It has taken me almost 56 hours to write that on Tuesday August 27th we lost our beloved Emma. As Mom said, Emma had the biggest heart of any dog. Our hearts are broken. Our sweetheart is gone. Our sweetheart will never be forgotten.
Emma showed up in Mom’s yard on August 1, 2014. Six days later, no one had claimed her. The shelter was planning to kill her. Five years and 26 days after we met Emma, Emma had done her best to remind us of the value of love.
Without her snores, the house feels empty and quiet. Without her big head nudging us for attention or food, our lives feel less. Without her big, soft body on the couch waiting for tummy rubs, our hearts are heavy. Without her inability to learn how doors open, our laughs aren’t as many. Without her always calm, patient demeanor, our lives aren’t as rich.
As I have written before, Emma had arthritis. We knew it was getting worse. She didn’t always want the walk she once loved. She sometimes couldn’t finish the walk she thought she could when we started. She started eating, drinking, and going out in the same session so she wouldn’t have to get up again. But we had know idea she was dying.
Last Friday, I sat on the artificial grass rubbing her tummy and listening to baseball. When I stopped to change games, her big, beautiful head would bang my arm. Emma wanted her tummy rubbed.
Switching games, I couldn’t help but smile. When I started rubbing again, the big head went down and the soothing, steady snoring let me know Emma was happy with my work.
When I got to her favorite spot, right under either of her front legs, Emma would lift her leg; she needed to remind me where to go. With her snoring increasing, Emma would rest her leg in my hand. She couldn’t possibly be expected to hold id up herself.
I will never forget rubbing her tummy with my right hand, holding her leg with my left hand, and being contented by her peaceful rest.
Sitting on the deck, writing about the last time things with Emma seemed right, I keep thinking that night was six nights ago. Smiling down at the beautiful white one, the idea she would soon be gone was unimaginable.
Now, Mom and I, who love with all of our hearts, can’t stop talking about the loss of our sweetheart. We certainly weren’t at all prepared to lose her. We knew that for her sake, we had to let Emma go.
Emma had a tumor in her abdomen. It was so deep inside no one knew it was there. As she struggled with lower than usual energy, we talked about her arthritis and the fact that we didn’t know her age. Now that she’s gone, we remind each other we couldn’t have known she was getting so sick.
I went to work on Tuesday mostly believing she needed stronger pain medication and something for her stomach (which had been bothering her). Hours later, I was on the train knowing I was riding to tell Emma I loved her for the last time.
Emma’s red blood cell count was 10 percent. It was supposed to be at least 35 percent. Trying to extend her life would have meant a blood transfusion and major surgery. Even then, the vet didn’t think Emma would last much longer. Given that terrible prognosis and her worsening arthritis, Mom and I knew we had to say goodbye.
Someday, the sound of her collar jingling as she raised her head to look at me as I entered the vet will make me smile. Someday, the knowledge that Emma took her last breath with me rubbing her tummy will warm my heart. This day, I’m going inside to hide from a world where Emma is gone for a few minutes.