This morning at 5:30 AM I said goodbye to Happy, my beloved black Labrador of 10 years. I have written earlier about her weakening condition. Labradors are made of abundant dog fortitude. Happy never whined about the pain she was obviously having. She was strong and brave to the end.
On one of her last times outside, she walked slowly up the little hill on the west side of the house where she would sit for hours and look out across the wide backyard where she benevolently ruled for so many years. There she had chased many a rabbit. She and her brother sampled the latest cologne from a visiting skunk. She even argued with a ground hog once. From her vantage point she would monitor my grass mowing to be sure I didn’t miss anything. From time to time her buddy/brother Cody would join her and silently wait for something to chase or for a passerby to bark at. I remember times of calling her at dusk to come inside and she would look around at me from her post as if to say, “Just a little while longer…?”
But like all of us, time caught up with her. The emergency room Vet who examined her said that Happy had a large mass in her upper abdomen which was pressing up against her heart causing her labored breathing and sluggishness. The Vet also noticed some internal bleeding. Along with her incontinence, drooling, and sporadic eating the Vet said with tears in her eyes that my Happy was slowly dying. (She said that her own black lab had died of similar conditions.) I held Happy in my arms as the Vet administered the injections. She fell asleep and laid quietly at my feet.
Saying goodbye to such a companion is never easy. And yet, even as much as I could wish that she stay with me just a little while longer, such thoughts are selfish especially when such a beautiful animal is suffering. That moment of letting go is never easy. Yet, she has left me so many grand memories of her heart and her love. I had a decade of days with this wonderful dog, and she will not be forgotten.