Sunday evening Mattie Gray, our beloved 11 1/2 year old Weimaraner, fell ill. Her stomach had been upset several times over the years and usually it was nothing. So we decided to move her bed into our bedroom and close the door keeping her with us for observation until morning. Around midnight I awoke to go to the bathroom and found her under our bed swollen and moaning. Her tummy was full of gas and I knew she needed immediate care. My husband and I scooped her up and headed to the emergency care facility in town. We were in our pajamas, frantic, but trying our best to save our dog. An assistant brought out a cart to carry Mattie Gray when we arrived. My husband and I agreed to x-rays, blood work, basically whatever it would take to save her. We loved our girl with all our hearts. Still do. X-rays showed that her stomach had flipped requiring surgery or euthanasia and we opted for surgery. We went home and waited for a call. I was certain that she would be fine and we would be able to bring her home in a couple of days. Sadly, we received a call around 4:00 Monday morning and were informed that her stomach was in bad shape and euthanasia was the most humane option.
Even though Mattie Gray was in her golden years, we still saw the playful puppy in her. Sunday was like any other day. We took her for a walk, she chased squirrels, and she still had her ridiculously funny ways that made us laugh. Life was good. In the back of my mind, I knew her days were numbered (the average life expectancy of a Weim is around 11-12), but I didn't think we would lose her that day.
We've had to put dogs to sleep before and know firsthand that it is never easy. Whether sudden or slow, saying good-bye to a pet is one of the most painful experiences - even when it's "the right thing to do". The only difference this time around was that Mattie Gray was the sister to our boys. She was the dog our sons grew up with. She was a friend when we needed one, the goober when we needed a good laugh, the watchdog who kept us safe because enemies where everywhere :), a friend to many and always, always our faithful companion.
The other thing that makes this so painful is that in the past we always had a dog to come home to. Mattie Gray was an "only dog". So there's no one here to greet us when we come home. There's no dog here to hug and devote all our attention to - she gave the best hugs by the way.
There's no dog here to bark to let us know someone is out there. My heart is empty. Everywhere I look I see signs of her. The nose prints on the windows, the toys she played with daily, her beds and blankie, treats on the kitchen counter. I could go on and on.
I know time heals all wounds, but Mattie Gray was an important member of our family. She taught us the true meaning of unconditional love - a great example for our sons. There was nothing like being greeted by her after a 5 minute or 5 hour outing! Both were equally enthusiastic greetings. It's so incredibly hard to know that we will never see her again and that this chapter of our lives is over. I'm sure in time we will reminisce and laugh about all the silly things she used to do. As Mom said, she lived a colorful life. And that she did.
Mattie Gray, may you have endless dog treats, long sniff walks, and turn down service every night. Thank you for being part of our family. We miss you so much sweet girl. There will never be another you.