I’ve been absent here this week, and honestly I did have two projects planned to share with you. I could blame it on our mini vacation last weekend, or that the boys have been on spring break. But the truth is one of my closest friends passed away on Tuesday, and I’ve been heartbroken.
I don’t always open up here about a lot of super personal things, but I had to write from my heart today. If this post doesn’t interest you that’s fine, but I wanted to pour out my thoughts and have a record of it here on my blog.
The summer of 2007, my husband and I had been married for one year, and on our date nights one of our favorite things to do was visit the pet store and look at all the cute puppies. We’re both dog people and knew we’d get one someday, but had no immediate plans to become puppy parents.
One night in July 2007, we visited the pet store like we often did, and I saw the cutest tiny 2-pound white Maltese. We brought her in the room with us and she was adorable but also feisty! I fell hard for her. Having always been around small dogs my whole life, Frenchie was the perfect choice for me.
But my husband, thinking she was “too girly” at the time, wanted a bigger dog. He always wanted a Boxer so he asked if they had a fawn, and they said they were getting one the following week. Neither of us like to compromise – so just like that, we became pet owners to not just one but TWO dogs, and we hadn’t even laid eyes on Abby yet.
I’m not going to go into ALL the details of how stubborn she was as a puppy. 😉 She was stubborn and hyper and she grew so fast! I remember when we got her fixed – the vet said she needed to rest and she’d probably be knocked out from the meds for the rest of the night. Well she had been home only a couple hours and she was trying to run all over the house and jump on the couch! It was everything we could do to make her settle down. She always had so much energy.
She made a few appearances here on my blog, like when I made her a toy basket and in my Anthropologie knockoff dresser makeover (when I first announced her cancer).
She became such an important part of our family. Our dogs are like adopted kids to us, and even came with on long car rides to visit my parents.
I’ve heard before that boxers are the world’s biggest lap dogs, and that was so true for her. She wasn’t too shy to sit by you on the couch and then turn and lay across your lap. Then you were stuck, and maybe squished, but you liked it. 😉
Over the last couple years, we found a few small benign lumps on her body and we had them removed. Last year she got attacked by bees twice and her poor face swelled up so bad and we had to take her for emergency care. She had a few other little health problems (like stitches in her ear below) but she was such a trooper, she never let on that she was scared or in pain.
Last June, my husband noticed that the lymph nodes in her neck were swollen and a few days later we found that she had lymphoma. She started six months of treatment including chemo and steroids, and for a few months we drove her 1 1/2 hours away every week to the university where they have an excellent vet program and specialize in cancer treatment. She responded so well and was in remission within a few months. Through it all she never let on that anything was wrong or that she was scared. She was her happy-go-lucky self like always. Even the vet staff was amazed at how well she responded.
Then in December, at the end of her 6-month treatment program, we discovered that she was out of remission. We started another chemo program and prayed and hoped she’d go back into remission. Then in January we thought we were losing her. Her lymph nodes swelled up so big that she could barely breathe and she’d stumble while walking down the last few stairs in our house. We changed treatment again and she seemed better within a couple days.
We were used to her being sick, and then getting better, sick, better, over and over.
So when we were out of town last weekend and my mom texted and said Abby didn’t seem well, I didn’t think much of it. She always got a little sad and lost her appetite when my husband and I were gone. And even if she really was sick, I knew she’d bounce back like she always did.
When we got back we took her in for tests, even though she just had blood tests last week. She came to visit the vet so often that everyone knew her by name and they all loved her. Unfortunately this time we got devastating news. On Tuesday we had to say goodbye to our sweet girl, one of the most loyal friends – not just a pet or a dog – that we’d ever known. We knew it would happen eventually but it was still unexpected. Even now it still doesn’t seem completely real.
I keep expecting Abby to come running into the kitchen when I get out goldfish crackers for the boys or stare me down when I’m eating popcorn at night. To run to the door and turn in circles and wiggle her butt when we get home. To jump up so I can grab her arms and then we slow dance until her legs get tired. To come lay right beside me when I’m painting to keep me company. To bark loudly and jump up to scare away whoever comes to the front door, even though she was a gentle spirit and she’d never hurt a fly. To stay up late with me and follow me to bed only when I head upstairs, no matter how tired she is. To shake her head and make her ears flop loudly early in the morning when I’m afraid she’s going to wake up the baby sleeping nearby. To sit tall right next to me when I’m sad as if to say “It’s alright” and let me wrap my arms around her in a big hug (which always made me feel better). To lick my cheek when I put my face next to hers.
aka Bubbs. Abba. Bubba. Bubby. Mama’s girl. Daddy’s princess. Loyal dog. Best friend.
May 28th, 2007 – March 22nd, 2016
She was a great beauty. From one dog lover to another, my thoughts are with you.
Melissa OConnor says
I’m so sorry for your loss. I know first hand how devastating it is to lose a fur baby. They take a piece of your heart with them when they leave. I put together a memento box for my Dox. It has pictures , toys and her collar, and her ashes. I painted it and put her photo and name on the top. It was cathartic for me. There will be a big hole, but it will soften with time. God Bless.
