Monday June 27th, 2016 will be forever engraved in my mind. You see, I lost many dogs before, some from long illnesses, some on the spur of the moment kind of thing, but I never before scheduled an euthanasia for a specific day and time.
After she was gone, I realized than more than any of my other dogs, she was my heart dog. I always joke around – kind 0f… – saying that pups should come with a label: “they will fill you life with joy but one day will break your heart.” I am just not sure how many times a heart can be broken.
Lola it was ten years of my life. Lola it was a very hectic beginning when she was a pup, and had no manners. I always crated my dogs, except Pouch (don’t even ask about the name, please!), my Golden retriever who was claustrophobic, but crating Lola, was like crating Niagara Falls. So, yes, Lola and I had a very rocky start. I never had a lab pup before. Had rescued labs and other breeds but never a lab pup, and Gosh she was handful. I even fired a trainer who told me my dog was hopeless and had ADD. She was four months old for God sake! But I did fired her (not Lola, the trainer!), and it felt good because she hated Lola, and I could feel it with every pore of my skin.
Lola, it was all about making me happy and proud of herself. She mastered in no time the sit, stay position, and was always looking at me with her big eyes like “I want to make you happy and proud of me….” And she did. She was the only dog I could always trust without a leash, and no, I would never ever have said to anyone coming with another dog “My dog is nice and just wants to play!” because she never ever did anything I did not agree to. I was in control all the time, leashed or unleashed. She loved the water like no any other dog. When she was a few months old, her mission in life was to retrieve every leaf from the C&O Canal, and it was Fall time, so the mission was a hard one. No matter how much she loved the water, if I said no, she never ever went without my approval. Lola, I just had to look at her, and she knew without a word. She knew. If we were going to go for a ride, or to sneak out just the two of us, she always knew.
The pools I built them thinking about her. I thought she was going to have a blast until she dropped dead…. but she dropped dead two months after I opened the pools, and that sure was not in the plan.
She had cancer, kind of a bi-polar cancer… so one day, I was all smile, and the next day, I was all tears. The three weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer – I can’t tell you which one, because I never knew – the only thing I knew was that it was a freaking roller coaster cancer. One day, she was going to be okay if we remove a lobe of her lungs, the next day she had cancer in her liver and spleen. The next day, it would be okay if she had lymphoma and everything will go away with chemo (I knew it was true because I have my sweet Maia fighting lymphoma right now) and then it was not lymphoma.
She faded so fast, and I just could not stand the idea of her being in pain. Yes, my philosophy is that it’s better to let them go a week too early than 5 minutes too late. Easy to say, but I owed her that part. We might not do it with humans but I will do it with my dogs any day because that’s how much I love them and respect them. I will deal with myself later. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I am doing right now. Dealing with myself. I had to get that post out of my system. My brain won’t be able to think about anything else until I write about my long goodbye.
That morning, she was next to me in my bed, looking at me with her big eyes when I woke up, and immediately I knew why I was so sad. Today was the day where I was going to lose her. She did not know that, and dogs are not afraid of death. I was just alone with my dog’s death, no matter the crowd, no matter anything. It was between her and me.
Monday is my day off, so I tried to do my errands as I always do. It was a hot day. And I just arrived at Target, and then stopped and thought “what am I doing here when my dog is going to be dead in 8 hours?” So, I left, I rushed back to her, and I found her in my office with tired eyes.
I spent a lot of time lying on the floor with her that day. I wanted to remember forever the softness of her ears. Even with closed eyes, I could recognize her just by touching her ears. I talked to her a lot that day. She listened. I did not cry. Crying would be for later, like now. I reminded her of our crazy nights. Lola was tennis balls obsessed and some times, in the middle of the night, she was waking me up with her ball in her mouth and looking at me like “can we go play?”, and yes sometimes we did. With a flash light and the moon as a witness we played ball in the backyard. Lola= tennis balls + swimming.
She was too tired to play on June 27th but she put that tennis ball under her chin like she wanted to keep it forever.
June 27th was a very long day and so short at the same time. I was looking at the clock which sometimes was like rushing through the hours, and sometimes slowing down and making the time stay still.
When 6:30 pm came, my daughters were there. My vet arrived. Gosh, she loved my vet. He told me later than Lola’s eyes when she saw him was a moment he will remember for the rest of his life.
She left…. And it’s at that time that I realized the immensity of my loss. I will not dare removing the nose art on my truck window. She came back in a box, and the only place which made sense was in my bedroom, on my dresser, because even if I am asleep, that’s where I spent the most time in the house these days. And yes, every morning, when I wake up, it takes me a few seconds to realize why I am so sad: I had just lost my heart dog: LOLA.