It’s 1:30 pm on Friday. In the previous two and a half hours, I drove Lily to the vet where she was put to sleep, and now she is home and buried. The photo at the left was shot just before we left the house this morning.
I practiced my words a few times before I called the vet’s office so I would not cry. I did not know if I would have to say WHY I was coming or if they would just know. They know I am a cry-baby. So when Marie answered and I said who I was and that I wanted to bring Lily in, she pretty much knew why I was coming. I stumbled and started to cry. Our conversation turned into something like this. I said, “I would like to bring Lily in.” Marie said, “We’re going to…” and I said, “yes.” End of conversation.
So I finished feeding the masses, cleaned up the backyard, then brought the car up to the front of the house so I could put Lily in. In those last days, there is this different conversation that occurs as your sick animal looks to you for an answer to “what the hell is going on with me?” I don’t know if there is any point in hiding your tears from them. I just cry all over them.
I picked Lily up out her her dog house and carried her to the car. She did not seem to mind another ride. We drove slowly to the vet — about a half hour drive — with me rubbing her the whole way. When my hand would stop, she would nudge me to keep scratching, then lay her head back down. She was quite anemic by this point, pretty lethargic. Her cancer was on the run through her body looking for a new food source.
In a heartbeat, I can remember all the barking and peeing and chewing and pooping and fighting that drove me to the end of my wits for years, and how much I really do love this little pain in the ass. A LOT of history has occurred between us while I was going about my life. The barking under the house while I was on the phone, the going after animals too close to her yard, the ankle biting after inviting people into her yard, the bullying LeRoy out of his food and the kisses whenever I was bent over, the sitting on my lap while I sat on the bench in the yard, the excitement in her face when I came home.
I don’t know how old Lily was. She was not a puppy when she came to live with me in 1997.
Our appointment was at 11:30. My vet is a wonderful fellow Yankee living in Texas. She has seen me through a lot of “kids.” What never ceases to amaze me about euthanasia is the point where your beloved is with you, then they are not. Death comes and life goes in a heartbeat, so you must pay close attention. In this moment, they are with you. And in the next, you have released them to the universe. Whatever that is.
It’s 1:30 and we are home. Lily has been buried out in the yard with the other “kids.” And I am having a beer to toast her. Maybe I will have another so I can condone crying for my loss.
Last Saturday, Lily was running around the yard barking at stuff as usual and eating her bowl of food as well as part of LeRoy’s. A few hours after dinner, her tumor burst and nothing was the same again… no barking, no running around the yard, no bullying LeRoy out of his food. No Lily as usual. She did not complain, she did not cause problems. She just tried to handle her new situation.
I love you, Little Lil. Thank you for 12 plus years of your own craziness. I am happy I could be your home where you could be your self, hating other dogs and biting strangers’ ankles when they came in your yard… probably all the things that cost you your first home. But no matter. You were my puta, until someone explained to me exactly what that means. I hope you will look out for us because we still need you. LeRoy will still need you.
Peace, love, dove, baby girl.