“When I was in high school, I was adamant about getting my own dog. We’d had family pets before, but none of them were just mine.
My mom finally gave in, and we began our search. My heart was set on buying a Chihuahua until I found an ad in our local paper. The dog was a 6-month-old Jack Russell mix, and she didn’t get along with the new dog. I was adamant; we were going to see her. She ran straight to the car, and after a small talk, she was in my lap headed home with my mom and me.
‘Roxie or Winnie?’ I asked my mom. She replied, ‘She doesn’t look like a Roxie.’ Winnie it was. That was the first time Winnie gave us her look. I’ve seen it a million times, and it’s one I’ll wish I could see forever. Her eyes were the most expressive things on this planet. I could read every thought with that single look.
12 and a half years is a long time. You watched me graduate high school, rebel, graduate college, have a baby, move, get married, bring home other animals, knowing in your tiny soul, my world would still revolve around you.
As long as you had the attention you demanded, you were always on board, whether it be sleeping all day or adventures. And I thank you for that. I never knew how much I needed someone to sleep by my bed on nights I was alone, judge me when I was dancing around the kitchen listening to pop music. Or simply have someone listen to me while I vented.
The beginning of your life was full of energy and fun, but your senior years were my favorite. Your face turned white, your energy dimmed, but you were wise in a way most wouldn’t understand. It wasn’t always easy, but I would do it a million times over just to be with you.
I started to wonder why people abandoned senior animals during their most precious and vulnerable times. I won’t ever be able to answer that. I just hope they stop and think.
Before you get that cute, full-of-life puppy, imagine life 10+ years from now.
If your vision doesn’t involve throwing on a swimsuit to get in the bathtub with your senior citizen dog because she’s having a bad day and scared, don’t do it.
If you can’t imagine cleaning up after them while they’re sick, don’t do it.
If you laugh at the thought of a person cooking meals JUST to make their fur child eat, don’t do it.
If you wouldn’t stay up all night, just to make sure they’re still breathing and have all their needs met, don’t do it.
If you can’t fathom the decision I’ll have to make soon, don’t do it.
If you can’t hold them until they take their last breath, don’t do it.
She wasn’t always this grumpy old lady with demands. 12 years ago, she was a puppy, and I was in high school. She was hyper, healthy, and full of life. It wasn’t always like this, but when the time came, I stepped up and gave back to her what she had given me all of her life.
If you can’t handle the end of their life, don’t do it.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brittany Tarkington. Submit your own story here be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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