Having been in business since 2004, many of the animals that I started caring for as puppies, kittens and young animals are now grey, slow and no longer see or hear very well. A large number of them have also passed away.
I was introduced to Alfred and Abby, a Cocker Spaniel and Black Lab, respectively, back in 2006. During the late part of 2013, we said good-bye to Alfred; just a few months later, we were suddenly forced to say good-bye to Abby.
As pet sitters we often come to love your animals almost as much as you do. In addition to a cat and a dog that share my bed at night, I feel I have dozens of other cats and dogs that are also mine — they just don’t live with me. Over the years I started to take pictures of all “my animals” and use them as my computer’s screen saver. The picture that accompanies Misty’s article is one I took during the very last set of visits I made to Abby last May. I never imagined it would be my last picture of her.
Fabulous Abby the Labby
~ 2002 – 2014
By Misty Goldman
You took the sun with you when you left us. It rained for days after we said good-bye and even when the rain stopped, the sky stayed a cold slate gray that reflected back the emptiness in our hearts. It’s such a struggle to write these words, to acknowledge that you’re gone, to accept the void but I have to let you go.
You were such a beauty in your shiny black fur. Attitude and stubbornness just like a teenager. You had an angel’s face and a devils mind. Your mischievous streak was legendary. From digested checks, shoes and couches, nothing was safe from your jaws as your stealthy 90 lb body would tip-toe behind me. On our first meeting you sent me home with only one shoe, a clear message that I was treading on your territory. But I came back the next day and the next and the day after that. You lost interest in my shoes and you became my shadow, my buddy, my clean-up crew. Crumbs falling to the floor never had a chance. A lover of vegetables and the nemesis of toilet paper, you probably thought Abby was your last name since it was frequently preceded by words that can’t be printed here.
Friends and dog people always offered the same advice; “…don’t worry, Labs calm down after about five years”. Ha! You were not a dog to be categorized! I think you were seven years old when you stole the sandwich from that poor guy walking down the street in front of our house. Nine or maybe 10 when you ran away to the school and got beat up by the neighborhood dog bullies. And the toilet paper caper went on every chance you got for 12 years! I’m so glad you defied the stereotypes. I’m so thankful that you were Abby.
I can still see you there, rolling in the grass with pure joy on your face. You would always stay just out of sight. Always seeing me but making me look to find you. That vision of our happy, loveable pup is all we have left of you now. I look at that patch of grass everyday and it lifts my spirits. It made you blissfully happy even when you were in pain. Now your pain is gone and with it our hearts but the grass is still green so we sit there in your favorite spot, missing you but smiling. I smile because I bet that you can still see me, even though I can’t see you.
You died just like you lived, on your terms. It was Abby’s world and the sun and the moon and the stars would bend to your will. And so would I…every time. I miss you shadow.