Just before Thanksgiving we had to put our dog down. It took us all by surprise. Yes, she was old, especially for a big dog; she was a Rottweiler mix or maybe purebred, but a runt. Yes, she had back problems. Yes, she had thyroid issues. But she seemed fine, only she wasn’t. It turns out she had cancer and it had spread to a number of different organs. We think she wasn’t showing signs of distress before the day she passed because she was on pain medication for her back. Our only solace is that she didn’t have to suffer long.
Princess was what the SPCA called a “project dog”. They suspected she was abused, used only for breeding, and never socialized. She was literally the poster dog for fear aggression. She would need a lot of attention. We were given the number of the head trainer at the shelter and told to call anytime we needed help. My husband and I didn’t let that scare us. Yes, we had to bring lots of treats with us on walks. Yes, we had to make sure she was in another room when people came to the house. Yes, she would freeze when a scary, tiny dog would come close to her. But when it came to us, her family, she was all love. Unlike the dog we had before her, who was sassy and independent, Princess was a mushy little lap dog at heart who always wanted to be in the same room as one of us.
There was a lot of talk about people getting dogs during the COVID lockdown and how hard it was going to be for the dogs when their people went back to work in person. I think they had it backward. I loved having Princess lay at my feet when I was working from home and I’m pretty sure I missed her more than she missed me when I went back work in person. I was so lucky to have been able to spend that extra time with her before she left us.
I miss her everyday, but some days, like today, it will hit me so hard, like it just happened. Then I just have to remind myself that she was well-loved and so were we.