Remembering Daisy

 
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As I typed that title I still couldn’t believe I’m writing memories of a dog that should absolutely be here at my feet right now. She should be…

But she isn’t.

You’ve sent me heart emojis, condolences, and flowers. You’ve commiserated with my misery over losing my baby girl unexpectedly. And now it’s up to me to get used to the new normal.

An insurmountable task considering Daisy wasn’t a “normal” dog.

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We rescued her from a shelter in April 2008. Daisy was found in a blizzard during the month of March here in Ohio. She’d been in a cage awaiting a home for 30 days the day I saw her, and no one had come to claim her or was looking for her. They guessed her to be 1-3 years old.

When I asked if they were a no-kill shelter, the worker there sadly informed me that they did euthanize dogs, but “she’s just such a great dog, we kept pushing her off the list.”

It was a sign if we ever heard one. We took Daisy home that day.

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She was with us for nearly 11 years, and declined rapidly, and while we were away on a trip to Arizona. I was in constant contact with her loving vet and our dear friends who were caring for her. Deep in our hearts we believed in her ability to pull through what was supposed to be a simple surgery, but could’ve lead to a more complicated diagnosis.

Daisy didn’t want it that way.

Looking back now, I believe that she tried to pass after she knew we’d gone away. She saw the suitcases. She knew we weren’t going to be back for a little while. The vet and that surgery only prolonged what Daisy already knew: it was time for her to go.

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The problem with missing her now is that she was a huge part of my life. Woven into the minutes and hours I spent at home writing books and afterwards when a ride on the golf cart or the boat called our names. There weren’t many friends at the lake that hadn’t met her—she was our companion to parties, concerts, and walks by the water.

She dried my tears when her soft-sometimes-wiry fur whenever I had sad days. She stuck by my side through losses of all kinds. During this painful loss, though, my friend with the velvet-soft ears to cry on isn’t here to absorb my copious tears.

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The days have been long and lonely this week. I’ve cried many times out of nowhere and imagine I still will whenever I wish she was by my side, hogging the bed, or staring me down for a bite of whatever I’m eating. She sat between us on the couch while we watched TV, us on the reclining ends and her in the middle. Daisy was a large part of the reason we didn’t swap that old couch out for another. We’d talked about it before but then the argument of “But where would Daisy sit?” always arose.

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She was that much a part of our daily lives.

The pain I feel is an ache I pray goes away soon. There doesn’t seem to be any consolation for my best friend passing while I was miles and miles away from her. When I couldn’t hold her at the end.

She passed mere hours before I could get to her—in between our vet checking to assure she was okay, only to find that finally, she wasn’t.

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Like when you reach the end of a book and the ending isn’t what you wanted—I feel cheated. But my optimistic husband assures me that Daisy’s life ended the way it was supposed to. The way God intended—the way she intended. I’m slowly coming to terms with that. Whether I was here or not, whether I’d known sooner she was unwell or not, whether I’d flown home early or not… Daisy chose her time. She was sicker than any of us knew, and as a stoic little dog that never wanted me to hurt, she never would’ve put that burden on me.

But oh, to have one more day…

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Thank you, Daisy Doodle for being by my side, on my lap and in my arms for almost eleven years. You were the best companion, furry or otherwise, to join our family. Now that you’re gone, I promise to remember you with more smiles than tears, but please know it’ll take a while for me to stop crying. I promise to plant daisies in a colorful bed on top of where we buried you, and I promise when my heart heals, and if it’s the right time, to be open to bringing home another furry friend and loving him or her to the best of my ability.

Kiss your furbabies today. And if you’d like to say hello to them, or just leave their names in memoriam in the comments, please do.

Let’s heal together.

~Jessica