It was love at first sight.

And it was one sided. We picked her up at the airport, where she flew in from Maryland. She was scared after being in a crate all day and a little loopy from the intense day. I couldn't snuggle her quickly enough, but she look petrified. 

We began the drive home, with my husband driving and her on my lap. About 20 minutes into the drive, with my husband and I repeatedly looking over at each other, exclaiming how cute she was, McKinley looked up at me and wagged her tag making a large banging noise on the side of the car. 

When we got home, we placed her on the grass, which she then proceeded to hop around my husband's feet in a circle. The shy scared puppy we first met about an hour before was replaced by the goofy, loving dog we would proceed to have in our family for the next 6 and 1/2 years. 

She was my best friend, my first born and my sidekick. She would be in the deepest of sleeps, but would get up and follow me when I moved rooms, started to cook dinner or head to my office. She was a little skeptical when we brought Madrid home, wondering what kind of animal we brought with us, but promptly met Leo with a hard wag and a joyful lick, once she finally noticed him... after he had already been home two days. 

She had had stomach issues for a while, but I always thought it was from eating the kids' food, her useful task of cleaning anything and everything on the floor, or me sharing my lunch with her. It got worse about two months ago, so we sent her to the vet for testing.  And after it didn't get better and actually got much worse, with her loosing about 35 lbs in a month {She was originally about 120, and closer to 130 in these photos, and was down to 85 as of a week ago.}, they did an ultrasound, called me with the awful news that it looked like cancer and asked me to consent her for biopsies. 

We got the awful potential news on Tuesday and the confirmation on Wednesday.

Her week of lasts was brutal. She was visibly uncomfortable and there was nothing we could do. We tried to keep her happy, I hand feed her salmon, eggs, cheese and purchased and cooked red meat for the first time in my life. I was half convinced she was only eating because I was feeding her. 

The last days were torture, to see her try to be a part of the family, want to eat but be so uncomfortable. To want to play with the kids or snuggle with me on the floor, but move to a quieter spot after a couple of minutes.We took her on her last walk, her last trip to the playground, cried the last time we brought her bed upstairs and I was up multiple times her last night, giving her love and keeping her comfortable. 

She died on Saturday, January 13th, in my lap, with my husband and I whispering to her how much we loved her and what a good dog she was. 

She went beautifully, peacefully and with lots of love. 

We love you McKinley.

You are the start to our perfect family, an all too awesome girl to only be around a short time. You loved the kiddos, going for walks and runs and being a family dog. I miss you every time I go into a room, when I come home, I look for you to great me in the hallway and I reach over the side of the bed first thing in the morning, looking for my morning greeting. 

If you got a chance to meet her, you know that she was special. Our home seems so empty and my heart is broken. My husband said that her presence is in the silence, instead of the silence being a reminder that she is gone. I am getting better everyday, slowly, ever so slowly moving through the stages of grief. Instead of crying thinking about stories and that she isn't here anymore, replacing that with laughter, thinking of stories about what a goofy, fun loving, special girl she was.

We will never forget her and she will always be the start of our family. She made our house a home and two newlyweds a family. She will be missed but I look forward to carrying her with me, always. 

photos by my dad, Asha Bailey Photography, Susan Magre Photography, my dad again, and the remaining by Asha Bailey Photography

1 comment:

  1. Very nice words for McKinley. Heartbreaking to lose them so young. Beautiful photos, too. love, Robin


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