On Thursday, I said goodbye to one of the greatest loves of my life – my dog Lilly.
I adopted Lilly from the Woodford Humane Society back in 2007 shortly after my mom died. My then-fiance (now ex-husband) didn't really want a dog, but he begrudgingly went along with it. I thought we'd get a calm senior lab or something similar. Instead, I saw this curly haired girl with a big teddy bear face wagging her clipped tail. I said “what is THAT?!” (Answer: a 5-year-old Airedale Terrier) We took her outside and as she was running around, it looked like she was prancing. I loved her instantly.
Lilly honestly saved me emotionally in two huge ways. When my mom died, she gave me something else to focus on and care for. She made me laugh when the grief made me feel like I couldn't breathe. After my divorce, she showed me unconditional love when I thought I must be unlovable. If I was on the floor crying hysterically because I'd felt like I lost my family in a single moment, she'd amble over and lick my face and then patiently lay next to me while I tried to gather the energy to get up again.
Sometimes, Lilly was a pain. She liked to bark at nothing in particular, and especially while on conference calls. She would sleep with me in the bed and take up 2/3 of the king mattress, sprawled out like the princess she was.
She was fond of chasing birds, bunnies, and squirrels, and sometimes catching them and playing with them as toys. She loved dog treats, but hated crumbs and would leave them behind like they were beneath her consumption. She didn't drink water out of her bowl, she ate it… and would then drip the water that her beard had soaked up all over the house.
But for all of her quirks, she brought 100X more joy.
She loved snow. While I would groan at the sight, she would pounce around in the powder and bury her face as deep as possible.
She was my CFO – Chief Furry Officer. Her desk (bed) lay right behind my chair and she would often encourage breaks by flopping over and sighing loudly for a belly rub.
Or if I was staring at the monitor too long, she'd crawl under my desk and pop her head out between my legs.
She appreciated my sparkly Christmas trees every year. They're important to me as they remind me of my mom. I'd come home and find her laying down underneath it, taking a nap.
Despite leaving drool on my upholstery and nose prints all over my windows, I loved seeing her smile on car rides.
And she enjoyed puppy lattes.
She would begrudgingly pose with me in outfit photos:
Or maybe not:
She saved me. She was my family. She was my heart.
I had 9 years with her, and that was an incredible gift. My ex and I agreed that it was time for her to cross the rainbow bridge. (We had shared custody.) She was 14, and the average life span for her breed is 10-12 years. Her hips had given out long before her spunk and personality did.
Sleep well, sweet girl. The impact you had on me will last a lifetime. You were so incredibly loved.