I am a big believer that dogs often choose us more than we choose them. Lily came to our home when she was two years old as a rescue from the wonderful East CAN organization. We had already adopted one rescue from them, Clyde who is still with us. Before Lily came into our life she was not treated very well. When she was found she had a broken chain around her neck and East CAN is very certain she was being used for breeding and not loved the way she should have been. But that broken chain came to symbolize who Lily was for us.
She was a beautifully stubborn girl who was going to love you whether you wanted it or not. Despite our attempts, Lily made sure she was snuggled up in our bed every night we fell asleep. This was not the smoothest of tasks as she weighed over 60 pounds. My wife would refer to her as a “little chunk”. My wife would also inform me that when I was out cold sleeping, Lily would often cover my face in licks and kisses. When she decided you needed to be loved she was going to make sure it happened.
Lily taught me a lot about unconditional love. I came from a household where there was a lot of emotional and some physical abuse. Lily is a reminder to us that even if you come from a place where you are not loved as well as you should be that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of receiving it and showing it to others. I can’t say I have ever known a happier dog than this one, joyful up to the very moment of her passing. I was very happy to know that she didn’t have to struggle through illness and that her death was quick & painless. Her last night was spent just how she always loved, snuggled up between me and my wife, snoring away with her head on my pillow.
2020 seems like a year where we are losing so much. And when you experience so much major loss in such succession emotions can become overwhelming. It’s so easy to be quick to anger and lash out at people who have nothing to do with your pain. But that doesn’t make your grief any less or soften the blow of the loss. Like Lily, I have to remind myself that so many people come from places where love was rare but that we’re all deserving to have our cup overflow with it.
We decided to have Lily cremated. When we receive her ashes we will be sprinkling them in our backyard. She was notorious for being let out to go to the bathroom and refusing to come back in during the warm months. Lily would lay out, roll around in the grass, close her eyes, and lift her face towards the sun. Now she will never have to come back in until she wants to and she can bask in the sun for all eternity. I love you and I will miss you, Lily.