When people talk about Black Friday, it’ll take a new connotation for me now. This is Andie, the world’s greatest dog. She died today, aged 16.
My family got her when she was one year old, from the pound, where she probably would have been put down in a matter of days. She lived for another 15 years, happy, and mostly healthy. She loved to lick faces, take walks in the middle of the night (when no one would yell at her for pooping on their lawn), bark at strangers, and make sure everyone in my house was well-protected. I can’t tell you how many times she kept me company when I was in pain or sick, making sure that I knew she had my back.
Things took a turn for the worse within the last week, when she largely stopped eating. I spent my Thanksgiving trying not to cry my eyes out over watching her personality disappear, replaced by a stumbling wreck who couldn’t even eat bacon. I wasn’t at all successful; it hurts to watch someone you love and who has given you so much over the years slip away. It hurts to know that you’re going to have to let them go, because there’s nothing but suffering left for them. It hurts, because I know that she was the dog that all other dogs will be measured against in my life. It hurts, because she’s always been a bedrock for me, even when things were at their absolute worst. I remember coming home from the hospital over and over a little over a year ago, while my mom fought a life-threatening blood clot, and she would be there for me, wondering why my mom and I had left, and I was the only one to come back home every day, for four agonizing days. I’d come home, exhausted and drained, and look her in the eyes, knowing there was no way to explain what was going on to a dog. The only option was to accept her love, and return it, and to remember and be thankful for it, always.
I’m proud my family was able to give her another 15 years of life, and that both my mom and I were there for her when it over. I hope I did well by her, but I know that I got more than I gave. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t feel like taking her for a walk, what I wouldn’t give to be able to take her around the block one more time and watch her sniff everything in sight. I wish she could understand how empty my house feels right now, so that she could understand just how much she was loved, and how much she will be missed.
Thank you, Andie-girl, for everything.