Abby and Dylan

by Barbara Murray
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On November 30, 2016, my heart was broken. I had to make the decision to end Abby’s suffering from an incurable kidney disease. She was my little girl and I loved her like I would have loved a human child. I was her "Momma" and there was no telling either of us anything different.

Abby’s mother had been bred so many times that her tiny body was tired, she would not, or could not nurse Abby; the rest of the litter died shortly after birth. My neighbor brought her to me and ask if I thought I could save her. I didn’t want, nor did I need a newborn pup to care for, but I could not say no.

Baby Abby opens her eyesI went out and gathered formula, bottles, a heating pad and anything else I could think of to try to save this baby. I went to the vet and asked them what I needed to do. I had never raised a newborn pup, kittens yes, but never a pup. The vet told me how to feed her, how to keep her warm, taught me how the mother dog would lick the pup to make it go to the bathroom. That’s where I drew the line. Thankfully the vet told me I could do it with a warm wet wash cloth.

I took her everywhere I went, even to work. I weighed her daily in the work mailroom to make sure she was growing appropriately. People at work loved her, she was cute and furry, and very funny. I would say, "Abby, where is Cujo?" She would ruffle her hair and growl like a mean and vicious dog. She was my everything.

Time went on, and she got too big for me to take her to work, and she stayed with a babysitter for almost a year while I was gone.

I still took her everywhere I safely could. She was my farm dog when I was working outside, she was my cat catching companion when I trapped feral cats. I talked to her just as if she was human, and she seemed to understand.

She started having skin issues, so we went to the vet. That’s where I found out she had a congenital kidney disease and would not be getting any better. We fought it as brave and as long as we could. Her interest in life and in being "Mommy’s Girl" faded as the pain increased.

November 30, 2016, was our final ride to the vet. Her kidneys had no function at all. I spoke with Dr. Carrie Darnaby and we came to the conclusion letting her go was the right thing to do. We did our last "kiss-kiss." I told her how very much I loved her. She curled into my arms as the life-ending liquid entered her veins ending her pain, and beginning mine.

I was sad, I was angry, I felt cheated that I only had her eight short years. The people that were breeding her mother was evidently just breeding blindly paying no attention to genetics. Backyard breeders apparently, and one of the many reasons I detest them. I felt defeated. I felt I failed as an animal caretaker, even though there was nothing I could have done.

It was almost Christmas, and I was missing my Girl, Momma’s baby, my Farm Dog, my little companion that went everywhere I could safely take her.

I tearfully packed away her things, her princess bed, her food and water bowls, her toys, her "chewys." There was nothing left but the memories, but oh, what memories I had of her.

On December 16, 2016, I heard a horn blow outside our front door. I go outside. A car window rolls down and my niece pulls hands me a tiny little black and white pup and says, "Merry Christmas."

I ran in the house and showed my friend, Vicki. She said, "Where did you get that puppy?"

I was astounded. All I could reply, "Car horn."

Instantly, again, I was in love. We named him Dylan. Now I'm raising this pup, totally smitten and amazed with how smart he is. His mom was a Chihuahua and his dad a Boston Terrier. I only learned today that they are called Bochi’s . He is a rescue out of Clay County, Kentucky. And the best Christmas present I could have gotten.

I have to add, that in no way is Dylan a replacement for Abby, nor the love she and I shared. I had a great amount of guilt about having another pup so soon. Abby knew I loved her, and I know now she understands that I needed Dylan, just as much as he needed me.

Dylan's story is to be continued, hopefully for many, many years to come . . . .

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