If you have yet to read Part One, you can find it here.
About a month later, we thought we were losing our sweet puppy again, this time on a day that should have been all about love, laughter, friendship, and memories. I remember it like it was yesterday as my mom, bridesmaid Gretchen, and I headed out the front door of my parents’ house to drive to the bridal shower held by our dear friend, in my honor. I was all dressed up in a white lace dress, beige patent heels, and a lace flower barrette in my hair. We looked over and there was Lucky, hanging out in the landscape in front of the house, digging up the mulch to bury yet another bone. She may have been perfect in our eyes now that she was older, but Lucky still had her weaknesses, and burying bones was one of them. My mom jokingly said, “Lucky! Get out of the mulch,” as we looked over to see a wad of dirt hanging out of her mouth. Silly dog, I thought to myself, some things never change.
But something was about to change as the roar of the engine started up, the brake was released, and the SUV was put into reverse. We didn’t know what it was at first. We all looked at each other unknowingly, but then it hit us. The screaming wasn’t from the car, it was from our Lucky girl who had ran under the back tires before we had even realized it. I could immediately see the look of panic in my mom’s eyes as we figured it out, but somehow a strange calmness that I had never felt before enveloped my entire body. My mom quickly put the car in neutral and hit the gas as human screams filled the air as well. We jumped out of the car to see Lucky jumping around on three legs for at least 100 ft. I quickly ran to her as my mom ran into the house to yell for my dad. Lucky’s right front leg was shattered. Bones were sticking out and blood was everywhere, but somehow, I did not feel afraid. My mom had grabbed a blanket and I quickly wrapped it around Lucky. My dad ran out with me as my mom ran inside to get a phone number for the emergency animal hospital. Dad and I then realized that it wasn’t just Lucky’s arm, but it was her chest too that had been ripped open. My dad began to panic and I tried to calm him down. Lucky was alert at that point and I was just trying to keep everyone around me calm. I have no idea who I was that day, in that moment. It felt like an out of body experience. I never in a million years would have imagined myself handling a situation like that, in such a calm way. I felt as if God was giving me the comfort I needed, and at that point my bridal shower was pushed to the back of my mind as we carefully picked up Lucky and put her in the back of that same SUV.
I rode in the back of the vehicle and held her the whole way. I tried to keep her conscious and calm, but instead she took care of me during the entire trip. She licked my hand and stared at me with her big brown eyes, as if telling me to not be afraid. Here I was, on what was supposed to be a happy day, holding my sweet dog as her blood dripped down my arm. I prayed the whole way to the animal hospital and before I knew it, Lucky was being slid onto a cart and rushed in through the front doors.
I found myself staring in the bathroom mirror as I began to wash the crimson blood off my hands and arms. I thoroughly inspected my white lacey dress, the one I was so excited to buy and wear for this occasion, the one I longed over when I spotted it on the hanger. I was expecting it to be ruined, but I actually could not find a single spot of blood, not one drop. I walked out of the bathroom, and at this point my dad and Tim had arrived. They encouraged my mom, Gretchen and I to head out to the shower and try to enjoy ourselves. This seemed relatively impossible for us, how could we go and forget about Lucky? However, at the end we went, not knowing what the vet would tell my dad, and wondering what the outcome would be.
We arrived to the shower 45 minutes late. The hostess of the party was aware of the situation, but at that point no one else really knew. Everyone seemed so happy as we walked in through the door and I wanted to feel the same excitement they were feeling. The shower was the most beautiful and personal event I have ever attended, and I still can’t believe it was all for me. From the food, to the guests, to the special touches throughout the affair, everything was absolutely gorgeous. I saw my mom walk outside on her phone a couple times to speak with my dad, and each time my heart would begin to pound and my hands would start to sweat. I was so nervous of what the news coming from the other line would be. My mom encouraged me to completely immerse myself into the shower, but part of my heart was still with my Lucky girl. I knew at this point that surgery was happening, but I was not aware of much else. I finally had to share the news of what was really going on with my guests when I broke into tears, just from pure emotions. I had gone from the ultimate low to the ultimate high in such a short time, it was hard to catch my bearings. However, having all the women I love most in the world in one room gave me that much more of a support system when I needed it the most.
To make a long story short, Lucky survived her surgery and stayed in our local vet for a week as she healed up. I will never forget visiting her, and hearing her cries when she first saw my mom and I. The vet told us she had not been crying like this at all, but the moment she saw us, her family, she could not handle her emotions anymore. This was the first time it really struck me that Lucky was so much more than a dog. She was a part of our family. She was our family, and I felt so blessed to have her in my life.
It took months, but Lucky was able to not only survive, but recover and thrive. She was back outside in the yard protecting her domain. She was herself again when she could walk again on all four legs, and before we knew it, she was running too. She loved life so much and if there is one thing we can take from a dog is to just take one day at a time. Lucky didn’t lay in her bed worried about tomorrow, or wondering how long it would take to recover. All she did was focus on what she needed to do that day, in that moment, and enjoyed her life to the fullest.
Over the last few months, Lucky was happy, but was also very tired. Let’s face it, she was an older dog and she had been through a lot in the past year. She battled neck pain this past winter, seemed to recover, but continued to sleep more and more. She still ate her food, but a little less each day. She enjoyed her bones, but every once in a while would leave one in her bowl, something she never would have done before. The last couple of weeks of her life were tough. My parents could tell she wasn’t feeling good, and after they took her to the vet, they found out why. Lymphoma had taken over my girl, and it was just too much for her body to handle. We thought we would have at least a few weeks, or maybe even a month or two left, but she was tired, sick, and couldn’t fight anymore. It was not an easy decision to put her down, but we knew we had to for her sake. She had loved us and shown us love her whole life, and now it was time for us to show her the same love in return.
I was so blessed to have Lucky in my life for over 16 years. She taught me what unconditional love really is, and she showed me how to have compassion and respect for others. This past weekend, I really struggled with losing Lucky. When I was laying on my couch with my husband and little Tebow, I began to cry and I asked Tim why we do this to ourselves. We adopt a puppy, learn to love him or her, and then we lose them. I literally was bawling at this point as I kissed my puppy on the head and held him tight. That is when Tim reminded me that we just have to love and appreciate him while he is here. Love truly is one of the best parts of life and although it is tricky and can lead to heartache, it is 100% worth the pain. I can’t be afraid to love, and I can’t be scared to be loved in return. Life isn’t worth living if you don’t love, and I plan on loving with my whole heart every day, just like Lucky taught me and showed me how to do.