At 11:20 yesterday morning, I was sitting with our dog, Abbie, knowing that the vet was going to come to our house at 4:30 that afternoon to put her to sleep after weeks of struggling with lymphoma. My mom and I had both stayed home with her that morning, and after a couple hours of sitting beside her and doing crosswords, I heard an odd little noise. Looking at her, we just knew it was time. We sat beside her, petting her gently–and within about a half a minute, her breathing changed, her little golden body shook slightly for a few seconds, and she was gone.
The differences between perceived reality and physical reality had never been so shocking. Looking at her, you’d think she was about to get up and give us that big, goofy smile of hers. But within ten minutes, she was cold, and later, stiff. The sight I recognized as the dog I have known and loved for 12 years was right before my eyes, but there was nothing beyond that sight to actually manifest my dog–the animating force that made her the friend I loved was no longer there. I’d never even seen a dead body, let alone an actual death. Nothing was ever so strange or powerful.
That night, Mom, Dad, Boyfriend and I went out to dinner to celebrate the life of Abbie. Loved by all, she was a remarkable creature, and I can’t think of anything better to do now than celebrate what a lovely little doggie life she lived.
Therefore: the tribute post.
After all, she was born to be a star.
This is a video I took on my phone of coming home to Abbie in March of 2010, and is the greeting we received every darn day!
People sometimes talk about dogs “watching TV,” but I doubt any dog has ever been as into a TV show as Abbie was when it came to “Meerkat Manor.” It’s what I can only describe as an animal reality show, and Abbie would sit front and center in front of the TV and watch whole episodes, raptly staring at the screen and perking up whenever they made their little meerkat noises.
Though unfailingly enthusiastic and charmingly klutzy, Abbie defied the dumb-dog stereotype by intuiting exactly what we needed with astonishing sensitivity. Once, she even managed to crack my mom’s neck on a terribly stressful day with a simple affectionate nuzzle.
She had a favorite toy, which we affectionately dubbed “The Flingball.” It was designed to be shot slingshot-style over long distances. Well, in our house, the Flingball actually ended up being held by the elastic in Abbie’s mouth, and forcefully shook back and forth so it hit her in the face repeatedly of her own free will.
We affectionately dubbed this process “bapping.”
On Christmas every year was “The Festival of the Flingballs.” Since they stopped carrying Flingballs in Bozeman, we had to order them online in bulk. When they arrived, we would save the package until Christmas morning, and then dump them all out at once in front of her. Panicked, she would back away slightly in sheer awe–and then, suddenly, she’d dart in and choose one Flingball for the new year. We’d pack up the rest and save them until she bapped the first one into oblivion.