Just moments after I wrote my last post, Penny’s health took a turn for the worse.
Penny has been my pup since the summer of 1999. She’s traveled alongside me for all these years, and has been the best family and show of unconditional love I could have ever asked for in a dog. She was so much more than just my dog.
I always tell people that Jake and Penny were my sacrificial lambs. I got them when I was young, so young that I was not the best parent to them over the first few years. I made mistakes that first time dog parents, especially young ones, often make. I left them alone inside the house for long amounts of time while I was out having fun, didn’t exercise them enough, and I fed them garbage food.
As time went by, they taught me to be a better mom. I made decisions better for all us. Moved us to different parts looking for a better life, moving us to a city that was going to have more places for them to play, took into consideration their nutrition, and ultimately made decisions to insure that my pups would enjoy life and be with me as long as possible. They were my true family.
Jake passed away in 2009, and when he left, it was me and my sidekick Penny every day. She joined me at work, took even better care of me than she had ever before.
Penny had been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy in 2011. It’s a rare genetic disease that renders a dog paralyzed. Gina and I decided we were going to do everything we could to keep Penny going, even with this diagnosis. She had physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki, dog wheels, and lastly, a stroller to keep her moving.
She had an intense zest for life my Penny did. She was spicy and stubborn……. certainly she was my dog.
We were intent to keep her around as long as she wanted to be. She had become the matriarch in our own home. Gina had fallen in love with sweet P early on in their relationship, and would do anything for her.
While I would travel for work, Gina would be ‘single mom’ with Jack and Penny. She took such amazing care of P even with her now more demanding health needs. I was always so happy to return home to my family. All 4 of us together again.
When Penny was still going strong, we wanted to make our family bigger. We made the decision to try to have a 2 legged kid, after all these years of just us and the fur kids. We were so very excited when we got pregnant for so many reasons, but one of them was that we knew Penny would get to meet the next generation of our family. She’s just one of those dogs, and I wanted our child to know this amazing creature, and at least have pictures with her. We dreamed of this picture of our newborn babe leaned up against a curled up Penny.
Her health had started to decline over the last 6 months, and in January we thought she was going to be leaving us. We talked with our animal communicator who reassured us she wasn’t ready yet. This entire time we were just hoping she’d stay long enough to meet Luca.
And she did her best to make that happen. She stayed, and before we could have them meet face to face, Luca died.
I have to make the picture of Luca and Penny together, up in my mind. And I do.
Luca left, and we were so heartbroken. When we arrived back home from the hospital, we found solace in our pups. Penny’s health gave us something to focus on, and she was as spicy as ever when we got back. It’s like she was waiting for us to come home so we could take care of each other.
And she held on as long as she could. We had a vet come to our home and let Penny go.
She passed on while we were holding her. The second loved one to die in our arms in less than two months.
I told her how much I loved her. That she was the best dog ever. That she taught me so much, and I was going to miss her every day of my life. And I cried. I feel like the last two months have just been filled with tears, but also with so much love.
This song is currently on repeat. Though about a different experience, the songs speaks to me and hits me in the deepest part of my heart, especially these lyrics:
‘ the reason I hold on
cause I need this hole gone
funny you’re the broken one but i’m the only one who needed saving
cause when you never see the lights it’s hard to know which one of us is caving
……..I want you to stay’
I wish they could have stayed.