About 12 years ago, our family was looking into adopting a dog. We had previously lived with Golden Retrievers and loved the breed, so we thought we’d try to find one, and while we wanted a puppy, we also wanted to adopt a rescue dog from a shelter. I spent a lot of time online looking for the perfect Golden Retriever for us, browsing all the Golden Retriever Rescue organization pages.
One day, it was a Wednesday I think, I found a picture of this puppy waiting to be adopted. She was about 5 months old. She was in a high kill shelter – the listing said she only had seven days to be adopted. She wasn’t a Golden Retriever. But something about this puppy made me stop and look over and over again. I didn’t see my husband that night to show him the picture of the dog, so it wasn’t until Thursday night that I had a chance to have him look and see if he thought she might make a good addition to our family. He agreed I could call and get more information.
First thing in the morning on Friday, I called to talk to someone about possibly meeting the puppy to see if she’d be a good match for us. I was asked to hold the line while the person on the other end gathered information. I was then told that the dog was at a high kill shelter out of state, and that her seven days was up. She said she’d call me back. We waited for what seemed like forever for that return call. When the phone finally rang, all the children gathered to hear what news it would bring. As it turns out, the rescue organization here in Maine had called their sister organization out of state, who called the shelter where the puppy was located. They were just about to take her in to be euthanized. We were just in time.
We then learned that she was in Louisiana and would be transported to us and it was only a short few days later that I drove to the pick up location to meet our new puppy. She was small and scared and melted into my arms. I put her in the back seat of the car for the 2 hour drive home and she whimpered until I was able to pull over and move her into the front passenger seat next to me, where she curled up contentedly and fell asleep. When I arrived home, the first person she saw was Zach, who was 5 at the time. She followed him everywhere, obviously quite excited to have been given her own boy. We named her Abby.
Abby spent the next 12 years following us from Maine to Texas and back to Maine again. She watched over me through three pregnancies and births, so very protective that we had to lock her in another room when I was in labor because she wouldn’t let anyone come near me. She was wary of strangers and chased off more than one delivery driver. She loved walking in the woods with us, wandering around to chase smells and creatures, but always checking back with us to make sure we were still okay.
About a month ago, Abby was definitely not feeling well. I made an appointment with our veterinarian who ran some tests and found that Abby was positive for Lyme Disease. He thought all her symptoms could be explained by that, so we began a series of antibiotics and she seemed to be improving. When Abby suddenly turned for the worse, we took her to an overnight/over weekend emergency vet who found she had extremely low blood sugar. Over the course of the next few days, we found out that Abby had a pancreatic tumor that had spread to her lymph nodes. We brought her home for comfort care (I think the comfort care was as much for us as for Abby). We only had a couple of days with her when she again turned for the worse and we had to make the difficult decision to let her go.
I wish we had more time together. I wish my children didn’t have to deal with hard things like losing a beloved pet. I wish I could have made her better. But we gave her twelve years. Twelve years of love and joy and companionship she never would have had. And she gave us twelve years of love and joy and companionship that only she was able to provide. Rest in peace, sweet girl.