Hope Williams says
Jen, I don’t often comment but this is a hit home hard moment for me. I too have furbabies and boxer Shelby is my second boxer. My first was my little big man Justice. Boxers for me are my soul puppies. I will never be without one. Or two. My heart is breaking for you. Please know Abby is cancer free and pain free. The love we mourn is ours. Own it. Always keep with you the love and laughter you brought to each other. And I know she is missing you just as much as all of you are missing her. No cliche’s from me, they do not help. Just go with it when the waves of emotion hit you. I can say this one thing; writing this, almost 6 years after losing Justice, the tears just won’t stop. ? I miss you my little man and look for a little Girl named Abby. She’s new to the bridge and misses her family too. RIP loved ones.
I am so sorryfor your loss. I have lost 4 ‘Best Friends’ and have one who is 11 and ine that is 6. it amazes me with each dog I get I can see traits of the ines I have lost. It’s almost like a part of them has returned and that brings both laughter and sometimes tears at times. I’ve kept all of their collars and pick them up and hold them in my hand as I dust each week. Each one has been very dear to me.
I’m sorry or your loss, I understand because we lost our 12 year old Doxie to cancer a few months ago. I still call her when I call the other two Doxies and think of her every day. I love all of my dogs, but none can replace lost ones.
I am so very sorry. Dogs are the best friends, they always listen and are always there for us. Remember all the fun and happy times and God Bless.
I’m so sorry, what a hole they leave in our lives. They’re so loving and precious, what a sad, sad time for you. They give us so much love and ask so little. My heart is with you
Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces says
I’m so sorry to hear this…Abby sounds like a wonderful dog. I know she will be deeply missed…xoxox
I am so sorry for your loss. My heart is also broken for my little puggle that died within 6 days of being diagnosed in January 22nd.g It is like a part of you is ripped out. I can only say you will always miss your Abby but time will heal you a bit. Sounds like she had a wonderful life with your family. She is now with all the other dogs that have crossed the rainbow bridge.
So sad and sorry. I have lost many puppy kids over the years and it’s never easy. They love you with their whole being.
I am sorry for your loss. I know it’s difficult to lose a member of your family. You wrote a beautiful tribute.
Wanda Fielder says
So sorry, Jen!
From your description and her pictures, I can tell that she was a beauty both inside and out. So sorry for your loss.
Carol Prygo says
Jen, I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our dear companion (cat) FurBall last year and still miss her every day. I read your post and can’t stop crying. I could say it gets easier with time, but it doesn’t. I just hope that the person who wrote the Rainbow Bridge poem is right and that we will meet again someday…………
I am so, so sorry for the loss of ur friend, it’s never easy losing ur pet that you love so much.
you and your family will be in our prayers.
P Simmons says
Sorry for your loss. As I too loss our beloved family dog of 16 yrs two weeks ago this past Friday. They are like a family member, child etc. We have been lost around our house without her, as daily reminders are all around us. As I know they are with you also. Our’s was a sudden loss. One not expected. I feel your grief as they are our family.
[email protected] says
I’ve got tears rolling down my cheeks after reading this. I know you miss your sweet girl.
Remember at Haven when we did the painting project together where we painted dogs on a frame? Mine is at school and I kid you not, whenever I see it I think about your dog instead of Sherman because I remember you saying that the dog we were painting looked like your Abby.
Paula, thank you for sharing that. <3 I do remember painting the pictures together - ours is in our bedroom and I look at it every day and think of her.
Vicki and Jennifer says
Jen- so sorry and sad to hear of your loss. Abby was a lucky girl to you as a family! We walked a similar path a few weeks ago, our heartbreak still fresh…can definitely feel your pain. I know you miss her dearly. Hugs to you!
Marie, The Interior Frugalista says
Jen, you continue to be in my thoughts. I know the pain of loosing your first born (fur baby before having the human babies). I promise, it will get easier in time and of course will always hold a special place in your heart.
Hugs from Canada
I’m so sorry, Jen. My first baby dog was a Boxer and I always say she was my first baby. She passed 15 years ago and I still miss her like crazy and am so thankful that I was able to adventure with her (I don’t like to say I owned her). Sending you a big hug from one Boxer mama to another.
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Joan Spicer says
Why not make a pendant with a replica of the “Boxer shadow” pictured in your post along with her dog tag? For those with multiple losses you could do that or a charm bracelet with each dog tag as a charm and the breed charm between each.
Jen, I came looking for chalk paint ideas and read your post; I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our 4 yr old boxer, Tucker, this past Christmas. He loved “treats” and I knew something was wrong when he turned away from his morning treat to go into another room and lie down.
My heart goes out to you and your family – our dogs are joy personified.
Thank you, Nancy. I’m sorry for your loss also. Boxers have so much personality and she’ll always have a special place in my heart!
Barbara Borowy says
My pets are all I have, kids and grandkids have grown up. So my pets are my best friends and I know I’ll be brokenhearted when on of them leaves. I understand how you feel and my heart hurts for you
Thank you, Barbara. I appreciate that. Even though some time has passed we still miss her all the time. <3