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Cowardly Heart of Love

It will be two years this coming Halloween that we had to say goodbye to our seven year old Dachshund, Daisy. From the moment my husband and son gifted me with this precious pup I was in love. Just didn't know how much a pup could change me, teach me, and bring such joy to my life. 

I've written about Daisy many times. She was not only smarter than most people I know, she was funny contagious. Her personality shined through every antic and her heart shown mighty big through each time she stayed near my side when I wasn't feeling good. I tell you, that pup knew when a migraine was about to hit. 

She loved without fault. She knew no limit of time. When we left the house, no matter for ten minutes or three hours, when we returned it was like we had been gone for months. I still can't think of her without a smile and a tear ready to fall. I never knew it was possible to miss a pup so much. But for those seven years she graced our home we were side by side. Everything thing I did throughout the day she was with me. 

Early this morning I was dreaming and in my dream there she was running through the house ninety miles an hour, spinning as her feet hit the curve of the kitchen, sliding around and then heading off to go at it again. I sat up in bed expecting to see her. But she wasn't to be. It was just a dream, but one that brought sweetness to my heart. 

When Daisy was about three she hurt her back. That first time was serious and extremely painful for her, but she recovered after nearly eight weeks of being still. Try that with a Dachshund LOL. Not an easy feat. That wouldn't be her last back injury. They would come more frequent and as she grew older it would take longer for her to heal. Just as she had always been at my side, I too was next to her, praying, and helping to bring her to healing. But this last time was much too serious. She had never been in such pain. I knew. My husband knew. It was time to say goodbye. 

Years before I had made a promise that I wouldn't just keep Daisy here for my own selfishness. But to say goodbye would break my heart. But I prayed that I would know when that time came that I would know what to do. 

It was Halloween day. I was waiting for my husband to get home so we could go see our grands all decked out in their Superman and Wonder-woman costumes. Daisy had been recovering from her last bout with her back. I knew it was taking longer than usual and felt something was wrong. My husband and son walked through the door and Daisy moved wrong and that was it. She was wretched with pain like never before. I knew I had to call our veterinarian immediately. He couldn't come to us right away and we couldn't move Daisy to drive her to him. So, we waited and it was excruciating. 

My husband, the farmer, who had never been attached to any kind of animal, loved this pup as much as me. He looked at me through tears and said, "Babe, go to your mom's house and I will call you after Gavin has left. You can't be here. It's too much for you." Through tears, "I can't leave Daisy. But how I can I watch her in such pain?" I got down on the floor and snuggled up close to Daisy. I kissed her head and ran my fingers through her fur as gently as I could and shared with her that I loved her. She knew she was loved. Daisy was a pup that seemed to speak with her eyes straight through to the heart.

I went to my mom's house and met my daughters with the grands. My husband knew that with me at Daisy's side was causing her to move even more and it was better if he could be with her quietly and wait for Gavin. I sat at my moms with tears streaming as I shared with my mom that Steve was waiting on Gavin to come. My mom cried with me. I seen my grands and oh, they gave me such a blessing. How could I not be there at home with my husband? What was wrong with me? Was I such a coward that I couldn't be there? Yes, I was. I have carried that with me every day. 

My phone rang. Through tears my husband said, "Rob, you can come home now". I drove in silence. Nothing but tears streaming. How could I walk into our home and not see Daisy meet me at the door? How could I not see that living room curtain move as her poked her little head through to see who was home? 

You know, I think my husband needed that time alone with Daisy. It had always been me with her for weeks and weeks, sleeping next to her on the floor while my hubs was working and unable to be with her. He wrapped his arms around Daisy and as Gavin entered our home. As much pain as Daisy was in she was still excited to see him. 

I came home that evening. I walked into the kitchen and picked up Daisy's favorite blanket and covered my face in it. I noticed only half of it was there. I looked at my husband. He knew my question. This man, this farmer, my husband, looked at me and said, "Babe, it was her favorite. It's what I wrapped her when I buried her". My heart broke for him. He carried Daisy outdoors that evening, wrapped in her blanket and buried her in our yard. How could I have allowed him to do all of that alone? 

Even though almost two years has passed my heart still aches over not being there. I wasn't there for Daisy and I wasn't there to walk through this moment my husband nor I had ever faced before. I feel like such a coward. I can tell you that I have yet to share my heart with my husband. Even as I write these words I feel ashamed that I wasn't here. I know he asked me to go. He knew my heart. He knew this wasn't a situation that was going to just pass. He was protecting me. But in the same time I should have told him, "No, I'm not leaving you. I will sit right here with you and Daisy". 

See, the truth is, I wish I could go back in time to that day. I would have held her a little tighter so she didn't wriggle out of my arms and injure herself more. She was always so excited when her family came home. I would have taken more time and not been in such a rush to leave the house that day. Most of all I would have remained at the side of my husband, the man with a heart that has grown the size of Texas. Saying goodbye to Daisy was one of the most difficult moments in my life. 

But, if I'm honest I have to admit that if I could go back I wouldn't have wanted to be there. What does that say about me? I hope I get to see this little one again one day. I don't know how all that works. Maybe I will see her in heaven. Maybe God has a special place for those pets that have truly brought healing and so much love to our hearts. I do know I still miss her. Still think about her each day I drop food while cooking or see a dryer sheet float to the floor. When you have a pup everything about your day seems to move around them. She certainly left a love print on my heart. 

It's been almost two years and I'm still working these emotions out in my heart. I had been there for Daisy every single time. I never left her. But here, in this moment when she needs me the most, I left her. She wasn't alone. She was with my husband, her buddy. They were such friends. Amazing how this pup changed the heart of my husband and created room for more grace in his heart.

Friendship with a pup is life lasting. No matter how much time we share with our pets they leave an imprint on our heart that changes us. God certainly knew what He was doing when He opened our home to this beautiful Diva. Our lives will be forever blessed. I know without a doubt she would forgive me. She was my friend. My companion for seven years. She was a pup full of life and love. That's exactly what she brought into our lives. We still have her leash wrapped around the front door. I'm not sure how long it will remain there, but for now, it's our way of saying, we will always remember


Debbie Dillon said…
Oh my gosh, you really pulled at my heart strings with this one, Rob. Hard to believe it's already been 2 years. I know she meant the world to you.
Love you, friend.
The unconditional love of our sweet pets makes the good-byes so very painful. Daisy knew how much you loved her, and she was blessed. You have a very special husband, also. These little fur ladies sure know how to wrap our big guys around their little paws. Praying you find comfort in the sweet memories, while knowing there's never a perfect way to say "good-bye." Beautiful post.
The unconditional love of our sweet pets makes the good-byes so very painful. Daisy knew how much you loved her, and she was blessed. You have a very special husband, also. These little fur ladies sure know how to wrap our big guys around their little paws. Praying you find comfort in the sweet memories, while knowing there's never a perfect way to say "good-bye." Beautiful post.
Robin Prater said…
Debbie and Nancy, you girls have blessed me so very much! You both seem to always know exactly what to say. Thank you for sharing your sweet words with me. Love both of you:)

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