Missing Her…

I know that I’ve been MIA lately, my apologies. My heart hurts. Anyone who has known me for awhile knows that I have two children. Yes, I’ve only actually given birth once, but I have two kids. One of them just happens to have bad breath, four legs, and brown fur.

Or she did.

Daphne Alexandra Belle would have been 11 years old as of November 29, 2010. She was tiny and snuggly when I brought her home, at only 6 weeks old. When I met the breeder, the litter of puppies was in a 5 gallon paint bucket, and they knocked over the bucket on the ground to get out. The puppies scattered, but Daphne walked over to me. She chose me, I didn’t choose her.

Daphne went everywhere with me when she was little. She had her own doggie seatbelt, and would snuggle in my coat when I went grocery shopping. She was small enough to do that once, although the people that knew her later in her life didn’t really believe that because she was “big boned.”

Daphne used to take underwear outside and scatter it around the backyard. Apparently the yard wasn’t decorated to her liking, so she was helping. She loved watermelon. We used to call her a food whore, because whenever there was food around, she would do ANYTHING for a taste. Or the entire thing, ya know, whatever you were willing to share. She loved Christmas decorations, and putting them up, and she was truly my girl, my daughter, and my child.

Then Kaden was born. Anyone with children and pets knows that things change when you have your children. Even though you still love your pets just as much, they take the back burner for awhile while you’re navigating through first-time parenthood. Daphne took a backseat to Kaden, and even though she wasn’t as included as she once was, she never complained or got nasty. She was more than happy to welcome Kaden into our home, even though at the time he was a crying, pooping, eating mess that she didn’t really understand.

She was super protective of Kaden and whenever he cried, she got very nervous because she wanted us to fix whatever it was that was upsetting him. That love for Kaden never faded, not even at the end. They were “bestest buddies” according to Kaden, and he considered her his sister. They would cuddle and watch cartoons in the morning, and he would “accidentally” drop some food and Daphne would “help” by scarfing it up. That was her favorite way to help out around the house!

I knew that something was wrong when Daphne wasn’t quite as large as she once was, but her belly was still kind of big. I was afraid to take her to the vet though, because I didn’t want to know. She stopped eating entirely, and we knew something was terribly wrong. I was hoping it was some bad food that she had eaten, and that some hamburger and rice would snap her stomach out of the funk it was in. But an x-ray confirmed my worst fear – one large mass in her stomach, and another on her liver.

She was dying, but even worse – she was in pain.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, but I let her go on September 16, 2010. I held her as she went, and even though I knew her heart had stopped, I couldn’t physically let her go. I knew Daphne was gone though, that her spirit was now free and happy to eat as many cheeseburgers as she wants, and play ball with friends for as long as she wants.

My mom said that she didn’t want another pet because she didn’t want to go through this again. I completely understand, it was absolutely devastating for me, and I still miss her. But Daphne enriched my life so much, I wouldn’t change it for the world. She had been with me through so many hard times, and whenever I was crying she was there to try to fix whatever was upsetting me.

Someone told me that Daphne knew that I am happy now, and taken care of, and because of that she could let go. That thought breaks my heart, but that’s her – protective and loving, and wanting to make sure that Kaden and I are okay.

It’s funny how dog people get it, they understand. Family and friends surrounded me, and I’m so grateful for that. And the non-dog people don’t really get it. They know it’s upsetting but they don’t really GET it. And that doesn’t make them bad people, they just don’t understand. For our family, dogs ARE family.

Daphne was loved, she was family, and will always stay with us.

I miss her so much.