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203342 tn?1328737207

Willow

I can't believe it will be one year ago tomorrow that I lost my dog, Willow. I lost him the night before my birthday, April 22, 2009, which made for a pretty lousy birthday the next day as I was crying most of the day.
Willow, my little Maltese mix, was 13 years old and had been diagnosed with Cushings disease two years prior. At first, he did really well, so well it was easy to pretend he didn't really have this terrible disease. He still was eating, drinking, acting fine, being loveable. He started to show little signs, like wanting to eat more. He showed his age a little but it wasn't too bad for a little dog who was as old as him. Sometimes he was stiff and struggled to go up and down stairs and I had to carry him. But he still acted fine.
He was so devoted to me. It's funny, we got him  at the Humane Society when he was about 4 years old. I was looking for a dog for my kids but he fast became my dog. I picked him out because he just looked so pitiful and sad. He had been in a dog fight and looked terrible with stitches in his back side and shaved hair. I always did go for the underdog and when I found out they'd be putting him down soon and I looked into those big, liquid brown eyes, I knew I had to have him. I didn't think anyone else would choose him the way he looked! I found out the dog fight wasn't his fault. He had been adopted out once before and the previous owner had a bigger dog who didn't like him and attacked him. They brought him back to the pound. The people there told me since he had been in a dog fight, even though it wasn't his fault, he'd probably be put down soon. I brought him home that day.
He was so timid at first and would cringe when you'd bend down to pet him. I wondered if he had been hit. He quickly took to me but also displayed some fear biting or nipping at people's ankles whom he didn't know, though he didn't break the skin. I wondered if I'd be able to keep him. I took him to a trainer and he felt confident that once Willow grew comfortable with us the fear nipping would stop. It took about a year of some tender loving care but he did relax and stopped the nipping and quickly became completely devoted to me. Sometimes I thought a little too devoted! He'd follow me everywhere, even laying outside the bathroom when I'd go in. Sometimes I grew impatient with him, especially because he barked at just about everything. What did that matter? I wish I could have known how long he'd have. Maybe I would have spent longer just holding and petting him.
When he did start to go downhill it went so fast. He started having accidents around the house, something he never did before. He stopped eating his dry food so I got him wet food. At first he loved that but then stopped eating all together no matter how I tried to coax him to eat. This all happened within the week he died. I just didn't expect it to happen so fast. I knew I had to prepare myself, knowing he had a disease that would eventually kill him, but I was in denial. I wasn't ready. He quickly lost weight, lost interest in eating or even drinking water. He started just laying around the day before he died. Then the day he died he lost control of his bowels and had blood. I knew that wasn't good. So in tears, I cleaned him up, wrapped him in a baby blanket and took him to the vet to have him put to sleep. I didn't want him to suffer. He laid quietly in the car, which was unusual for him. He usually got nervous about going to the vet but he was very quiet. They asked if I wanted to stay and I said yes. I held him as they gave him the medicine and he gently slipped away. I was grateful that I was there and saw that it wasn't terrible but he looked so little, like a little child laying there. I stroked his silky hair and cried. I left him, still wrapped in the baby blanket and cried all the way home.
It all happened too fast. I wasn't ready to let him go. He was such a devoted dog. I can't believe it's been a year already. I'm crying again just thinking about this. I know tomorrow will be hard.  I wish Willow was still here. Rest in peace, Willow. You were such a good and faithful dog. God bless you, my friend.
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Avatar universal
I want to wish you a happy, blessed birthday today and Willow was sent to you as a little gift. It was meant to be that you both found each other and were together. You gave him what he gave you "unconditional love". I always say, that God utilized the vet doctor and you to make the most humane act of love and not prolong Willow's suffering. It was an act of love.

The first year anniversary, birthday, etc, is sooo difficult. Also, find comfort in knowing that you became Willows world. My Toby use to follow me like my shadow and he was so spoiled. He was a big boy 135 pds of pure love. He thought he was a little human boy!

Also, with little Willow, it was a different change from where he came from and who knows he might have been abused and the thought of a bigger dog attacking him is unsettling.  Willow is in peace and I'm sure God has a very special place for our little ones too!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful picture. How cute that he was comfortable in his own little red chair and rest easy, it's going to be alright, one day at a time. Hugs, Judy
Helpful - 0
203342 tn?1328737207
Thank you, Judy. Actually it's today, April 22,  that Willow died last year. Tomorrow is my birthday. He died the evening before my birthday. I probably didn't word that too well. I still can't believe it's been a year already.

He turned out to be a wonderful dog. I hope that encourages people to look for pets at the pound and to be patient with them and not give up too soon if they have a few bad habits, etc. I believe with a little TLC any dog can be a good dog. And there's so many who need homes. It breaks my heart. I wish  I could save them all.

I know my next one to go will be my cat as she's a year younger than Willow. She's getting up there in age. I got her at the pound, too, and she's been the best cat I could ever ask for.
I guess all we can do is enjoy them for the short time we have them here on this earth.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Oh, dear, my apology for the misunderstanding on my part and it must be so difficult for you to celebrate your birthday when you loss your furbaby last year. It also take a special person to open their heart and home to a pet, so you were such a blessing to these beautiful furbabies.

                        "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
                                                               Matthew 5:5

I will say a very special prayer for your boy Willow and healing of your heart. Hugs, Judy

Helpful - 0
82861 tn?1333453911
Your experience with Willow was almost identical to mine with Chica and kidney failure.  You know it's coming, but not when, and the changes are so gradual it's hard to tell when it's time to say goodbye.  Mentally, Chica never gave it up.  Even on the last day when we sedated her at home.  The last two days she held on through sheer determination.  Much like your Willow, I knew it was time when Chica fell down in her own mess.  She was just so physically weak by then, but God bless her, she still insisted on going outside for bathroom duties.  My husband and I stayed by her side through the end and cried all the way home as well.

I agree the first anniversary is the worst with any death - be it a beloved pet or human.  For me, that entire year after a death is packed with one-day, one-week, and one-month anniversaries that shred my heart.  Once the big one-year anniversary passes, I can finally look back at only the good and let the pain of the loss go.  I'm going through that process now after losing my mother on March 26.  How I wish this year was over already but it's a process none of us can escape.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday and can now enjoy all of the good things about your life with Willow.  After all, it WAS mostly good, yes?  :-)
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