The last time I saw her, I hugged her frail body and promised her she’d been a damn good dog. She wasn’t the prettiest one we’d ever seen, but she was always grateful. She knew she had a good life. She probably never completely understood just how good she made ours.

*originally published in The Metro Spirit, Augusta, GA

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2015 9:15 pm

    When all is said and done, we can only hope that the same thing can be said about us….”That was a damn good man”, etc. Your story reminded me of the day, back in 2004, I had to drive Chip, our 12 year old Yellow Lab to the vets for the last time. He and I stopped at Crystals for a few cheeseburgers on the way. We are also big fans of getting new dogs before the old ones die… building bench strength and leaving the teaching to the dogs. They really do teach each other. Thanks for another great story.

    • Jenny permalink*
      May 5, 2015 11:51 pm

      Awe. I love that last meal. Sam, our first dog got a steak. They hold special places in our hearts forever!

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