Saying good-bye to a beloved friend

 

August 8, 2019

Her name was Ollie (short for Olivia), and she came into our lives seven years ago in the summer of 2012. She was half poodle, half shih tzu. She was small, blonde, puppy-like and absolutely adorable.

We saw her picture on the Odessa Virtual Yard Sale site, immediately fell in love with that face and set up a time to meet her. We had tossed around the idea of getting a dog, though such a small one had never entered our minds. But once we met Ollie, we were hers. There was no question as to who belonged to whom. She may have been a little dog, but her personality was huge.

Living with Ollie was definitely a joy. Sometimes I honestly think she was more human than dog. Her eyes weren’t the eyes of a normal canine. Ollie had wise eyes that looked human and actually showed emotion. When you spoke to her, I swear she understood and knew exactly what you were saying. If you got angry and cursed, she would leave the room as if you had offended her. If she was happy to see you and you said, “Come here,” and patted your chest, she would jump into your arms. Then she’d wrap her paws around your neck and hug you tight. If I laughed real hard and loud, she would jump up on me and push her chest forcefully into my face, which made me laugh harder and in turn made her push harder. And Ollie smiled, with the biggest and best smile I have ever seen on a dog.


When we first took her in, Ollie was very skittish and shy. She was afraid of everyone and everything new. If someone approached her, she hid behind one of us. It took about a year to get her over that anxiety, but when she finally did, no one was a stranger and she approached virtually everyone with total enthusiasm.

I was never one of those pet owners who called myself “mommy.” If someone told Ollie, “OK, now go to mommy.” I’d say, “Nope. I am not her mommy. She’s my dog, not my kid.” I also never thought I would be the type of owner who would wind up being an emotional wreck when I lost that pet.

Ollie died last Thursday morning, and every day since, I have been so emotionally fragile that I am a total train wreck. Every morning my first thought is to let her outside, and I still try to put little treats in her dish. I swear I hear her claws clicking in the hallway.

It all happened so quickly. One day she started peeing at random locations in the house. As a very intelligent but also spoiled dog, we chalked it up to her being mad and throwing a tantrum because she wasn’t getting enough attention. We started letting her out more frequently, and that seemed to solve the problem. We also noticed that she was drinking a lot of water. But the weather had turned a lot warmer, and Ollie had always been heat sensitive.

When I returned home from visiting family in Tucson, I noticed that she had lost weight and her fur seemed different. It felt kind of weird, and wasn’t as thick. Then one day (seemingly overnight), I came home from work to an Ollie who didn’t respond when talked to and didn’t have the energy to walk. We worried about her making it through the night, but it was too late to take her in to the vet’s office that night. We took her in the next day. They did blood work but were unable to get a urine sample because she was too dehydrated. When the doctor showed me the lab results, they were so off-the-charts high it was unreal. I was told that the most humane thing I could do was to put her down.

It all happened so fast! I still don’t understand how Ollie was so suddenly nothing but skin and bones and not going to make it. How could she be so sick and not complain or whine one single time? How could we not see it?

Ollie passed away from complications caused by diabetes, which in turn was a secondary disease caused by pancreatic cancer. She would have required daily insulin which would have been expensive and even then not a guarantee.

At times I’ve heard people say, “It’s just a dog.” Often I have agreed with them, but not any more. Now if someone said that to me I’d have to say that it’s not true. She wasn’t just a dog, she was our Ollie. She was so special. Her loss has left me and my family more emotionally broken than I ever thought possible. I believe it will be quite awhile before we can even begin to heal.

 

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