Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Saying Goodbye.

May was such a sad month for our family. On May 2nd we said goodbye to our beloved dog Mabel.  It has taken me some time to find the words to write this.  It was too fresh, too guttural, too heartbreaking. Yet I knew I wanted to say something.

It seems unreal.  I still expect to see her outside in the backyard or lying in her favourite spot in the family room.  A spot where she could keep an eye on us and make sure we were with her.  It's the little things I miss.  The sound of her tags on her collar as she walked, the sound of her low grumble to let us know she wanted to go outside and her enthusiasm for laundry fresh and hot out of the dryer.

We speak of her often and I'm glad we do.  She's everywhere in our lives but yet the emptiness is there.  I still dread coming home knowing that I will return to an empty house with no greeting at the door.  No stretch of her legs upon my knees and no burying of her face into my chest when I picked her up.

Over the month the weather has turned warmer and we've been out gardening but there is something missing.  She loved this time of year when we spent more time outside.  She would keep close while lying on the grass with her head held high and taking in one of those lovely spring breaths.  She would wriggle on her back in the grass for that perfect satisfying back rub.

She was a quirky, loveable dog. She was loyal and protective of her family and she loved us.   Outside of her loud greeting to strangers, and even visiting family members at the door, she was a calm, gentle spirit.  In quiet moments she could even convince non-dog people to like her.

We said many times how well she fit into our family because really we're kind of quirky too.  I'm not sure if we were meant for her or if it really was that she was meant for us.  She did everything with us. Everyday she was always nearby. She traveled with us, camped, hiked and loved going up to my parent's lakeside cottage.  She was fabulous on long car trips but completely awful on short ones whining and howling as if we were going to leave her at the groomer or vet permanently.

She grew up with us.  The girls were 8 and 10 when we got her...and Al and I? Well, we were younger too. :)

We've had lots of good memories to share and so many funny Mabel-isms that we just got used to and made us love her even more.
  • Mabel was afraid of hardwood floors which led to many funny situations.  
  • When caught trying to pick up kitchen floor food remnants she would back out of the kitchen really slowly as if thinking we would not see her.   
  • She had a weakness for paper.  Although she had mostly grown out of this one day in March we returned home to find some chewed up paper in the living room.  We didn't say anything but Mabel couldn't even look at us.  She immediately went to the corner of the front hall and gave herself a timeout.  (Something we never did or requested of her just simply something she thought she should do.) She was her own self regulator.

She did have her health issues over the years that I could certainly relate to.  At age 6 Mabel went in for surgery to remove bladder stones the same day I was going to the hospital for a follow up to my kidney stone procedure.  That is just such a strange coincidence.

She could look deep in your soul with those amazing brown eyes and I swear she understood what I was telling her.  Through the worst times or even just trying to recover from a migraine I would feel a little paw on my knee or arm just to let me know she was there for me.  I remember in February when she had been diagnosed with an enlarged heart I was upset and sitting on the floor with her.  Her little paw on my knee and those eyes looking up at me.  The dog with the biggest heart literally had the biggest heart.

Maybe looking back we can see that her death was not so unexpected but it does help us to know that not only a week earlier she was running around almost puppy-like.  She was happily running for toys and giving excited greetings at the door.

Mabel loved her family and was the most happy when we are all together. In the last few months it was a rare time when we were all home together. Erica was in London at University and Al had many business trips and Sydney's dance season was upon us.  On the Wednesday I picked Erica up from residence for her summer break.  On Thursday night Al returned home from a 5 day business trip in Florida. On the Friday morning Mabel was out chasing rabbits in the backyard and only hours later I was rushing her to the vet.  I sat with her on the floor of their office while we waited for some medication to kick in.  We were expecting it to work like it had in the past.  It took Al a couple of hours to make it home from downtown and within 20 minutes of him arriving at the vet she let in and laid down.  She gave us enough time to get the girls over to the vet and she didn't leave us with any decisions to be made.

She had her family around her just like she would want.
We knew it was her time to rest.
Feb 12, 2005 - May 2, 2014