On Saturday, we said goodbye to my sweet Lucy Girl.
About six months ago, Lucy had liver failure and while she was able to get back to a point where she was functioning again, she just never fully recovered. She continued to have accidents all over the house, which we could have dealt with. But it was her aggression that prompted us to make the call to the vet about end of life options.
Lucy had become so aggressive in the last month. She was snipping at all of us, and had recently started getting up under furniture and guarding it, not letting anyone come close without viciously attacking. She was also attacking Molly on a regular basis. She has always been snippy, but this was not her normal little spits of fiest. She was angry all the time, and had become unpredictable. We were starting to have to keep her separated from the rest of the family often because we just didn’t know how she would act from day to day.
We had spoken with the vet about this change, and he said she was probably in chronic pain from her liver and this was causing her aggression. Chris and have talked for a month now about how to handle the situation, but in the past week Lucy became more withdrawn and was hardly leaving her crate during the day. (She is crate trained, and so that is her little “house.” We don’t shut the door anymore, but she takes her naps in there and sleeps at night in there.) We knew she was in pain. This wasn’t the Lucy we knew.
I always thought that when the time came for Lucy, there would be some magical person who made the decision for us. Turns out, being an adult means these are the kinds of choices you have to make. I’m 31 years old, and every day I continue to learn what being an adult means. I could do without this part of adulthood.
I have had Lucy since I was a sophomore in college. She has lived in every home I’ve ever had since I moved out of my parent’s house. She has been with me longer than I’ve been married, longer than I’ve been a mother, longer than just about anything else in my life. And though the last six months or so with her have been difficult, I remember the Lucy that was funny and spunky and full of life. She was my faithful sidekick for so long, and my house feels so empty without her.
We told the kids that Lucy was sick and so we were taking her to the vet. We later explained to Bean that there was a chance Lucy wouldn’t come home, and would instead go on to Heaven to be with Granddad (and Lt. Dan, he reminded me). As a side note, Chris and I got a huge kick out of picturing my dad in heaven and suddenly having Lucy come running up to him out of the blue. He couldn’t stand that “yappy little dog,” as he called her! Hahaha!!!! Still makes me laugh…
Both of them have been pretty good accepting the explanation of Heaven. Bean actually helped explain it to Gracie because this was Gracie’s first time being old enough to even sort of understand Heaven. Bean told her, “Remember, last weekend when Jesus went to Heaven to make a home for us there? Well, he made a home for Lucy and that’s where she’s gone. To live with Jesus.”
Bless that boy’s sweet heart.
Big Molly is another story. We sort of half expected her to be happier now because Lucy had turned on her so much in the past few months. But we could tell right away that Molly was confused and sad. Yesterday afternoon, she sat by the front door all day long. I know she was waiting for Lucy to come back. And today, our first full day without her, Molly continues to lay by the door. Just waiting. Like the loyal friend she is. At dinner time last night, Molly went and laid down next to Lucy’s bowl in the kitchen instead of eating. She just kept looking at us with her big, dopey eyes, wondering where her friend had gone. It absolutely breaks mine and Chris’s hearts.
I know it was the right decision for Lucy. I loved her too much to have her continue in pain like that. But it has been such a hard decision to make, and an even harder one to face now that she is gone.
She was a good dog and an even better friend. I’ll always miss her.