UNCONDITIONAL LOVE…

She knew the time was getting close. She knew he was getting worse yet he was still eating, drinking and wagging his tail to greet her. He was Frankie, a Yorkie Poo, that had been with her for almost 18 years. His eyes were glassy, but as always, the love in those eyes could melt you. He had been changing for awhile, but today he was definitely worse, unable to control his bladder. She knew how serious it was and knew she had to seek help. A trip to his vet proved a diagnosis of kidney failure. She had three choices, but all had the same ending. She could let him go, take him home for the weekend and give a little extra love or she could treat him with IV fluids and see what happened. He was obviously suffering and she knew the right thing was to let him go. She held him as he went to sleep, very peaceful and no pain, just rest. The tears flowed down her cheeks landing on his precious head. She held him close and told him she loved him, handed him to the tech and walked out carrying a mold of his paw print.

The weeks that followed were tough as they adapted to life without this little guy. It seemed the grief was extra heavy even though as animal lovers, loss had always been difficult. This was extra hard and they wondered why. Finally she realized that the one constant in her life since the loss of her daughter had been Frankie.

It was a normal restaurant day and I was sitting in Rick’s office. Tiffany said she had something to show us. She disappeared and returned with the tiniest little fur ball I had ever seen and placed him gently in my arms. He was shaking, so afraid, and I held him up and looked in his eyes. They were human eyes and it was as if he could see inside my soul. Next was the statement…he needs a home and that was the beginning of our life with Frankie.

Frankie pretty much ran the house. We got him a sister, Sophie, and although they were inseparable, he was definitely the alpha dog. Sophie died in 2015 while I was out of town. My family, as always, rallied to the occasion and took care of her and subsequently, Rick. She loved Rick and her loss especially with me gone was extremely difficult for him. We did all the hard stuff together.

So why was losing Frankie so difficult. I pondered this and what I surmised was this, he had been with me through so much loss already and was my constant throughout. Since 2010, we lost Lindsey, my mom, Rick’s sister and brother-in-law, and Rick’s dad. We had closed all our restaurant and catering businesses, Amanda got a divorce, Tiffany broke her leg starting 3 years of surgeries and an uncertain future, my brother had a massive heart attack and I got a knee replacement and neck surgery. Was it just life or was it a lot. I started to be afraid of what would come next and that was the opposite of my former self. So saying so long to my little buddy was like losing my safe place. He was my lap buddy throughout all of this and I would miss him terribly. Thing is I believe in the rainbow bridge and I believe all our pets will cross over and we, too, will be reunited.

So enters Lucy, the red Goldendoodle you have seen and heard so much about (maybe too much). Many of you have been watching her antics on Facebook and probably thinking I’m obsessed with her. Well you are right. Let me tell you her story.

It was December 2019 with the usual hustle and bustle of holiday time. My oldest daughter, Amanda, called me to announce she would like to put a down payment on a goldendoodle puppy and then we would do the rest. My first instinct was that it wasn’t the right time for us to tackle a puppy. We were both still working long days and it would be hard and not good for the puppy or us. I couldn’t get it off my mind and I mentioned it to Rick. We had been planning on getting one when we retired and making her a therapy dog. He was Rick, gave his logical opinion, then within hours he told Amanda, “get it if it will make your mom smile.” That was just the beginning…

On January 16th we picked up “Lucy”. We had picked her out two weeks before, where she was previously known as “pink collar puppy”. Rick and I were over the moon in love. Our plan was to train her to be a therapy dog and in our retirement we would visit hospitals and nursing homes. Puppy training started and two weeks in we got the tragic news that Rick had Cancer. We were in shock!

Over the next few weeks, Lucy was our happy place. She was this incredibly crazy cute puppy with endless energy. Everyone helped us with her, taking her for play dates and keeping her while we were in the hospital. The last time Rick came home, Lucy laid beside his chair quietly and without moving a hair. I heard his conversation with her as he said “well I really wanted to watch you grow up, but that’s not going to happen. I wanted to see what you would accomplish”. My heart broke into pieces like shattered glass.

One of the things I always wanted was Lucy to sleep with me, but she preferred the cold bathroom floor. Time passed and a week later Rick was gone. I was lost and lonely. The night of the funeral, my friend was coming back for the night, but I knew it wasn’t going to change my feelings and she needed to go home to her own family.. I told her I’d be ok and that night Lucy spent her first night beside me, snuggled up close, never leaving my side.

So as I continue to look for the exit to the maze, I have Lucy by my side. She is my sure thing every morning and every night. I wake to a paw to the cheek and I go to sleep to her lying beside me, head on Rick’s pillow. Coming home is hard, but she is always waiting, ready to play and share hugs and kisses. She truly gets me through the long days and even longer nights. Truth be told, I don’t know what I would have done without her. She fills a place in my heart that longs for life to return to the way it was, but as we know that will never be. Lucy and I look to the future as a team, she and I against the world. The journey is better with her by my side. “I love Lucy”

3 thoughts on “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE…”

  1. BEAUTIFUL !!!
    I so enjoy Lucy when I’ve visited. The therapy dog idea sounds like a wonderful goal.
    I’m so glad she’s there to share the journey with you. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God gives us the ways and means to make it through the truly tough times. I think Amanda’s “down payment” came at just the right time. Lucy loves Carolyn!

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  2. I have cried over your blogs, but more over this one for some reason. You are continuously in my thoughts and prayers. Your description of the grieving process or “maze” is so on target. You have confirmed for me that it is not unusual to think that you are better and then years after a loss feel just as devastated as the day the loss occurred. You are touching the lives of so many in a real way. Please continue to help us all.

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