14 years ago, we got a call from a friend about a dog. He had adopted a sweet puppy, but couldn’t keep her because she was just a little too high energy for him. I had met her a few times and there was no way that sweet yellow lab puppy was going back to the pound, so the Hubs and I (mainly me) decided to take her. I mean, look at that face…
We brought that ill mannered smooshy face home the week after Christmas and discovered two things very quickly:
- She wasn’t very bright. At all.
- She was allergic to a lot of food.
We discovered the first thing when we realized that the name she came with sounded way too close to the word “No” for her to be able to tell the difference and the second by cleaning up some seriously disgusting messes. So we renamed our pup Abby, enrolled her in training and quickly found a diet that worked.
All went along as swimmingly as life can with a yellow lab puppy until Abby was 2. That is when her thunder phobia set in. She made the dog in Marley and Me look like an amateur – this crazy dog tried to chew off door knobs, eat her way through dry wall, hide on your shoulders and once even managed to knock herself out by tipping over a shelf on her head in her frenzy to escape the thunder. We tried thunder capes, desensitizing her to the sound, and watching Rambo movies really loudly during storm. We lived and died by the weather forecast and lost so.much.sleep. staying up with this pup- most of the time with her panting and draped your neck.
Things got so bad that the summer the Bean was born, I tried to rehome her. I was exhausted from having a 2 year old and new born and I was at my limit. Oddly enough, no one else wanted a crazy dog, so she stayed part of our clan. Finally our vet recommended that we take Abbers to the major veterinary hospital within driving distance and see a psychologist.
We were desperate so we did. That is how my 6 year old lab ended on daily Prozac and Xanax during storms. We were officially as crazy as our dog. But it worked and we all got some peace back.
Through it all, Abbers was the sweetest dog. She loved my kids wildly, thought the snow was the best thing ever and tolerated our kitties. She loved meat, but bread (her other love) gave her ear infections. Walks with the Bean were the best thing ever up until about a week ago. She was pampered and loved each and every day.
She never learned how to do any fancy tricks and would beg shamelessly for your food. She had the most soulful eyes and the sweetest disposition. Her ears were silky soft and her tail never stopped wagging when she had your attention. Nothing made her happier than being touched- a pat on the head or an absent minded rub of your foot when watching TV.
Abbers started to get sick a little over a year ago when she was 14. We knew she had cancer of some sort, but we all agreed that putting a 14 year old dog through invasive tests was cruel, so we concentrated on keeping her comfortable. And we did a great job of that until about a week ago. Everyone had always told me that I’d know when Abbey’s time was up, and we did. She stopped wanting to eat or go outside. Walks didn’t make her happy and treats were often left uneaten.
So we gave Abbers a week- a week where she got unlimited chicken and other treats. A week where we loved on her and said a million silent goodbyes. We warned the kids and had talked all week about how little time Abby had, but last night we told them flat out what was happening today. There were tears and questions and hugs- but ultimately understanding that it is our job to make sure Abby doesn’t suffer and that sometimes that means making really hard decision.
The kids said their last goodbye’s this morning and we all cried on their way to school. Shortly there after, the Hubs and I took Abby to the vet where she passed away with cookies in her belly and people who loved her dearly around her.
Goodbye, my crazy girl – thank you for loving us with your whole heart.