I’m coming out of retirement from blogging because we lost a beloved family member yesterday and I want to document the light and joy that she brought in our life.
We adopted Lillie from the shelter on 4/24/2007 when she was a year old. I fell in love with her immediately when I saw her photo on the shelter website. I mean, seriously, how do you not fall in love with this face? (and those ears!)
Lillie made it very clear as soon as she stepped foot in our house that she was the new Queen of the Smith Palace. I don’t think our two labs that we had at the time knew what to think. Who was this bossy, vocal creature that we had brought home? Our house was never the same.
Admittedly, there were some issues with Lillie for a while. She was a diva and didn’t like to share, and so I’d often be in the other room and my two daughters would yell from the living room that Lillie was being mean to them. Of course, when I’d walk in the room, Lillie would have this innocent look on her face, like “What? I’ve done nothing.” The girls always joked that I took Lillie’s side, but even when I tried to discipline her, she’d get an attitude with me. Here are just a few ways that Lillie would misbehave:
- Climbing in the dishwasher to lick the dirty dishes when I was trying to load dishes
- Hogging the couch and growling when you tried to move her
- Climbing up on the dining room table to eat any food that was there. One time she ate an entire giant-sized candy bar. And didn’t get sick. Unbelievable.
- Stealing my daughter’s foot-long sub sandwich off the table and running off with it. God, we still laugh about that, although my daughter was so angry at the time!
With some patience and using techniques that I learned from Cesar Milan (aka the Dog Whisperer), I was able to discipline Lillie on a satisfactory level, but that feistiness was an integrated part of Lillie’s personality and it was why we loved her so much.
Because she was a Jack Russell, she had a ton of energy! She loved to run and play with toys and our favorite game was to chase her around the couch. Her favorite toys were the ones that were bigger than her. One year we got her one of those long, skinny weiner dog-like toys that was about 4 feet long and even though it was about 4 times bigger than her, she loved carrying it around. Toys ultimately didn’t last long, though, as she loved to tear them apart.
Despite her high energy, Lillie loved to cuddle and she was my lap dog. She also slept in the bed each night nestled next to my legs. She also loved to be cradled like a baby.
At some point a few years ago, we noticed that Lillie was having trouble jumping up on things. Our vet thought that she was having some back issues. Medication helped, but she continued to have issues off and on. And then two years ago, Lillie lost her sight. Although she adapted well to her blindness, Lillie’s life changed a lot. She could no longer run and jump. She would often bump into things, and she depended on us a lot to help her get around. However, she continued to love her toys and when I walked in the door every night after work, she would immediately run to her toy and we would play.
Over the last few months, Lillie’s back issues started to deteriorate at a rapid rate. She couldn’t control her back legs. They would splay out behind her and she’d have a hard time walking. The vet ran out of ideas on how to help her, so we took her to a second vet and despite trying different things, we just couldn’t help Lillie feel better.
Over the last several days, Lillie wasn’t able to walk at all. She was also having a hard time lying down. Yesterday morning, she seemed to be sleeping comfortably on her bed and so I decided to sneak into the next room to run on the treadmill and when I finished, I could hear her crying in the other room. This wasn’t unusual, as she would always cry when I wasn’t in the same room as her, but when I walked in, she was splayed out on the floor and couldn’t get up. My heart broke. I just knew that I couldn’t see her go through this anymore. So I called the vet and we decided that it was time to let her go.
Making the decision to let your beloved furry friend go is one of the most agonizing decisions a person ever has to make. You know you’re doing the right thing, and yet…..there’s the terrible guilt that lingers.
I hope that Lillie passed peacefully away knowing that I loved her. I hope that she is truly at peace now and that her spirit is free and running and jumping and playing with no limits.
There is a huge empty hole in my heart as I write this. I miss her so much. She was my constant companion and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop grieving. If the tears will ever stop flowing. I just wanted to write this because I wanted everyone to know what a wonderful dog she was and how much I loved her.
I love you, Lillie. I hope to one day see you again.