Saying good-bye to a friend

Hi, all. Deb here. Sorry for the big gap in posts, but the Wine, Women and Words members and I have been busy working on Char’s book. Its title is: FINDING THEIR SON (coming in September). Between the holidays, revisions, promotions for DADDY BY SURPRISE and a wide range of family things going on, my poor brain just said “No” to blogging…or any other creative endeavor. In fact, it took the death of a friend to bring me out of my self-imposed cave.

One widely accepted rule in romance writing is: never kill the dog. If you’ve ever loved a pet and had to put that pet down, you can understand why the topic generates strong feelings.

Yesterday, we lost our dear dog, Lily.  She was in the prime of her life, which makes her death that much harder to accept. Until about a month ago she was fit, extremely active, a little neurotic and at times (such as when the UPS truck arrived) annoying as hell. But she was also sweet, shy, devoted to our older dog, Sydney, and at times (such as when the dinner bell rang or the jingle of the leashes sounded indicating it was time for a walk) loving and attentive.

Her death has left a smattering of holes, small and large, in the fabric of our lives. I looked out the window by my desk this morning, certain I’d see her glossy black coat shining against the brilliant green carpet of grass. She faithfully kept a lookout toward the creek lest small animals gathered for something nefarious. Had they actually attacked, she would have run as fast as possible in the opposite direction, but who can blame her for not being more confident? Her earliest days were probably uncertain at best. She might have overheard talk of destroying the unwanted litter. We know for certain the people whose mixed-breed female gave birth to Lily and her siblings were quick to dispose of the entire litter at the SPCA at a very young age. Lily had every right to feel insecure. She never completely trusted the fact that she would get another meal. You could tell by the way she wolfed her food and constantly went scrounging for more. That habit was her downfall. When she started putting on weight, we assumed she was foraging in the compost pile. We jokingly teased that she had an eating disorder—she binged but never purged.

What we didn’t realize until it was too late (actually, the vet said it was probably always too late) was she had a cancer growing in her belly, sucking up the nourishment of every meal, feeding its constantly expanding mass. He advised against surgery. He felt the invasive procedure would most probably only extend her very compromised life a short while longer and would leave her traumatized to boot. The human who loved Lily most was with her at the end. They said their good-byes. The rest of us, who were home waiting in utter and complete denial, are still suffering from empty leash syndrome.

If this were a romance novel, I’d most certainly have found a way to save the dog. Instead, I cried. I still tear up looking out the window and not seeing my pretty black dog sunning herself while pretending to guard us.

Now, do you see why I write romance novels?


One Reply to “Saying good-bye to a friend”

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