Our beloved bulldog, Madison, died tonight.
I took that picture on Christmas Day.
I knew then (in my heart-gut) that she was dying.
She’d been having some issues for a while, but our vet was confident that we could fix it.
I was hopeful, but still I knew.
A momma’s heart always knows.
But I hated that my last picture of her didn’t look like her.
She looked gaunt and sickly and sad.
I wanted my last picture of her to be one that would warm my heart and make me smile.
So when I asked Marshall to snap this shot, he didn’t even question me a bit.
And I’m glad he didn’t.
I’m glad this moment, full with hope and love and sadness and peace, is one I can see forever.
When I realized that tonight was going to be her last, I curled up on the sofa and had Marshall put her on my legs.
As a puppy (back when the dogs were still allowed on the sofa), she would crawl up into my ‘knee pit’ and nestle in.
She was also the first one I ever ‘back cuddled’ with.
I’d lie on the sofa and she’d squeeze down behind me with her back on mine.
I still sleep that way with my children sometimes.
Her breathing slowed. Her eyes glassed over.
And I could hear the children still chattering in their room.
I sent Marshall in to get them and bring them out so that they could say their goodbyes.
We all cried a little, but we also told stories about her and we laughed and smiled and loved on her.
Oh, she was such a good dog.
And y’all? My heart is breaking right now.
As I type, the ache pops right up my chest and leaks out of my eyes.
But I am grateful that it could happen this way – at home, being loved.
I wanted to share some pictures with you but my leaky eyes didn’t allow me to search too far.
This is my favorite one of the two pups back before we had children.
Mad wasn’t thrilled about being a ladybug, but she tolerated it.
You’ll notice that Maggie was having none of this dress-up-the-dog business.
(Sorry for the poor quality. iPhone picture of printed pictures never turn out well.)
I also found my scrapbook from the year we got her.
Look how leeeeeetle she was!
(And how young I was!)
She used to get up underneath Maggie and bite at her ankles. Most adorable thing ever.
My buddies. My first babies.
Our first Christmas with them both.
Hard to believe that was 10 years ago.
We’ll all miss you, sweet girl.
You were indeed a damn good dawg.