Like many of you, our family includes several furries. In our time as a family we have adopted several dogs, and pre-Mike I had adopted cats. Mike is allergic to cats so after our last kitty passed away 12 years ago we stuck with dogs. We have also fostered over 50 dogs for various organizations.
Almost every dog we have adopted has been a senior. Three have been young: Miguel who we found along the highway at eight weeks old; Nadia who we adopted at two years old; and of course Monti who was a “foster fail” and was under a year old when he joined our family. The rest are seniors, which means we may not get a lot of time with them.
We adopted Lily almost three years ago when she was nine. We first met her at the Pasadena Humane Society, and decided not to adopt her as she was recovering from being ill, her ears were stuffed with meds, and we had just cared for two of our dogs who had passed away a couple of months earlier. We were good with adopting a senior dog, but one that was relatively healthy.
The next weekend we saw that there was an adoption event at the local PetSmart. Looking around we both noticed a dog that looked very familiar. It was Lily! No more stuff in her ears and she looked great. The rest is history. Later that day she was home. We were so lucky to have found her.
Soon after that Lily was diagnosed with cancer. She beat it after six months of treatments. She also had ongoing skin conditions (plural) and had several surgeries to remove growths.
Through all of that she loved. She loved on us and our friends all of the time. Pure love. If you were visiting us, and open to it, Lily would be on your lap. She loved people. And I could feel the love she had for us.
This past Saturday, out of the blue, Lily got very sick. We didn’t know that the tumor we had just found out about had begun to bleed, perhaps it even burst. She was in pain but had lost all energy. She just went to our bed (and her bed) and laid down. Later that afternoon we were at the emergency vet and before I knew it we were driving home with out her.
Many of you know the awful, devastating pain that I am feeling right now. That’s really why I decided to write this post. Lily’s presence was strong. You just knew she was in the house because she always wanted to love on you or get love from you. She was always next to one of us.
One of the coolest things she did was whenever you made eye contact she would pat both front feet. It was her way of communicating that she wanted you to pet her. Indeed the result was that she would get pet.
As you pet her and loved on her she would make a sound that was similar to a growl. She wasn’t angry, she was actually loving it. And the sound she would make was just priceless.
I already miss her presence, as you can imagine.
I’ll finish this post up by letting you all know that I am totally grateful for meeting Lily, for every minute we had. She added a whole ton of love to our lives, and through that was a teacher in a way. Of course at the emergency vet I was telling the vet that I wanted more time, and the time I did have with her changed me.
We often see the phrase “Adopt don’t shop”. We also know that so many senior animals need a loving home. They’re in your local shelter, maybe cowering in the back corner of the cage. Some of them had been on a loved ones lap just the week before. All these senior dogs really need is love and a couch. Check them out next time you’re considering a new family member. You won’t regret it.
As the news of Lily’s death made its rounds, we got a lot of love and empathy from friends and family. Thank you for that. It does help, even though at this moment it doesn’t ease the pain.
To all of you who know this awful pain.
Thanks for reading.