Saturday, October 25, 2014

Goodbye, Abby

Two weeks ago, we celebrated our family dog, Abby, turning Sweet 16. Today, we had to say goodbye. Two weeks ago, we thought she might just live for 16 more, but in two short weeks, she lost 20% of her weight, stopped eating, and blood work confirmed that her organs were shutting down.

So we said goodbye today to our sweet Abby. Goodbye to a furry friend that has been a part of Jenny's life for 16 years. To a frenemy of mine for 11 years, the duration of my relationship with Jenny.

I call her my frenemy not from my perspective but from hers.  I disrupted the happy little dynamic duo that those two had 11 years ago, and she's been stuck with me ever since. I kicked her off the bed, I made her the 3rd wheel. It was always clear where her allegiances were.

But Abby and I had a special relationship too. Working from home, we were forced into coexistence for 8+ hours per day, and I was her source of food, water, and doing her business. We formed a nice little bond during the work days, though I knew she would fight me to be the first in line at the door when Jenny got home each night.

We shared a love for food. I loved double-doubles from In-N-Out, and so did Abby. She had no qualms about helping herself to a burger or two that weren't being attended to. Bagels, Funfetti cake, Krispy Kremes. It really is a bit of a miracle she made it to 16!

And yes, she wore diapers. Diapers that have saved us thousands of dollars in carpet cleaning and replacement.  

I loved Abby. Saying goodbye to her has been difficult for me. She brought smiles to our faces so often, and was a quiet comfort when we needed it. When we couldn't conceive and struggled through infertility test after infertility test, she was the deserving recipient of that extra helping of love that we so desperately wanted to give a child.  When the wait for Bailey rolled on and on (and on and on), Abby provided a little bit of solace in those times of pain, frustration, anger. She was a source of laughter and happiness. When we started to take life a little too seriously or got a little too stressed out, there was our little diaper-clad Bichon, armed with a smile and a rapidly wagging tail, ready to soak up any affection we wanted to send her way.

Any time Jenny would get sick, Abby would jump on the bed and curl up right next to Jenny, loving on her as she was in pain. To me, it was just a beautiful image of their relationship.

This is the Abby I'll ever forget:

Perhaps the most beautiful part of saying goodbye to Abby was Bailey's response. Jenny told her (because I was a blubbering mess and probably would've said something not-so-age-appropriate) that Abby was very sick and that she was going up to Heaven to be with Jesus. Her initial response was "She gets to go to Heaven and play with Jesus? COOL!" What a refreshing reminder of the perspective we should all have of our own lives.

After a few hugs with her "little puppy" as she calls her, she said goodbye and went off to her nap, giving me a few quiet moments with Abby. There's nothing fun about loss, even if it is "just" a family pet. Abby was just that, a member of our family. She will be deeply missed, but so joyfully remembered.