I've spent over a week convincing myself not to write about Lady, one of my childhood dogs who I had to put down a week and a half ago. I felt like it was a silly thing to share with the internet and honestly, I’ve been paralyzed by the thought of people I know (who probably don’t even read this blog) judging me for being sad about my domesticated animal of choice dying. I mean, I get it. Maybe I don’t deserve much sympathy. Maybe she was just a dog and it shouldn’t affect me so much since humans die every day from conflict and disease and famine. But damn it just does. The reality nags at me as I drive past the clinic where she died on my way to and from work. The finality hits me every time I go over my parents’ house and am not greeted by high pitched barks of excitement and an instant drop-and-roll that’s code for pleeeeeease rub my belly. The memory of her curly fur rushes back to me as I pet any other dog.

I’m getting dramatic. I should have made a disclaimer about this earlier. It’ll probably happen again. #notevensorryaboutnotbeingsorry

I’ll backtrack a bit. Lady had a weird episode while we were camping over Memorial Day weekend. She was asleep on my youngest sister’s lap when all of a sudden she went limp and lost control of her bladder. None of us had any idea what had happened. She had walked a decent distance in warm weather, so we figured she was experiencing dehydration or heat exhaustion or the effects of a spider bite. She lay down for a long while, but by the end of the night she made her way back into our laps and had even found some of her appetite. She spent a lot of the next two days sleeping, but that wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary behavior for her, especially while camping. She always burrowed under a chair and slept the whole day, maybe once venturing down to the lake to lap up some water or to beg for some human food.

So we were all shocked when she got worse two days after returning from the trip. At that point we knew we’d been wrong; she wasn’t tired or hot or thirsty, something else was going on. The vet at the clinic told us she had developed diabetes a while ago and that it had gotten to a point where her body couldn’t keep up anymore. She either needed immediate, intensive treatment and hospitalization or she probably wouldn’t make it through the end of the week.

I’m gonna pause right here to tell you that our dogs didn’t see the vet when they slept longer than usual or when they decided to randomly hide under a bed for a few hours. These were the first pets we’d had since puppyhood, so we naively dismissed some behaviors as personality quirks. They weren’t anything to worry about, and the vet (in our teenage heads) was there to address things we were worried about.

The pup's first night with us. Photo taken on my EnV. Remember those? 
My parents brought Lady back home Wednesday evening and I took Thursday morning off to say goodbye. I originally didn’t plan on being at the clinic for the euthanization, but I couldn’t imagine leaving that burden to my younger siblings. That and I couldn’t help but feel like I had a responsibility to my dog to be there. I was there when we picked her from the litter and it felt only right that I be there when she left us. We always joked she loved me best, and I really did have a special connection to her. She was unofficially mine.

None -- and I really mean none of us siblings have had to face a death this close to our hearts before. We dealt with it in different ways: my sister Andrea by cracking jokes to Lady and me by crying, a very true depiction of how we deal with basically any issue in our lives. We carried Lady in on a pillow like the queen she always wanted to be and thankfully had to wait for a room to open up.

A room opened up sooner than any of us wanted it to, but we handed her off to the vet to prep her for the procedure. They brought her swaddled in a fluffy pink blanket and gave us another last chance to hang out with her. The veterinarian explained what would happen before he put my sweet girl at peace.

Obviously, we cried…a lot. All four of our hearts broke simultaneously that Thursday. I know we did the right thing and honestly, one of the worst parts of the whole thing was seeing her get so frail so quickly. She went from yapping to immobile within a week, it was shocking. The silver lining is I have so many more memories of her as herself than as Sick Lady.

I wish I knew when I’ll be able to think about Lady without having to pretend like it doesn’t bother me that she’s gone. Or when I’ll be able to hear Skinny Love without tearing up as I flash to how thin she was that last week of her life. Until then, I’ll keep these photos on my phone and go through them whenever I miss Lady my baby.


  1. I really hope you got the way too long comment I just published. If not, beautiful post, and I'm so sorry for the suddenness and the sadness.

    1. Oh no, I don't think it posted! But thank you, I really, really appreciate your thoughts. <3