Our eldest lab, Abbey, passed away last Saturday night. It was after 10pm, at the Emergency Vet, and D was the only one with her. 

Abbey had a touch of laryngeal paralysis. It was not curable, but somewhat treatable with anti-inflammatory medicines.  Our regular vet said that dogs could live with it until they couldn’t live with it anymore. I’m paraphrasing this, of course. We returned from vacation on Friday and stayed gone most of Saturday, back-to-school shopping and celebrating our 5 year “family-versary” with the B’s of Hillsborough. I regret that we didn’t come home sooner that night, maybe things would have been different. 

I’ll spare the details of what we walked into, but I only can guess she panicked for some reason and sent herself into an uncontrollable frenzy. When we did get home, she was lying in the floor of the foyer, slowly gasping for breath. The kids saw her, I couldn’t shield them fast enough…

It’s as visually shaking as you are imagining it. It kills me to think about. I never wanted my girl to go out like that. Daniel took her almost immediately to ER Vet, but by the time he got there, she was almost completely gone.

He made the next, best, humane decision…he let her go. Abbey moved from this world to the next sometime after 10pm. I explained it to the children the next morning, when they asked. I was glad he was there in her final moments. I was glad I got to say good-bye.

I have had five days to process her passing, her traipsing across the Rainbow Bridge, possibly Brady was there to greet her first. I can only imagine she saw him and tore after him-tackling him as she did when they were both living with us in the here and now. 

I take this crazy solace that they are overjoyed in reunion, a lot of missed time between the two. They were not from the same biological litter, but they were brother and sister in family.   

Abbey was D’s first dog post-college, our first dog together as a couple. We named her after the Beatle’s “Abbey Road” album, for no other reason than we both love The Beatle’s and that just seemed like the right thing to name her. She was a smart, sassy little pup that grew into a genius, sassy dog. Over 13 years, she’d been through it all with us. She and D started out as a duo in our tiny apartment in Durham. Then I graduated from college, moved home and lived with him and her much to her chagrin until we got married. (I guess you could say she was our “out of wedlock dog”) Shortly after we were married, we adopted “Wild Brady”. She was still learning to tolerate my presence, but Brady was just ridiculous. She lived through two moves, the adoptions of Big E and Lower Case E, the passing of Brady, the adoption of Fergus the Dog, and survived four months of her own medical condition. 

She was AKC, a pedigree hunting dog. Due to her white markings, the sellers couldn’t “get full price” for her. It was their loss, though. She was as smart as a whip and hunted her own fair share of creatures. One time she brought me a squirrel when we lived at 611. It was early in the morning, I didn’t have my glasses or contacts and I saw a blurry mass hanging from her mouth. I screamed and shrieked until D showed up to take care of the situation.

She loved to swim in the lake and was excellent on the leash unless Brady was beside her. Then she would act like she had zero manners as he didn’t. When she was a puppy, she would get the “puppy crazies” and tear around our apartment and fly onto the couch and rest. As.though.she.had.never.moved.

In her older days, she would go out every night promptly at 10pm (even coming to find us and “stomp” her paws when it was time) and once she came back in, she’d hang out until 10:30pm and go back to our room to “get in bed” whether we were with her or not. 

She always acted like we never loved on her when people came by the house. She also acted like we never fed her. She would go ballistic lab-wild.  That’s another funny story. When she saw you put something “special” (medicine, a dash of wet food, tomato) in her bowl she wouldn’t eat the next night until the treat was delivered to her bowl again. I would have to quit cold turkey and just stand over her until she ate. It was easier when she took her medicine, she had to eat it with food. 

I know there are more funny, quirky things she did, but those stand out most. I know, too, that they are only funny to me and D and that’s okay. 

I miss her so much. I miss the softness of her ears and clickety-clickety of her claws on the wood floors. I miss the big sigh at the end of the day and the way she “smiled” when ran to you. (People thought she was going to nip, but apparently some dogs bare a little bit of their teeth when their excited?) I also miss her “really?” look. She actually had quite a range of “faces”, but that was my favorite. If she was watching you do something that she didn’t “get” (like why do kids voluntarily get in the bath tub, I’m sure there’s a lake they could get in instead.) her ears perked a little and one eyebrow would raise a little. I wish I had a picture of that. If I didn’t throw a piece of popcorn her way, she made that face. (“Really, you’re gonna eat all of it?”) 

Her blood work and overall health was impeccable for a 13 year old lab. The medicine made her gain a little, but she was always a sleek, trim lab who loved when D clipped her claws (pedi time!)

Even though we were a houseful, she was very conscious of where we all were. She liked to be in Big E’s room during story time and she would check on Lower Case E in the morning. She was never far from D and knew she could sleep on my side of the bed with little fuss when she used to sleep on our bed. 

She taught Fergus well over the last six months. He’s been a little confused and more clingy since Saturday; even sleeping in our room for most of the night. I think last night he stayed with us the entire night. Now he’s being more conscious of where we all are. 

Like I said, she taught him well. 

Goodnight, sweet Abbeygirl, I love you. We all do.

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I’ve been so absent from this blog that when I logged in, they’d changed stuff around! Yuck! I don’t want to re-learn anything now! I’m 35. I’m old. 

 

Just kidding. But I am crotchety tonight. I think the Dowager Countess would be pleased. 

Rather than update my shrunken readership with all that has happened in the past six months since Brady boy’s passing-I’ll sum up 2012 like this. 

As far as life’s journeys go, it was one hell of one. Ups, downs, and in-betweens. Dealt with more than I care to share on many different levels. 

2013 is already looking good though. The family is healthy, Abbey is still my grumpy lab, we have a roof over our heads and food to eat. My “resolution” was to paint my fingernails more in an effort to take time for myself. So far, so good. My other resolutions include:

finish my book, blog more, finish one yearbook for our family pics, lose another twenty pounds, and make jewelry/craftsy stuff. See the theme? My creative/artistic side needs to get out. Oh and the skinny girl from 1995. Even if she came out as a slightly curvier lady-I would be happy. I’m ready to make some stuff happen. 

Hang with me as I retool the blog, I promise it’ll be decent! 

It’s 2013! We can do this!

(4 minutes until Downton!) Have a great night!