The last time I hung out with Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy in July and August, there was a full moon on one of the nights during my stay. It shone through the window in the master bedroom, and bathed a patch of floor with nifty moonlight. Ginger Puppy liked it so much she decided to sleep there (she also could catch the breeze coming through.) And it was so lovely I decided to join her on the floor with a pillow for a little while. Amy and Ginger Puppy, sleeping in a patch of moonlight. Which is where we stayed until Basil Diva Dog woke us both up with a start with his very loud knocking around trying to get out of his crate.
I visited Ginger Puppy on Sunday at the animal hospital. I had noticed that she wasn’t eating much during the last few days of my stay with her in August, and alerted her daddies Albert and Abbot that they may want to take her to get a check up. This was how we found out that she had what was eventually diagnosed as IMHA (immune mediated hemolytic anemia.)
How does this happen? How does my father go from a routine colonoscopy to Stage IV colon cancer in the space of a month? How does my favorite dogsitting client go from her loveable self to a softly trembling lump on a pink blanket in an exam room with a feeding tube up her nose and shaved patchy fur in the space of two months? She’s only seven and a half. Her aloof anti-snuggling brother is 14, poops every five minutes, has no idea where he is and he’s still here.
And alas, Ginger Puppy is not. I got the call today. I was the first person they called about it.
When her daddies invited me to come visit her on Sunday, I knew what was up. Though they said I was under no pressure, I knew that it would likely be the last time I would see her. All three of us took turns lying on her pink blanket with her in the exam room, angling our faces so she could see us without having to raise her head. We kissed her dry nose, we stroked her paws, we rubbed her ears. We got so excited when she drank a bowl of water. We cheered when we got a wag of a tail. We told her she was beautiful. We told her she was loved. We told her over and over again that she was loved, loved, loved so much.
I loved Ginger Puppy like she was my own. She was my favorite, not because she wasn’t any trouble (she didn’t eat my shoes, she didn’t snore to rattle the windows, she didn’t think she was a bird, she didn’t smell like pee) But because she was the very definition of love. She loved people. Other dogs, not so much. But people. PEOPLE! People were AWESOME!
She was a snugglemonster. How many nights were spent in the media room, with her resting again my leg while we watched movie after movie after movie? I always eschewed the leather chair with motorized footrest and cup holder so I could sit on the floor so she could be next to me, because she wasn’t allowed on the furniture.
How many mornings did I wake up and see her asleep on a towel next to the bed, so she could be right there when I woke up?
How many late nights did I jump in the hottub and drink and talk/screamed/wailed to God while she sat on the second step and patiently waited for me to come out?
How many times did I write in the office while she sat on my toes?
The Ginger Puppy post over in the Hall of Fame section has gone around the world and then some. It’s by far the most popular post on this blog. This entry continued her saga, so if I’m a writer, if I’m a proper bookender, I know what comes next.
I don’t want to write it, tears are streaming down my face as I type this out. But I have to complete the story. The story that’s true, the story that will continue to be true. The story where I play the role of God and Ginger Puppy plays the role of all of you.
But I’m not going to set it against the animal hospital backdrop. I’m not going to set it against the last time I saw her, labored breathing, brown eyes, and one wag of a tail.
I’m going to set it in that patch of moonlight, where me and her were stretched out on the floor, where she was healthy and happy and snuggly. And the moonlight was dreamy and silvery and nobody was in any pain at all.
Will it hurt?
I don’t think so, little one. I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t.
And you won’t leave me?
Absolutely not. Not for a single second.
I don’t understand why it had to go this way. Why couldn’t my leg have healed? Why did this immune mediated whatever show up? Why am I going so soon? I’m seven and a half. My brother is practically twice as old. Why can’t I stay as long as he can?
I wish I could tell you. I really really wish I could.
I like it here. I like my daddies and my friends. I like you.
I like you too, Ginger Puppy. But where I’m taking you, you’ll be happy. You won’t have any trouble with your leg anymore. You’ll be able to run around and eat what you want and jump on all sorts of furniture.
WHAT!?!? I get to jump on a couch!?!?
A thousand couches, and chairs and beds and all sorts of stuff.
I’m not supposed to jump on the furniture!
But you can where we’re going. You can even sleep on a real live BED.
That sounds AMAZING!
Yep. It will be.
Will I still be able to snuggle next to somebody?
Absolutely. There’s going to be all sorts of new people to meet, and they’re going to love you just as much as you were loved here.
It sounds fun. But I gotta admit, I’m a little nervous.
Jus trust me, little one. Just trust me. I am not leaving you for a single second. I’ll be with you the entire time.
Well… okay. But can we sit in the moonlight just a little while longer?
Sure we can, Ginger Puppy. Absolutely we can.
Ginger Puppy was my favorite. Her real name was Hops.