It has been a really emotional 10 months but we had 9 years of joy with our English bulldog, Lily. She joined all the other angels last evening after making the very difficult decision earlier this week. She had just turned 9 on April 27th and we only wish we had the opportunity to celebrate many more years of life with her. She was the best – an absolute sweet heart.
For 5 1/2 years Lily was our only baby. She received all of our love. As Mark says, she just molded into our lives seamlessly. When it was time to move across the country,we threw her bed in the back of our car and off we went. Never requiring a leash to stay near to us, she happily remained on our property of near us always. In her younger days, she was incredibly active. I remember when we lived in a northern suburb of Tulsa that I would drive 20 minutes in the opposite direction of work to drop her off at doggy daycare only to double back for an hour drive to work. She loved it and we loved her 🙂 Lily also loved playing “tennis” (fetch the ball off a racket) in the driveway and was obsessed with the beach since we moved to Lake Michigan 6 years ago. We’d put on her life vest and she would fly down the 77 stairs to get to the water. She’d fetch the ball or water toy until she wandered off to cool off in a sliver of shade somewhere. But, her true love was the sun, always finding the sunshine cast on the floor, rotating around the house with the sun rise and sun set each day and always thrilled with a hot summer day where she could sunbathe until she could barely breathe.
When we welcomed our first daughter into the world, I remember feeling like Lily was going to be shorted my love but her love only grew for our family. She loved our kids and they loved her. Lily would deal with getting laid on, dressed up, stepped on, you name it. She was a gentle giant with a tongue that loved to give kisses in heavy doses, but always on her terms.
Ten months ago, we thought her days were numbered. She had been diagnosed with v-tach, heart failure, and renal failure. Once getting her to a cardiologist in Detroit (3 hours away) and getting her meds regulated, she lived a wonderful several months. The meds then needed adjustment and a few added. Next a diuretic was added and then a second. The medications needed to keep her heart in rhythm and her heart failure controlled were hard on her kidneys. Her abdomen started filling with fluid and we started having the vet remove it – an overall unpleasant experience for everyone. Last Friday, I had taken her in for her second draining and unfortunately, the vet could only pull 1 1/2 pounds off whereas 5 weeks prior he was able to remove 3 1/2 pounds. In the days that followed, the fluid shifted around her abdomen, moved to one of her back legs, and she seemed uncomfortable when laying down. She started panting more. We knew her heart was getting weaker and unable to keep the fluid off.
We struggled with the decision. We still have doubts. How can you pin point the “right” time to say that her happiness is dwindling and it’s time. She was still eating, moving well, and acting herself. She was so TOUGH. It was as though she didn’t want us to worry and she just pushed through. However, knowing that we did not want to put her through a third abdominocentesis, we decided to send her to heaven before things progressed further. We laid with her on the floor of the vet with her and cried and told her how amazing she is, thanking her for being the best and for all of the memories. She went quickly and peacefully and I was so glad we were there with her.
We go through periods where one of us is stronger than the other. Seeing Mark so emotional has probably been the hardest part. The morning and evening routines are so quiet. We miss her so much and finding our new normal will be a process. I am incredibly grateful for all of the support, and not just now but through her entire journey of the past 10 months. Heaven gained one heck of a sweetheart on 5-31-18. Lily girl, we love you soooo much. <3