dog with a sleep hat on

My Little Princess

My cellphone was on mute, but from the corner of my eye I noticed her name and sensed it was going to be sad news. I gave myself a moment before answering. My attempt at preparing myself did not ease the pain I felt for her as she told me she had to put Rex, her best friend of 17 years, to sleep.

She is a dear friend in New York, and here I am in Atlanta wanting to hug her.

That same week, Kevin and I took Princess to the vet to have a tumor on her back leg checked. The vet noticed a number of lumps and suggested we think about having them biopsied. We decided we would stick to our original plan and agreed to needle biopsy just the one on her leg. A few days later we learned there were cells that indicated she had cancer.

My friend would understand how angry I am. She would understand my fear of not knowing what to do next.  She would listen to my ranting about how Princess is already on medication for high liver enzymes and had already undergone two knee surgeries. At age 11, how much more can we put Princess through?  My friend would also understand my question: How much more can we afford?

I had to be strong for my dear friend that day, for she was in far more pain than I could imagine.

I told her the words she already knew in her heart; that Rex felt how loved he was and knew it was time to say good-bye. I listened and comforted her when she explained the guilt of having to make the decision.

I glanced over at Princess, who was sitting next to me. Sometimes she makes lots of noise and thinks life really sucks, which are the same thoughts I am having lately. The difference is that once I give her a hug, kiss or, most important, food, she is back to wagging her tail because life is good. She knows how to let it go.

Princess worries only about the moment she is in, and right now she’s looking at me, for it is our routine time to go out. I can see through that beautiful bright face that she is saying, “I am fine, Mom. Can we go walking now?”

Tomorrow we will make an appointment with a surgeon to discuss options for Princess, but we are not making any decisions until we know all the facts.

My friend in New York knew the decision was right, and I know Kevin and I will do the same.  There are no wrong decisions when they are made with unconditional love.

Our pets are here only a little while, but they are our greatest teachers. Don’t stay mad long, hug and kiss, and don’t stress, for it takes away from the light of living.

OK, Princess, time to take our walk now. We have no idea where the road is going to lead us. But we know you will always be the shining light in our lives.