I lost my best and most loyal friend this morning, and there is a hole in my life that will take a long while to fill.
Nellie died at about 9:50 am, on her favorite bed in my office.
It was a good thing, really. I had scheduled to have her put down a mere thirty minutes later, as it had become obvious her organs were shutting down due to end-stage liver disease. It was good, I think, that she died in familiar surroundings, with familiar sounds and smells until the last.
She had been diagnosed just three weeks ago, put on a course of “supportive” meds, and given three to six months to live. The end was sudden and unexpected. Until she stopped eating barely thirty-six hours earlier, there had been no sign that the end was so near. Just yesterday she eagerly joined me for a ride in the car as I ran some errands. When the sun rose this morning however,she was unable to even stand, and so I had called the vet and made arrangements. Thankfully they were not necessary.
Nellie was good to and for me. Unwilling to endure separations of more than a few minutes she followed me from room to room and dashed to the door at the slightest sign I was preparing to leave. A couple of times a day, indoors or out, she would assume a play bow, tail wagging, and commence to chase me until, generally after only a dozen steps or so she caught me; then rolled over on her back in anticipation of her celebratory belly rub.
On the one occasion a few years ago that the flu laid me up for a few days, the only times she left her station on the floor beside my bed was to join me on it. When I was away undergoing cancer treatment in California, she became depressed and sullen during the week, only to erupt in joy and play when I came home on the weekends.
I’ve had a half-dozen dogs in my lifetime, but Nellie was special beyond words. Feisty and tough, it took months to earn her trust but, once earned, no amount of gruffness on my part could stop her tail from wagging or dissuade her from being near.
Goodbye faithful old friend. I will grieve for you until the day that I die.