To Birdie, With Love.
Birdie died this year. We made the decision to let our sweet old girl go on April 4th.
Birdie had kidney disease for months, but in the final week of March the disease finally began taking its toll on her little 15 year old body. We didn’t want her to suffer, so we said goodbye.
Just a month before that, our cat Gus died suddenly of congestive heart failure.
Losing Gus and Birdie back to back was devastating. 2017 was a really hard year.
I’ve wanted to write a loving tribute to Birdie for months.
Since 2011, I’ve been sharing stories about my life with her on this blog. I felt like I owed it to her to write about her death here. And to write something spectacular, because she deserves that and then some.
I haven’t been able to do it. Writing about her death makes it feel so real. Like losing her again, on another level. Up until now it just hurt too much to do it.
And nothing – NOTHING – I write now feels good enough.
But now the year is coming to an end, I feel like it’s the right time to say goodbye to her here. To wait any longer feels wrong.
Many of you read about Birdie’s experience with physical therapy on this blog and I hear from lots of you through email, asking for updates on how Birdie is doing today.
I haven’t been able to reply to those emails all year. Now you know why.
Thank you for letting me share my life with Birdie with all of you. Losing her has helped me to realize that it’s time for me to bring my writing here to a close too.
This chapter of my life feels like it’s come to an end. I have loved writing this blog more than you know, even if I haven’t written much here the past couple of years.
I guess I was avoiding this ending too.
But I want to honor my girl and this space with a real goodbye.
I shared a version of what’s written below with friends and family back in April. I thought I could and should write something better for the blog, but I haven’t been able to do that. Maybe I don’t have to.
Birdie was a straightforward dog. Loving her was not complicated.
So I’ll keep it simple and true:
Birdie’s 15 year old body was ready to rest, but we were not ready to let her go. We would gladly take another nine years with her.
Birdie spent the first six years of her life in a shelter in Arkansas and somehow, in this world overflowing with dogs and people, she found her way to our home, just two months after we moved to Maine.
That was almost ten years ago.
Thank you Universe for keeping her safe all of those years until we were ready for her.
Birdie belonged with us.
She was the sweetest, gentlest, old soul.
This is what she loved:
Taking naps in the sun, rolling in the grass, going on vacation with us in the summer, digging holes to lie in and munching on bugs in the dirt, being our co-pilot in the car, taking walks to smell all the smells, meeting little kids, and having her ears rubbed.
Not once did she let me forget when it was time for dinner.
Which was 3pm. On the dot.
If we weren’t home at that time, we’d drive home laughing and shouting up the road, “We’re coming Bird! Dinner is coming!”
Birdie barked once every other year, just so we would know she could.
She mostly snuffled at us. I hope I never forget that sound.
There are so many details about her body, her personality, our life together. I want to share them all as some sort of public declaration and documentation of how much she was loved.
But I know I don’t have to do that. So I’m going to keep those tiny treasures for myself.
Birdie was a tough old girl. She lived until the wheels came off her busted little body.
Our hearts have been broken all year with missing her.
Birdie Dog, we love you.
Thank you for waiting so long for us to find you, so that we could be your family.
Until we meet again sweet girl.
Thank you to Almost Home Rescue for bringing Birdie to us. Thank you to her foster family for caring for Birdie. Thank you to the staff at Lone Pine who cared for her for 6 years. Thank you to Gayle for taking care of Birdie’s aches and pains and for holding her head up so she could swim. Thank you to the staff at Pine Point Vet Hospital for taking such good care of Birdie (and me) all the way to the very last moments. Your kindness will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone who cared about Birdie over the years. Thank you.
One last note: This is almost it. I have one more blog to write here at NFADW, so I can share where I’m going in 2018 and how we can stay in touch. So I’ll see you again in this spot once more.
Lots of love to all of you in this new year.