Dear Millie,

We spent the weekend rearranging our bedroom and such.  I couldn’t stand seeing our dog’s empty bed at the foot of mine and without it there, it was just a sad, empty space.  There are other things I should tend to–her water and food bowls are still sitting there, waiting for her.

On Friday, I had our dog come downstairs into the living room so I could brush her a bit.  Always good to look nice for the doc, right?  She did get compliments when Gordon walked her into the lobby.  🙂  I had to go searching for her since she wasn’t in her usual resting places.  I found her in the boys’ room on the far side of Paul’s bed.  “Come on, Pup, let’s go downstairs,” I said.  She picked herself up and headed into my room.  “No, come downstairs. Come on, Pup-Pup, come on,” I cheered.  Her back end slipped when she got on the wood, and she couldn’t grip with her front paws.  I basically slid her over to the couch where she could lean on it while I brushed her.  She was so thin.  I did as much as she would allow and then let her go while the girls helped me clean up all the hair.  I had it all gathered up in a bag to take to the trash and realized the trash bin was still down by the road, so I set it on the steps in the garage to take out later.

I was anxious all morning and procrastinated doing anything I needed to get done.  I didn’t want to go shopping because I didn’t want to leave her.  I wanted to sit and stroke her fur and talk to her, but was worried it would upset us both over nothing.  Knowing what I know now, I wish I had.

Gordon came home to pick her up at about 1:45.  He came upstairs, and I excitedly told our dog that he was home.  She perked up and her tail was wagging as she followed him into our room and back out again with a little hop.  I hoped it was a happy hop.  He let her outside and I went in the basement to get the leather leash.  She came back in and I thought we should get a picture.  Gordon wasn’t so keen on it and I tried to get the girls and dog situated and cooperating, but the dog kept wandering off and the girls couldn’t stay put either.  Gordon said we shouldn’t be fussing and making things a big deal when she was just going to get tests.  The dog was ready to go out with him, so I pet her and said, “Be a good girl,” and watched her climb up in the van.  Lucy and I stood in the doorway to the garage and waved until the garage door closed.

I called Gordon just after he left so we could talk during his drive to the vet about a half hour away.  I could hear the dog wandering around in the back and it took her a long time to settle and sit down.  Gordon kept laughing about how bad her breath was (it really was!  I thought her teeth must be rotting out or something, but the vet said her teeth were all in great shape.  Gordon commented to the vet that it smelled like something had died in there, and she said, “Well, she IS dying in there.”).  When they pulled in to the vet, Gordon said he’d call me back later.  At 2:48, he texted me:

Waiting for results

He included a worried, sweating emoji.  I was trying to calm myself by playing Tetris and half-joked back to him about looking for a bag to breathe into.  I kept trying to tell myself that whatever the case, it would be a relief to know.

Time seemed to drag on and I finally texted to find out how long before the results would come back.  No response.

Gordon called at 3:25.  “Hello?”  Nothing.  I listened for a minute, and could hear that the phones had connected, but he wasn’t speaking and I heard a couple of sharp breaths drawn in and let out in short, unsteady beats.  I realized it was Gordon crying.  And then I knew.

There are paw prints in the snow all over our yard.  It’s been getting warmer and while I know it’ll take awhile to melt all the snow, it breaks my heart knowing that when it does, her prints will be gone, too.

Our dog with her neighbor friend frolicking in the snow last winter


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