Thursday, July 30, 2009

I remember ...

I remember …

- I remember being in a band in San Antonio and our bass player, Steve, inviting us over for some burgers and chips and to just hang out for an afternoon.

- I remember going to Steve and Leslie’s and seeing this red-dog bouncing all over the yard, so proud of her surroundings and so full of life.

- I remember Steve telling me to ask you to “shake”, and when your paw hit my hand my face lit up and my heart jumped for joy.

- I remember praising you for this simple trick that you have known all your life and I remember my first thought of you thinking, “What a good dog.”

- I remember a few weeks later Steve telling us that he had received orders to DC and they would not be able to take their dogs and I remember thinking, “It sure would be nice to have a good dog like that.”

- I remember talking to Lisa about it and us going over to “meet you” one Sat afternoon to see if Lisa and you would get along and I remember thinking, “I sure hope they like each other.”

- I remember Lisa saying, “Yes” … and my heart once again leaping for joy.

- I remember the day you came home. It was raining out, and you tracked paw prints all over the beige carpet and I remember thinking, “It’s just a little dirt, it’ll be ok.”

- I remember you walking around the house, sniffing your new surroundings and I remember thinking, “My home is complete”.

- I remember our first few nights and that stupid cat next door sitting on the fence and the reflection on our bedroom blinds sending you into orbit. I remember thinking that “you and I should hide that cat!”

- I remember finding out that you liked to play fetch and that 12 inch piece of rope with two knots on it was our favorite toy in the back yard.

- I remember playing tug of war, hiding it from you and you finding it, and I remember you always bringing it back to me with that grin of yours on your face.

- I remember you running through the yard and how I used to comment that you “looked like a reindeer” because you pranced when you got up to a fast running speed.

- I remember those rough storms in Texas and how you always slept by my side of the bed, sometimes sitting up at the slightest noise and letting me know that you were watching.

- I remember having some rough times in our family and yet you still looked at me and loved me, reassuring me that you would always be there.

- I remember our move to Wichita Falls and how you walked around the new house cautiously, sniffing each crevice and room, almost inspecting it for all of us.

- I remember you sitting down on the living floor while we unpacked almost like you were relaxing and calling this place yours.

- I remember the couple of moves we had in Texas actually, and how each time how you’d look over the house and ensure it was good enough for us.

- I remember when we moved on base at Sheppard and Buffy joined our family how you seem to show her a few things, and then that was about all you had to do with her.

- I remember our family enjoying the new puppy and how you seemed to just watch her from a distance, but still you immediately responded to my voice when I called.

- I remember our first real vacation when I had to kennel you for a week, and that look on your face was so sad, almost asking, “What did I do, Daddy?” And I remembered when we got back you ran into my arms and wouldn’t stop licking me.

- I remember telling you that “I would never kennel you in that place again,” and I kept that promise because you just did not seem happy there.

- I remember our move to Alabama when you slept in the car the whole way, and how much you hated the hotel we stayed in. I don’t think you slept at all that night because each time I opened my eyes you were sitting up watching the door. I remember thinking, “what a good dog.”

- I remember meeting our new vet on Cobbs Ford Road and thinking to myself that we have finally found a place that is trustworthy and loves my dogs.

- I remember having to kennel you there when we went on vacation and how you simply went with the technicians, leading Buffy all the way and of course how excited you were when I came to get you.

- I remember everyone there telling me “what a good dog you are” and how lucky we are to have you. I agreed … I was the one who was always lucky to have you.

- I remember bringing you to the house we bought in Alabama and once again you inspected, sniffed, and gave it your seal of approval by laying down on the carpet in the living room and smiling at me.

- I remember your first trip outside, bounding down the stairs to sniff the yard, and making sure it was going to be good enough for you.

- I remember the countless nights from Texas to Alabama you would always sit at my feet while I worked on school, or sermons, or whatever the case may be and you never asked for anything; but when I reached down to pet you how you always jumped up to meet me.

- I remember sharing my dry roasted peanuts with you every time and how much you enjoyed this special treat. I remember thinking to myself, “what a good dog,” and being amazed at how loyal and patient you were sitting at my feet, licking your lips.

