This is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. This morning we had to let Lilac cross The Bridge. Her body just couldn’t take her any further and I know she’d lost her happiness for life. I kept hoping that I wouldn’t have to make the decision to let her go, but in the end, I finally accepted that I’d have to do that for our stubborn old lady.
When Lilac came to us almost nine years ago, I had no idea what kind of journey we were in for. She’d already had a career as a racer and had two litters of puppies as a brood dog. She was more than ready for retirement. I didn’t know that she was just starting her most important job, which was to make me a better person. She spent more than half her life working on me.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons from her. I’ve learned more patience than I ever thought I was capable of. I’ve learned that you don’t have to just roll over in your old age. She’s aged more gracefully than anyone else I know, and maybe that’s because she just let it happen and made the most of it. Heck, she really only had white hairs on her muzzle, the rest of her body was still a lovely dark brindle. She’ll definitely make one heck of an entrance when she gets where she’s going. I learned that you need to be gentle with those you love, and make sure that they know how you feel every day. After the scare she gave us a couple of years ago, she also taught me to live life so that you have no regrets at the end.
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Lilac certainly didn’t hold back on anything. She lived life with gusto. Whether it was stealing trash from the garbage can, pulling off the Great Easter Candy Heist, expressing her opinions or telling us that she loved us, she never held back. It’s part of what made her such a huge part of my heart. She taught me that life is what you make of it, and she made it something wonderful.
So, this morning we put on her best fancy purple and gold collar and made our last trip together. I told her how much I loved her and promised to keep Timmy away from the well. She told me that Morgan might have to take over that job, but that she was ready to rest. I kissed her head and told her that it was okay and that she’d earned it, and then she was finally able to lay down and relax.
Even knowing that she wouldn’t be with us much longer, I am still heartbroken that she’s gone. I still wouldn’t trade the amazing journey that we’ve had together for anything, though. Since I had blog posts ready for the rest of the week, I’ll let those entertain you while we take a few days to recollect ourselves. So many people have helped us to enjoy the journey with Lilac, and have really done wonderful things to make her feel special over the past few years. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for that. It’s been wonderful to know that so many other people have loved her like we do!
We’ll miss you, Mama Dog! Keep those puppies in line up in Heaven.