In the midst of tears (I somehow crazily thought I would be a little better off than I am), I’m writing to you this blog post today to tell you a bit of a personal story. A few hours ago I was at the vet where I watched my dog, Darcy, peacefully go to sleep one last time. My heart is broken and the only thing I could think of doing was sharing a little bit about her.
Darcy was a gift — a surprise, actually — that my sister gave to me in 2003, during one of the most difficult times in my life. I still remember when my sister and her husband (then, boyfriend) brought her home — she was a tiny little beagle puppy, the runt of the litter, and easy to hide under my brother-in-law’s sweatshirt. My sister, Christi, knew that I wanted a beagle and that I wanted to name it after my favorite book character. I thought I would get a male puppy as a result, but Christi fell in love with Darcy — very much a girl — at the pet shop. The name stuck anyway.
I fell in love with her instantly. She was tiny, curious, sweet, and we became good friends immediately. A few days after I got her, we went on a camping trip with friends where I ended up carrying Darcy in my backpack the whole time and snuggling with her under my sleeping bag at night. Because it was a tough time in my life, her presence was a balm. She brought me peace and comfort and I could always count on her to nose her way over to me to lay her head on my lap or lick any tears away.
Darcy’s health and behaviors started to go downhill while she was still a pup, unfortunately. At a year old, she was hit by a car. She managed to get away relatively unhurt (our other dog bore the brunt of the accident, since they were chasing each other), but she wasn’t quite the same after that. She developed severe separation anxiety and her potty training seemed to go out the window. What’s more, she seemed to have terrible stomach and teeth issues that made eating difficult. But I stuck with her. I literally tried every single technique and tip that I could — going to countless vet appointments, talking to pet behaviorists, going to training. There were a couple of times along the way that she got so sick that I thought I would lose her — but she pulled through and was there to continue to be my loving friend.
A little before Patrick and I got married, we decided to add another dog to the pack — Bennett — in hopes that he would help with her separation anxiety. And he did. Despite the fact that Darcy wasn’t the most social of dogs, she took to Bennett as a playmate and her accidents decreased. In fact, in the last year and a half of her life, we were able to stop putting diapers on her whenever we left. As Bennett got older and a little more rough with her (he’s a boxer), we decided to add another boxer to the mix so that the two boys could play rough together while still keeping Darcy company. And that’s what they did.
But Darcy’s health continued to decline and her accidents inside continued to increase. For the last few months, it was a daily struggle to get her to eat her food and the limp she developed whenever she stood up only seemed to be getting worse.
Two days ago, I realized I needed to let go. I’d been too afraid to — I loved her and I didn’t want to hurt. But it was selfish and she was just continuing to decline. A good death was the only thing left I could give to my friend, Darcy. My loyal friend deserved that much from me.
I will miss her so much. She was there for me through over a decade of radical changes in my life, through my parent’s divorce, through my own personal heartbreak — and through wonderful times, like when I met the man who became her adoptive “Dad”, our marriage, buying a home, and the birth of our daughter. She was a sweet dog who loved the company of people — her pack — and loved to snuggle under the covers.
This morning I snapped a few pictures of her before I left our house. Goodbye my stalwart little friend, goodbye.