- I remember how Lisa would hear a noise in the middle of the night and her waking me up to investigate; and my assurance that it was nothing because my good dog would’ve let me know if there was anything to worry about.

- I remember every night or every morning getting up to go to the bathroom and being careful not to trip, because you were right there by my side of the bed.

- I remember packing for trips to go on for work and how you would always position yourself between me and my suitcase as if to stop me from packing.

- I remember always thinking “what a good dog”, how lucky I was that even though you didn’t want me to leave, that you still loved me.

- I remember you huffing and puffing while I would pack – but I remember the licks and the kisses before I left on each trip and as soon as I got back.

- I remember, and I think I will miss that the most.

- I remember your health beginning to decline and how we continued to try every medicine we could, and how you took your medicine in peanut butter even though I think you knew what it was and that it would not work.

- I remember the day the vet told me that “It was time”, and how my heart sank into my chest and how lonely I suddenly felt.

- I remember the next day making the appointment to say goodbye, and how much I hated every second of it even though it was going to be the right thing to do for you.

- I remember wondering if you would still love me because I had too, and then when I got home from work that day you smiled and licked me and I was grateful.

- I remember us having peanuts that evening, and my deciding that I would take “the day” off from work and we would go and do “everything” together.

- I remember waking up this morning and thinking that today you are the MOST important thing in my world.

- I remember packing food and water and getting you all ready to go out, and taking off that plastic cone you hated seemed to just liberate you; and you once again had that spring in your step and that smile on your face.

- I remember taking you to McDonald's for lunch (chicken nuggets and fries), and then going for walks at two different parks sharing peanuts together, and talking to you all the while my friend would look up and listen, and nod her head as I talked.

- I remember driving all over the city, and even driving up to our old church where you went with me many times to check on things and walk around the property together.

- I remember never wanting the drive to end, petting you and talking to you about everything I was feeling, both good and bad.

- I remember going home and hating that this would be your last time at our home.

- I remember watching the kids love on you and pet you - taking pictures with you and just being goofy all the while you would smile, shake their hand, and naturally they smiled back.

- I remember even Buffy and Kiki being extra playful with you, and not wanting to leave your side.

- I remember taking you to the car for one last car ride and Chris riding with us; all the while I was trying to be strong and try to not let you pick up on my anxiety.

- I remember the whole drive to the vet's office feeding you more dry roasted peanuts .... because you loved them so.

- I remember standing outside of the vet's office trying to rationalize this decision with myself and you instinctively trying to go inside cause that is what you have always done.

- I remember Lisa telling me that they were ready for you, and how my heart just broke. How I walked into that room with you following so faithfully I have no idea.

- I remember Dr. Ousley and her technician being so kind and gentle as they have always been, giving you a sedative to relax you and me getting to spend some private time with you while you got sleepy.

- I remember waiting in that room with you for them to come back, petting you and kissing you - the whole time asking God to take care of you, and praying that one day we would meet again where you would be as happy to see me as I would be you.

- I remember the medicine going in and you continuing to lick your nose, all the while your head resting on my leg as you had always done in our living room or in our bedroom.

- I remember your final breath and my words to you were of gratitude, thanking you for being my good dog ... and for loving me even though there were times that maybe I was not too lovable.

- I remember kissing you goodbye on the cheek, and leaving the office for the first time without you, and without a part of myself.

I remember, Lucy Ball Conwell. I will always remember and I will always love you.

Rest now my good dog.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


baylormum on July 31, 2009 at 6:44 PM said...

What an awesome tribute to a great friend. I developed an allergy to dogs some 30 years ago, so haven't had to go thru the grief of a pet loss. They are a member of the family and should receive no less dignity than her human counterpart! You gave her dignity by refusing to watch her suffer. It was hard, but it was right. :)

Lisa on August 3, 2009 at 8:07 PM said...

Grieving with you in this. Literally, your post made me cry. We love our dog so much. I couldn't imagine having to make that tough decision.


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