Last week, Dave and I had to put Lucky down. She lived a long, (beyond) happy life. And yet her loss has created a hole in my heart that I haven’t been able to recover from.
You see, you raised me to treat animals like family.
I kept that lesson close to me at first by adopting Bacon when I was still in college. After I graduated, I started volunteering at an animal rescue and there I met and adopted Hector. Through working with the organization and having a few vegetarian friends, I began to mostly eat vegetarian meals.
Don’t worry: Pot Roast will always be my favorite meal.
Lucky had been becoming less and less mobile these last few weeks. She slipped one too many times during the winter months and couldn’t recover fully. On her last days, we began hand feeding her since she couldn’t stand long enough to get a full meal on her own.
My hands would reek from her fish oil supplement serum, but I didn’t mind as long as her belly was full.
On her last day, I stayed home from work and cooked up half a pound of bacon to feed her throughout the day. I chilled the bacon grease and poured it over her kibble. She had no trouble licking her bowl clean as I angled it for her to access it easier.
With this maneuver, I saved myself from bacon-greased hands.
I laid down with Lucky in her final hours at our home, brushing her fur and wiping her down with her coat-freshening wipes. When Dave came home, we walked her through the field behind our building and let her off the leash. She had new-found strength as she skipped around in the grass.
Her happiness in that moment both broke and lifted my heart simultaneously.
In the car to the vet, Lucky found the energy to pull herself to the window and propped herself up. The demand to have her window rolled down was met with smiles and more of my tears. I remembered all the rides we took together over the years, Dave and me in the front and Lucky in the backseat with the windows rolled down.
This was Lucky’s last car ride.
Every moment of that day has replayed in my head on a loop.
The frying of bacon while Lucky patiently waited in her bed.
Lucky trotting through the grass as the sun began its descent.
Holding Lucky on the vet’s table as I sobbed and she snored into the great doggy beyond.
After all, all dogs go to heaven.
I can’t help but lean into my emotions the minute I’m alone. I’ve been stuck on the depression stage of grief, but have been teetering into acceptance. I can’t move to the final step just yet because I’ve truly lost a member of my family.
And it’s true because of you.
At least that is something I actually can accept right now.
And I can honestly thank you for that.