Friday, November 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Miss Laney
This week has been a particularly rough and emotional one. It culminated yesterday in saying goodbye to my 14 year old toy fox terrier, Laney. I adopted Laney over Christmas break during my junior year at Texas A&M, much to my parents initial protestations. In hindsight, their rationale was correct. I was only 20 years old, I wasn't home often, I was a full time student. What kind of dog parent would I be? I know they fully anticipated me seeing the error of my ways in a few short months and bringing this high energy puppy back to their doorstep pleading with them to take care of her for me. 

What happened instead was this little one wormed her hyperactive way into my heart. In fact, within two weeks of adopting Laney she literally saved my life. While attempting to housebreak her in my tiny college apartment, I was keeping her in a kennel at night while I slept. One January morning around 2am, she woke me barking, crying, and pawing at her kennel door. I begrudgingly got up to get her leash to take her outside to find my living room windows aglow with fire. The apartment across the hall from me was in flames and those flames were quickly making their way to me. I grabbed Laney, my car keys and my purse and we fled the apartment. No fire alarms sounded or smoke detectors, but Miss Laney's alarm was loud and clear. From that moment on, my parents looked at her as the angel who saved their baby girl and were thrilled that I had found such a loyal companion. 

In the years following Laney saw me through college exams, graduation, boyfriend heartbreak, new jobs, and 11 moves in 14 years. She perhaps has thrived the most in the last 8 years since I met the man who is now my husband. Ken is an animal lover and in addition to loving my crazy little dog just as much as I did, he worked with her and trained her. Always a smart girl, Laney picked up a whole new vocabulary and a slew of fun games and tricks. This photo was taken by Ken last week when I was away in Denver. I love the pensive "waiting for momma" look in their eyes!

The beauty of this 10 lb girl was not just in her fun, high energy personality and eagerness to greet her people at the end of the day, but in her tenderness. Like many dogs, she had the ability to sense my moods and care for me. She curled up next to me when I cried after our initial infertility diagnosis, snuggled me when I fell apart after our failed IUI, and was the most excellent bed rest partner following our IVF (see exhibit A).

Exhibit A
We knew we wouldn't have her forever, and over the last few months more and more signs pointed to the fact that she was struggling. A lump on her side, whimpers of discomfort, and in the end some pretty scary seizures that left her confused and scared. Our girl had cancer that had spread to her brain. Having recently moved, we reached out to my parent's vet and he was able to not only discuss how to cease her suffering, but was willing to make a house call so Laney could pass in peace at home surrounded by lots of love. 

A good friend of mine may have put it best when she said that Laney had been a good companion and knew that I was going to be surrounded with the love of a new little one soon. Her timing was to make room for my new joys and responsibilities to come as a mommy. 

Ken and I both feel a peace that we made the right call and have saved her unnecessary additional pain and suffering. I'm sure she is happily chasing cottontail rabbits in the great puppy hereafter, but it's still a tough adjustment. Just yesterday afternoon while picking up some groceries, we both passed the pet supply aisle and for just a moment thought about picking up some treats for her. The house is sadly much more quiet without the click-clack of her tiny nails across the tile floor as she skittered over to greet us when we would walk in. 

We will remember her as our little girl, our trial kid and our fur baby with such warm memories. Thanks for teaching me responsibility, how to care for someone other than just myself, and how to receive unconditional love. You are missed.