Good-bye, sweet girl

I knew this day would come, but I didn’t expect it to hit me like a ton of bricks. I certainly never expected it to hurt so much.

I had been out of town for a conference the last several days. The conference was educational and informative. There were some well-regarded speakers, and I enjoyed learning so much from them on a variety of current issues.

I got home late Sunday evening, just in time for a hot bath, a glass of wine, and some much needed sleep. But before I went to bed, my husband told me that my sweet little dog, Missy, had died. She was about 15 years old, blind, and deaf. Since we have two other dogs (one about the same age, the other a puppy), Missy would often go outside and walk beside the older dog, Woody. She would run right beside him through the field with our cows, and was fine as long as he was nearby.

My husband doesn’t know exactly what happened. He thought she was inside with the other dogs when he went out Saturday evening, but he couldn’t find her when he got home. Sunday morning, he found her lying on the road where she had been hit by a car. We imagine that she had inadvertently gotten outside when he was backing out of the garage. She probably wandered around looking for Woody and made it to the road, unable to see or hear anything.

We knew that she was in poor health, and had been talking about having her put down. She really was such a sweet dog. She had been a part of our family for well over a decade. She had been there to see me raise our two sons. Missy was also here when we cared for seven foster children. The two babies crawled all over her, and she never snapped at them. She just let them play for a while, and when she got tired, she quietly got up and walked out of the room.

A few years ago, I found her barely able to walk, lying on the front porch. She had been out running through the field earlier. It took me a moment to notice the blood trickling from her abdomen. She had been shot. My son carefully put her in my car, and we took her to three different veterinarians before we found one who could give her immediate care. Missy was barely able to breathe or move and was in shock. The vet discovered that the bullet had gone through and through, in one side of her lungs and out the other. How she lived is beyond belief, stunning even the doctor.

I know she was just a dog. She couldn’t do any tricks. She didn’t get around very well. But Missy was a peaceful presence for me. I knew that every time I walked into the living room, she would be there.

Tonight when I got home, I began filling the dog dishes with food. I filled the first two and realized that there was no need to fill the third. I’m sure going to miss that sweet dog.

~Temerity Dowell

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