We had a dog and her name was Abby.
She was a very special dog. Oh I know, everyone has very special dogs, but this dog was a force of nature.
Abby was rescued from a lab in Tennessee by the Beagle Freedom Project. I won’t go into the ins and outs of animal testing here. Let’s just say it’s a cruel punishment and labs mostly use beagles and hounds for their docile personalities. Abby was around 12 years old when she was rescued in October 2014. 12 years in a cage is a long time. But she survived.
Abby went to foster care for two months before coming to me, December 4th, 2014. Although she was a sweet dog at heart, she was nervous, itchy, and only sort of housebroken. She was on steroids which made her crazy for food and somewhat aggressive. She went into heat within three weeks of arriving.
Abby and I started down a path of butting heads, almost to the point of thinking I just couldn’t keep her.
But in true Abby fashion, her skin cleared up, she got spayed, I was with her every single day all day (working at home and babysitting Abby) and suddenly out came this sweet dog who, just because, might, just might, do what you wanted her to do. Or not. But she was always sweet about it.
We got up with her at least 3-5 nights a week, somewhere between 2 and 4 AM. She had to go. We cleaned up a million messes (we bought a carpet cleaner). We walked her, we babied her, we got mad at her, we forgave her. Sometimes within a space of a few hours.
When I think of Abby here, in our house with us, I see a picture of Abby standing still while we are all a blur, rushing all around to meet her needs.
We had a phrase we used around the house. Because Abby. Why did you put that there? Because Abby. Why is this gate here? Because Abby. Why is there a wet spot in the hall? Because Abby. We said it all. the. time.
She ate two socks and the arm off a monkey. Then she threw them up, intact, two weeks later.
She never ever barked for 8 months until we got a kitten. We didn’t think she had a bark. We got the kitten as a get well for Abby. Then she barked. At her kitten.
She loved to walk but spun around in circles, doing what we called the Crazy Ivan (made up by another BFP rescue owner). Sometimes she spun so many times her leash had to be unwound. But she loved her walk. We’d say, let’s take a walk so Abby has a better day. Because a walk for Abby was a good thing for us.
She was the hardest dog I ever had and the most unforgettable. She was a morning person of a dog, always got up in a good mood. She ran around the kitchen, she played in the yard. She learned to go up and down stairs and she wagged her tail when we came home.
At the end of the day I loved her up, gave her a good night cookie, and waited for her to wake me up at 3 AM so she could go outside. Because Abby.
Of course, everyone by now knows where this is going.
Abby started to get sick the beginning of August. She had a huge spleen and so had a spenectomy. The pathology was benign, and we thought this would fix her anemia and she’d get right back to peeing on the carpet.
And she did. She tried to play with Beta (which is a challenge because he usually just falls down), she wanted to walk, she ate her food. She barked at her get well kitten.
Then in week two she started to fall off. I took her stitches out and she was happy about that. But by the weekend she wasn’t eating and she was definitively not well.
We went back to the vet this past Wednesday where she was diagnosed with an agressive form of leukemia. Very very agressive. Like pretty good three weeks ago and terminal now. It did explain her chronic anemia. I think she probably had some sort of bone marrow neoplasia and in her usual fashion fought it off.
But this wasn’t a fight she could win.
I brought her home and she was weak and tired. Cody and Blane and Melanie came on Friday for the long weekend. Along with Good Kitten, and their two dogs. So that was something.
On Saturday Abby rallied and took a bone away from the big dog and carried it around all day long. She was swaying and stumbling but she chewed on that bone. Because Abby.
Sunday she didn’t know where she was, could barely walk, couldn’t get comfortable, and was in great distress. By that afternoon, when Cody was leaving to go to the cities, we left too.
We, me and Blane and Melanie took Abby to the vet in her bed and she was put to sleep. Up to the very end Abby didn’t go quietly. But she went with dignity.
(Cody is very special for babysitting Abby when we went out for a bit and for helping out with some doctorly advice. Blane and Melanie are very special for going to the vet at the end-there wasn’t a dry eye in the house)
At the end of the day, we went to bed and brought in Beta’s bed, and gave him a good night cookie. And he stood, looking at the door, and waited for Abby. He’s still looking around for something but I don’t think he’s quite sure what it is he’s missing. Just something.
And we wake up around three in the morning now.