I didn’t want to writing anything so depressing.
I have always loved animals. In fact, growing up in my family it almost seemed to be a requirement to love the dogs more than each other. The dogs got the best of everything. If there was a way to make their lives better we did it, no questions asked. Maybe some people thought we were crazy. We had so many pets- a bunch of stray dogs with large medical bills, birds that people no longer wanted found their way into our home, kids getting tired of their pet hamsters were suddenly adopted into our bedrooms, and homemade dog food that was made with more love than any of the meals my mother made for the rest of us. It just became a way of life. These animals were unloved before so now they needed more from us. So it hurts that much more when there is nothing left to do…. when you just have to say goodbye.
Gypsy was mine. I won’t lie. I didn’t know it right away. Seeing her for the first time, I would have never guessed I would have her all these years. My parents sure as hell never expected her. It was about 2004 maybe 2005 (its seems just a blur now). My parents had sent me off to visit my sister for the summer. Her husband was off in the Navy and we were going to keep each other company. My parents were also trying to spare me the pain of being around for Lani passing away. She was a old white shepherd- blind, deaf, and slow from hip problems. She was going and they knew it.
My mom used to say that Lani brought us Gypsy. It wasn’t as if I saw Gypsy right after Lani died or that some divine moment lead me to her. She just showed up one day. This skinny little beagle chasing after a boy onto the tennis courts that my sister and I were playing on. We thought she belonged to the boy but then the boy went home with his dad and the beagle stayed behind. It’s hard to remember her so small, sad, and starved. We didn’t even know what to do with her at first. But she was so friendly and so obviously alone. We lifted her up over my sister’s patio wall in a laundry basket (my sister didn’t want to risk her giving her pets fleas or ticks).
What else could we do? We fed her, gave her water, and had her sleep in the bathroom. I didn’t think we were keeping her. Someone had to be looking for her. Someone had to care about her. But no one came. We took her to the vet who confirmed 3 things for us.
1. She was older than she looked. I thought she was young, maybe three. The vet thought she was 5-7 years old. I decided she was still three.
2. She didn’t have fleas but she did have a bad skin irritation that she would need meds to help clear up.
3. She had Heartworm.
I couldn’t let her die. Not there. Not after all that. My sister was sure someone had moved out and let her loose in the apartment community. I called my parents. Heartworm treatments are expensive and stressful. But this was us- the “crazy” people who did whatever we could for animals we had just found. She needed to be okay.
And she was.
Time and time again, Gypsy (as we named our little roaming beagle) came through every battle without batting an eye. Heartworm, tumors, cancer, losing a toe, etc. Over and over again, Gypsy made it through complications that we didn’t think she would survive. Even after 10 years with us, she was still happy and playful. Sure, she was a bit slower but she didn’t act her age of 13 (or 15 or 17).
She was strong. So I thought she would make it through this last time. She was supposed to make it through.
I didn’t get to say goodbye. I wanted to make it home to say goodbye to her. She was the sweetest girl. She didn’t misbehave. She barked if she needed to go outside. She loved to snuggle and always wanted a snack. Her best friend was Roscoe, a chihuahua, who always gave her kisses. I think he will be heart broken when she doesn’t come home. I hope he understands. I wish I could comfort him but I am still so far away.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there to say goodbye, Gypsy. I’m so sorry.
I miss you.