Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FAREWELL OLD FRIEND

It’s with a heavy heart that I post this morning for we have had a devastating loss here in our family. Yesterday afternoon we said farewell to our Lizzie. Lizzie’s health had progressively gotten worse this year. She was on a daily medication for hypothyroidism, had arthritis, was deaf, and had very recently lost her eye sight. She was disoriented and didn't even know you were in the room with her unless you touched her. She began walking into walls, doors, tables, etc.She couldn't make it down the three steps to our back yard without falling and then she couldn't see to get up them. Over the last week, my husband and I had to carry her in and out. Her kidneys were also beginning to fail. Her appetite was sporadic and she was coughing a great deal. The Vet reassured that we had made the right decision but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.

Lizzie was 14 years old and we had 8 wonderful years with her. We adopted her from a local Shetland Sheep Dog Rescue group and that was the best decision we ever made. She had been in a previous home and surrendered, we were told, because the family preferred to have a Dalmatian over Lizzie. Though I’ll never understand that reasoning, it was truly their loss and our blessing. One thing that we can proudly boast about our old girl is that she was a true heroine. Lizzie actually saved a man’s life about six years ago. It was the coldest night of the year, a bitter icy February Saturday night. Our pipes in the house had frozen in the kitchen, like they have been prone to do, and John was thawing them out around 11:00PM at night. Both our girls, Anastasia and Lizzie, were out for their nightly constitutional when we heard Lizzie frantically growling and barking. This got our attention as well as our immediate neighbor’s. We knew Lizzie didn’t normally behave like that and that something was terribly wrong. As we opened the door, our neighbor was standing on her deck looking down over our fence. She told us that there was someone lying face down in our yard at the garden gate. Lizzie was over top of this person nearly on point, franticly barking and showing her teeth through her growls. The person, we later discovered from the police, was a local man, known around town bars, with a serious substance abuse problem. We figured out that he had evidently fumbled through the back yards and decks in our neighborhood, fell over our fence, and passed out in the snow. What the EMT and Police officers stressed to us, as they carried him out on a stretcher, was that because of Lizzie alerting us his life was saved and had he been outside for another hour he would have certainly frozen to death. I hope when he regained conscientiousness in his hospital room that someone told him that he owed his life to a Shetland Sheepdog.

Although we’ve been down this road before with Anastasia, Sasha, and Magic (the cat we lost last year), it was particularly agonizing to lose Lizzie. We’ll never forget her gentle spirit and loyal dedication. Our comfort is that she’s gone to the Rainbow Bridge to meet our other cherished family members (they’re so much more than pets) ,and that St. Francis has them all gathered around him, keeping a watchful eye over all the creatures he loves so much. Rest in Peace, sweet Lizzie; our lives are so much richer because of you...

11 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

My heart breaks for you. Having experienced this same pain before, I can honestly say that there is nothing harder in life. I pray you will take comfort in the fact that you gave your Lizzie a happy and safe life, and you were there for her at the end when she needed your wisdom. I shall indeed hug Edward and Apple for you today, and you will be in my thoughts and my prayers.

Rebecca said...

Pamela, thank you for your kind words and prayers. They are very appreciated. I knew that you of all people could relate to this. Tara's been giving great hugs and kisses today. What a comforter she is! She misses Lizzie, too.

Betsy said...

I'm so sorry! Everyone who has ever lost a pet knows exactly what you are feeling. It's so much harder than you ever thought possible before you had a pet! I love the stories you shared here...she was truly a remarkable dog! :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks Betsy. I sure couldn't imagine life without dogs(or any pets for that matter). She really was the best.

ChaChaneen said...

Aw my sweet friend, so sorry to read about Lizzie. You hung in there with her longer than most people would have, blessings to you.

Charm and Grace said...

So sorry for your loss. Pets are dear as friends, and one as special as this one is sure to be missed. Thank you for sharing her story with us.

Blessings,
Christi

Charm and Grace said...

Oh, and (this is a bit trivial but...) thank you for having your blog set up where your comments pop-up in a window... becuase it allows me to listen to your beautiful music as I type my comments here. :) I am loving Clare de Lune... so soft and soothing as I type.

Love,
Christi

Valerie said...

I feel for you and can actually read your post without crying - so similar to my two older dogs.

I recently lost my both of my older dogs.

One, Silky (14), a puppy mill rescue, went blind and just as you say - she bumped into things and would walk around at night, get lost in the house. And Sprout, my other older dog (15) had arthritis and a lot of health problems.

We made the decision to put Silky to sleep and then Sprout (who had always been like the mother dog to Silky), the very next day, appeared to be fine and went into the house from the backyard and instantly died.

This was such a shock to lose both within a day.

I have other dogs but the older ones are so special and have been around us for so long - seems so different without them around.

You gave your wonderful Lizzie such a great life and what a wonderful memory and story about her saving a man's life!

They are just like children and we love them so much.

Rebecca said...

Thank you all for such thoughtful comments...We will always treasure Lizzie...She was such a special girl.

willow said...

I'm so sad to hear about your Lizzie. My thoughts go out to your and yours, Rebecca.

Natalie said...

Dear Rebecca,

Oh dear, I just read this and send you hugs. Lizzie was such a delight: I remember her sitting on my foot one cold afternoon. She was so cozy sweet!

She is in a good spot now, well and happy and I dearly hope, close to Anastasia. Perhaps she and my Zip Zip and Inkspot have curled up together: both loved to be curled next to those she loved.

Hugs,

Natalie in Kentucky