Today we said goodbye to my sweetest old friend. My dog, the Tijuana Special, Gypsy, the super-mutt. She was given to us by a couple of kids on the street.
"That's such a cute puppy." I said.
"Do you want her? We can't keep her, we'll lose our apartment, and we just got this apartment, and we can't get kicked out." This youngish looking girl looked up at me, pleading.
So we took her home. She destroyed my husbands house, his roomates' rug, she drove the older dog crazy, she tested the boundaries of friendship, and if it weren't for the fact that Kneeko's roommates were his REALLY good friends, we would have been kicked out too. But after the adjustment, she showed us that she was sweet, and loving. When I took her to the vet for the first time, she got a parvo vaccination and as soon as we were home, had an allergic reaction, her face swelled up and I held her in my arms, rushing her back to the vet. We looked in each other's eyes, and that was it, I was hers.
She was a gentle soul. She loved everything. She once met my sister's cat, and spent the entire time trying to convince the cat she wasn't a threat, the cat didn't want to hear it. She ate kale and would beg at me feet every time I'd open up a fresh bag of salad mix. We would always say that she was a friend to all creatures, great and small. She was my sweetie pie, my confidant, my protector, and my friend. She was always there. Days were spent with her at my side, while I hammered away at jewelry projects. She never let me be alone, not even for a second, sometimes she drove me crazy, but she just had so much love to give, she never made me sad.
When she was a puppy, she found a tennis ball at the park, and from there, she was fetching champion. I threw and she brought it back. Sometimes I would think that it was her, that she loved the ball and loved to fetch, but then sometimes, I would wonder if she was only doing it only because she thought that it made me happy.
A few weeks ago she began walking with a limp. I thought she had hurt herself leaping off the porch playing fetch, but it didn't heal, and just kept getting worse. I thought perhaps she had jammed a paw. So, I was shocked when I heard the diagnosis that she had stage 4 bone cancer, and even if we chose to have surgery, to do dog chemo, that it wouldn't really do much good. It was like a puzzle piece I didn't know was missing, the last few months, sometimes she would cry at night, or inexplicably she would yelp. She had always been a sensitive dog, who needed a lot of boundaries, but lately, she was extra touchy. So, when I realized that she had been hurting, for probably much longer than I had thought possible, I knew it was time for me to let go.
So today, we said goodbye. At home, with her ball, and us, and all the bacon a dog could ever dream of. She went peacefully, to that big old dog park in the sky.