I got the sad news late last night that you had to be euthanized. I was totally unprepared for that. I didn’t realize that you were sick. They said that it was due to liver failure. You know, Sweetie, I vaguely remember your mom telling me that was a health issue they were keeping an eye on, but it completely slipped my mind. You always appeared so vibrant and energetic. I would never have guessed that you were sick.
Then, there was your recent annual check-up and the vet said that you were very healthy…..especially for your 15 years of age. It appeared that you were going to outlive us all. I guess God had other plans. He needed a feisty, little Westie with him in heaven.
I have been trying to think how long I have known you. It has been awhile. I remember going to visit your mom. You and your brother, Max, would come to greet me at the door. You were so overbearing to poor, sweet, gentle Max. I think you might have been a tad jealous because, heaven forbid, anyone show the least little interest in Max. You were all over him until he would run off. Shame on you, Lizzie! There was enough love to go around for the both of you!
You started your life with the Cohens with their two other Westies, Katie and Max. Sadly, I don’t remember Katie very well. From what I understand, she was the alpha dog and when she passed on, you took over the role. Max has been gone for at least a couple of years and you have been the “only child.” Knowing what I know of you now, I think that you would have been better off being the “only child” for your whole life. Oh well, you had a couple of great years and you owned the “only child” status well.
Gosh, has it only been a little over a year that we really bonded? Thankfully, it seems much, much longer. Your mom was sick and needed someone to watch you for a while. I was home and able to help her. I was nervous about having you because I just remembered how overbearing you were towards Max.
When I picked you up at Pam’s, where you had been staying, you looked a little shell-shocked and justifiably so. You had spent 2 weeks at Willow Run Kennel because your mom didn’t know quite what was wrong and how long she would be down for.
When the diagnosis came it, she realized that she needed help with you. Her friend, Pam, offered to take you for a week but then, she was leaving to spend the rest of the winter in the South. The family needed a more permanent solution and fortunately, I was able to step in and help.
It was a Saturday morning when I picked you up in Augusta, ME. I took you to see your mom, in Hallowell, before taking you back to my home in Cape Elizabeth. You were so happy to see her. You danced and turned circles of joy. It made absolutely no sense to you when it was time for me to leave, that you had to go with me. Bless your heart…you just didn’t understand.
The first night, I remember your sweet little face just looking up at me for answers. “What is going on and why am I here with you?” your little look seemed to ask. I tried the best that I could to explain but I don’t think you understood very well.
Later, it seemed that you started to trust me as you fell asleep next to me on the sofa. By the way, it was my brand, new sofa and you had no qualms settling in on it. Little did I realize that you were not allowed on the sofa at home….you little devil, you!
The next morning, Sunday, I went to church to the chapel service. I remember that I put you in the bathroom with your bed in case you might have an accident. The tile floor was easier to clean than my wooden floors. You did well.
The following Tuesday night was Christmas Eve. I really wanted to go the Christmas Eve church service but didn’t want to leave you alone for that amount of time. You had already been through so much and now, you were adjusting to a totally new environment. I feared that it was just too much for you. I had asked for prayers for your mom and you at Sunday’s service and expressed my concern about leaving you while at the Christmas Eve service. Do you remember? My minister, Pastor Ruth said to bring you along! She said that they had critters in Bethlehem, didn’t they?
With a little trepidation, I put a green bow on you and off we went to the Christmas Eve church service. We sat in the back in case I needed to take you out quickly. Bless your heart, you were amazing. I think that you even slept through part of the service.
Do you also remember, I tried to take you to another service but you were more comfortable with your surroundings and the second time, we didn’t fare as well? That was all right, though, you were perfect when it mattered the most!
Do you remember the first time we went for the walk on the beach? I don’t know what I was thinking but I didn’t realize it was high tide and there was no beach to walk on. You were a trooper, though. You walked right along, in the snow, like you did it on a daily basis.
My dad loved to have you come visit. You would keep him entertained for hours. He is going to miss you greatly, Lizzie.
Most of the time we spent together, it was just the two of us. Every once in a while, David, my husband would join us. He loves you very much, too. You knew that because he would tolerate you sleeping on the bed between us!!!
He loved going on walks with you at the beach……
and how you made yourself at home in our house. You got away with so much more than any toddler would have gotten away with in my home! Sleeping on my brand new furniture in the living room and the “princess room!”
I remember last fall when you were visiting me. It was on a Saturday and the weather was unseasonably warm. My mom was visiting, too and we decided to take you to the park. We were wandering around. You were sniffing everything in sight and all of a sudden, you let out a little yelp, hopped up and held up your paw.
I thought a bee had stung you but upon closer inspection, blood was dripping from your paw. I became unglued, picked you up and raced for the car to get you to the vets. Mom and I looked around the area, where you had been, to see if there was broken glass but couldn’t see anything. Oh, thank goodness for my mom! On the way to the vets, I tried to call your mom to let her know that you had been hurt and I just burst into tears! You had gotten hurt on my watch and I felt so very, very bad. Your mom and my mom, although very concerned for you, had a chuckle over me!
You hadn’t cut your paw but somehow, you had caught your toenail and torn it. That must have hurt but you were one brave little doggie. When I saw you again, you had the cutest pink bandage with a little turquoise heart on it. It matched your precious personality, Lizzie! Thankfully, you healed just fine and was up and about in 3 days.
Last November was the last time I saw you at your mom’s house. I am so glad that your sister, Meredith, took these photos of us. In a weeks time, I am going to be back in the states. I was so looking forward to having you visit me for the six weeks that I am going to be home.
While over here in South Africa, I have been working on a children’s book about you. The theme is “good comes from bad.” The bad/sad was that your mom has been sick but the good that came from it is that I got to spend such valuable and precious time with you, Sweet Lizzie. I am not quite certain what the “good from this sad/bad” is yet but I know that there is a lesson there for me. I am waiting patiently to learn it.
I just cannot believe that you are gone. I cannot imagine what it will be like the first time I walk into your home and not have you come racing at full-speed to greet me. My heart will break a little more. I will miss sharing my carrots and apples with you. I will miss your cuddles. I will miss your visits. I will miss how your antics made me smile every hour of everyday. My life is so much richer having had you in it and I count the days until I see you again at the Rainbow Bridge.
With much love,
Your other “mom”