So, after an 8 month dry spell, I thought I would try to come back to blogging. I will not attempt to catch up on everything that has happened in that time, but I will give a couple of significant events every few days. Today I will start with Holly.
This spring we noticed that our 12 1/2 year old Lab, Holly was not doing so well. Her breathing was getting heavier and heavier to the point where we wondered if there was a tumor. But then she would have periods throughout the day where she was fine, and rested peacefully. We finally took her to the vet, because we wanted to see if there was an easy way to ease her breathing. Unfortunately the vet told us that she had something called Laryngal Paralysis that was causing her to have trouble breathing. There was really nothing they could do to help her, and they asked if we were ready to put her down that day. Ed and I just sat there in the room crying and holding Holly, and we decided we wanted to take her back home to see how she did. That week, the first in May was cool, and we didn't notice Holly having any trouble. Then on Tuesday, May 7, it was an unusually warm day. I noticed Holly's breathing becoming more labored throughout the day. That evening it got really bad, and when Ed came home at 8 she was gasping for every breath, vomitting because her sides were heaving so much, and it was clear that something had to be done. We looked at each other, and with tears in our eyes we decided to call the vet. They had hours until 10 pm, and it was around 9. I drove Holly and picked up our friend, and old neighbor, Lisa who had told me she would come. She loved Holly as much as we did, and Holly loved her too. We drove into Rau, and they took us back to a wonderful room, called The Comfort Room. It was set up like a living room with a couch and chairs and a rug on the floor. It was exactly what we needed to help us say good-bye to our sweet girl. Lisa held Holly as she fell after they gave her the muscle relaxant. I just kept holding her head, stroking her soft, soft ears and telling her what a good girl she was and how much I loved her. She slowly relaxed, and her breathing got more controlled. When they gave her the final shot, it was a couple of breaths and then Holly gave one final sigh in exhalation, and she was gone.
Leaving her in that room was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I felt like I was abandoning her, even though I knew she wasn't there anymore. When I got home, it was really hard. It took a long time for our family to heal from the loss. Even now, as I write this, tears run down my face remembering our sweet girl. There were nights when I was just holding all 3 kids as we sobbed, missing Holly. Ed and I reminisced together about all of the things that made her Holly. The way she would push herself between your legs, trying to squeeze herself as close as possible to say "hello", her innate knowledge of when it was a Sunday morning, the day she would visit Lisa, how she would sit at the door the minute we started piling up bags for a trip, determined not to be left behind. Her sweet, gentle ways with the kids, never barking or snapping, even when they put their hands in her mouth. And her wise, all knowing eyes that were so expressive and intelligent. I still deeply miss Holly, she was our first baby, and although she kind of fell into the background with the kids' arrivals, she never complained. She was a steadfast dog, and we are so blessed to have had her in our family. One day I hope we get another dog, and I think it will really help in the healing. But I will never forget our good girl.