Before I was a crazy mom, I was a crazy dog mom.
And I was up until a week ago, when I lost my furry baby. She was diagnosed with a very treatable form of leukemia late last summer, but it mutated and we lost her way too soon. She was an 18-pound, 11-year-old pompapoo named Lily, and she was sweet, snuggly, super fun and oh-so-barky.
If you’re a dog mom, I know that you can relate. They are a huge part of our families, we love them so incredibly much, and losing them hurts. A lot.
I have about 10 other half-finished posts on my desktop, but I can’t seem to focus on anything until I write this one. So thank you for reading and listening and bearing with me. I just miss her a ton, as do the kids, which has been breaking my heart even more.
Our little black-and-tan fluffball bounded into our lives six years before my son made his debut. And I loved her with my whole heart, to the point where I’d even—as one friend likes to remind me—drunk-dial her from various time zones while she was boarding at the doggy spa back home.
People always say that animals prepare you for having kids, and they really do. But I didn’t realize the extent to which that was true until I was well into this whole motherhood thing. Lily was my first baby, as I always told her, and she taught me more about love and life than I could have ever imagined.
So, thank you, Lily.
Thank you for teaching me to be semi-responsible—i.e., making me come home after work instead of going straight to happy hour, and not just because I didn’t want pee all over the living-room rug.
Thank you for making me realize that I could keep another living thing alive and might actually be a decent mom, even after all those plants that I inadvertently killed.
Thank you for not minding (too much) that I brought home two (human) babies.
Thank you for desensitizing me to pee, poop, puke and all manner of gross things. It really helped during the newborn phase.
Thank you for sweetly snuggling in bed with me every night, right in the crook of my knees, even after I felt like I’d somehow betrayed you by sneaking off to feed and cuddle with the baby in the other room.
Thank you for getting me through a particularly difficult grieving process, when the only reason I probably didn’t throw myself in front of a bus was that you were with me.
Thank you for being happy to see me every single time I walked through that front door, even if it had only been 3 minutes since you last saw me. I really needed that some days.
Thank you for occasionally letting me dress you up in ridiculous Halloween costumes. The pink punk-rock wig might have been the pinnacle of dog-mom craziness, but we got a great picture and a lot of laughs out of it!
Thank w you for perching at the topmost part of the couch whenever I was breastfeeding, watching over me and your new little brother (and a few years later, your little sister). You were an excellent protector and an amazing older sister.
Thank you for helping me teach the kids how to be gentle, kind, empathetic and loving.
Thank you for putting so much into perspective.
Thank you for being my constant companion and for never judging me.
Thank you for the love. Thank you for the cuddles. Thank you for being you.
I will miss you forever, baby girl.
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