Loving Cassie (or, Losing a Pet Hurts Like Hell)

This past weekend we had to make an excruciatingly difficult yet right decision. Today our beloved Golden Retriever, Cassie, no longer suffers.

We on the other hand, are hurting like hell.

 That is one happy dog, right there. One happy  muddy  dog.

That is one happy dog, right there. One happy muddy dog.

She was 13 years old, diagnosed with lymphoma and gradually losing control of her hind legs due to a compressed nerve in her back. On Sunday morning she could barely stand. We knew.

It sucks.

It f*@%in' sucks.

Cassie was my first real pet. She came into my life with my husband D. when she was one and a half. My parents teased me, saying that I fell in love with the dog before I fell for the boy. There might be a kernel of truth to that.

I adored her.

 When my Dad, who hadn't met D. yet, saw this photo on my bookshelf he asked "So is this the dog with the guy?"

When my Dad, who hadn't met D. yet, saw this photo on my bookshelf he asked "So is this the dog with the guy?"

The house feels empty.

It's amazing how much noise she made even when I thought all was quiet: nails tick-tick-ticking on the hardwood floors, doggie sighs, snoring, lapping of water from the water dish and the steady rhythm of her breath - the latter becoming more laboured towards the end due to medication.

All of these sounds, now absent.

And then there are the seemingly mundane routines: letting her out first thing in the morning, coaxing her back in, saying "Bye-bye!" or a hopefully reassuring "We'll be back!" before leaving the house and "Beddy-bye!" to coax her into the bedroom at night. Tail-wagging welcomes at the door, feeding time, walks, pets and snuggles, and during the past few months, more difficult routines like giving her her medication, spotting her as she slowly climbed up the stairs and during the last week, carrying her up.

All these seemingly minute routines that provide structure day in and day out, I never even gave them a second thought before. Now they are glaringly absent.

 She loved orange balls.

She loved orange balls.

Cassie LOVED to hike with us, she loved to play Chuckit with her orange ball and was always up for a dance party in the kitchen. She loved swimming and in the winter she rolled in the snow like a puppy, even at 13. She was smart and stubborn - sometimes frustratingly. She had a special fondness for Owl, a stuffed toy generously gifted to her by our dog-sitter this past Christmas. Cassie also enjoyed just hangin' out with her peeps: watching movies on the couch with D., keeping me company while I wrote in my journal, lying in the shade with us on hot summer day or flopping down smack dab in the middle of the kitchen floor while we made dinner. She loved liver treats and Dentabones. Her golden fur was like silk and she always smelled good - almost always. She was a happy uncomplicated dog who loved everyone and I would wager that anyone who met her loved her too.

She was the apple of D.'s eye and he was hers. Yes, she was always happy to see me, but goodness when Daddy came home...

She was the apple of my eye, too, even when she pushed my buttons. She grounded me when I was anxious and comforted me when I was sad. She brought me joy and I thanked the Universe for her every. day. Cassie and D., my two loves.

I miss her. I love her. I thank her.

May she rest in peace.

And when the pain of her absence subsides, may we live in joy with her memory.

 Princess Cassie and wee niece A.

Princess Cassie and wee niece A.

 Cassie and BFF Pusta. Pusta left us just a few weeks ago, she was 15.

Cassie and BFF Pusta. Pusta left us just a few weeks ago, she was 15.

 She certainly won over my Dad - and he's not a dog person! Photo by D.

She certainly won over my Dad - and he's not a dog person! Photo by D.

CassieAndUs_PalmerRapids
CassieAndUsFitzroy2017
 She loved the snow.

She loved the snow.

 "Hello Human!"

"Hello Human!"

 My two loves on our wedding day. ♥♥♥ Photo by Kirsten Crilly.

My two loves on our wedding day. ♥♥♥ Photo by Kirsten Crilly.

 Cassie, Dec. 15, 2004-April 8, 2018.

Cassie, Dec. 15, 2004-April 8, 2018.