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Good bye, sweet boy

Willie-10

Sometimes, photos lie. Or rather they can be skewed to show only a certain perspective. I was a bit concerned that I would not be able to do Willie any justice, but he looks happy and full of life in the photos I took yesterday. In reality, he was very old and deteriorating quickly. Our short photo shoot wiped him out. Willie was 17 years old. He'd been a part of my life for the last 8 years. In the year since I had seen him last, he had gone from a sprightly dog to one that struggled to go up the stairs and tripped over his own feet. He had suffered a stroke last year and he never recovered. He labored to breathe and had that raspy breathing that senior dogs sometimes have. He could barely hear and had developed cataracts. Simply put, he had gotten old and it broke my heart. Taking photos of Willie was only part of the reason for my trip to Houston. I came to Houston to say "goodbye".

After much agonizing, Cicely decided to have him put to sleep. His illnesses had become more frequent and his quality of life dramatically altered. After watching several loved ones suffer deteriorating terminal illness, she did not want the same fate for the dog we all loved so much. I asked to accompany her when she took Willie to the vet. I owed him that much.
Willie Kisses - B & W photo - Summer 2001

Willie had been with me during a particularly rough patch in my life. I had suffered a severe bout of depression and a small breakdown in my mid-20s. For days when I was trapped by my depression, Willie kept me company and gave me the unconditional affection that only a dog can give. Had it not been for Cicely and Willie, I don't know if I would have weathered that storm. Willie was also the source of hilarity for Cicely and me. We took to dressing him up in costumes for Halloween and Christmas, which he loved. He played into my less than graceful nature. The misadventures of Anne and Willie are legendary. Cicely has a slew of stories of where Willie and I got into trouble. One of her favorites is from my 27th Birthday, a story which I will recount on another day. All of these memories, I will carry in my heart.

Last night, I stayed up all night. I couldn't sleep. I spent most of the night with Willie. He sat on the the floor next to me while I edited photos and wrote on my blog. Then, I caressed and petted him until he slept. When he woke from time to time, I told him how much he meant to me. I'd like to think that he already knew it, but I thought it needed to be said.

At 9:30 this morning, Cicely and I drove Willie to the vet. After an insensitive interaction with the receptionist and Vet tech, we were ushered into an exam room. The Vet examined him and began the procedure. We said our goodbyes and left the room. Five minutes later, the Vet emerged and told us that Willie had passed. Just like that, he was gone. Or rather he is physically gone. I believe that those that we love never really die and that in some way they stay with us.

Willie, wherever you are, thanks for being one of the best dogs a girl could have.

8 more coherent thought(s):

shrin said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Miriam

http://www.craigslistdecoded.info

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

anne i am bawling. i am so sorry for your loss but so thrilled for you that you had such an amazing friend in your life for so long!

Marisa@ temporarynewyorkers said...

this post makes me want to say "I love you"- because I do.

rebekah at ead living said...

hugging my dogs right now. :(

Sara | Stinkerpants! said...

OMG! I am so sorry!!

Lindsey said...

What an absolutely beautiful and touching entry. Your words made me choke up and your images are beautifully captured. I am so sorry for your loss.

Tahoebound2009 said...

I'm tearing up too.
I'm so glad you got to make this trip out to see him and your friend through this.

Sweet T said...

thank you for sharing this story. what a touching tribute to a sweet companion.

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