This past week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life as I buried my ‘baby’ a week ago today. Sixteen and a half years ago my parents gave me the best earthly Christmas gift I ever received; my dog Skeeter. Those who know me know that Skeeter has been my baby, my buddy, my protector and my constant companion for all these years. Now, without him here, my heart is just so incredibly broken and lonely.
Nine months ago, Skeeter was diagnosed with an inoperable plasma cell tumor. Knowing his days were numbered, I treasured him and my time with him even more. Because of the location of his tumor and the medication he was on, over the last several months I would get up with him anywhere between 1 – 3 times a night to let him out. Even though I’d be half asleep, I treasured the extra time with Skeeter, knowing our time together was not forever. Yet, it wasn’t even the cancer that forced me to put him down, rather an accident last Saturday that paralyzed his hind legs. Despite the heart wrenching pain of thinking about ending his life, I just could not let him go on suffering that way, unable to ever walk again. I held Skeeter while the doctor administered the drugs to ‘put him to sleep’ and then continued to hold him for quite some time. As tears streamed down my cheeks I murmured, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)
Skeeter used to lick my tears when I’d cry. I sure have had some for him to lick this week. I knew it would be hard when this day came, but never did I imagine it’d be as hard as it has been. The “heartbeat at my feet” is no more. While he was just a dog, God used Skeeter in countless ways to bring me love and life and help fill areas of my heart that otherwise would have had greater voids not being married yet nor having kids. I’ve learned that love is love. I never gave Skeeter less love because he was a dog…I just gave him love and in return he gave me his love unconditionally.
Skeeter and I both had many physical challenges and surgeries in our time together. We made quite the pair, but a great team nonetheless. Skeeter gave me the gift of being needed. He trusted me and depended on me to care for him. Many times this week I have cried, “I want my baby”. I want to love on him, care for him and make him happy and safe. I believe God created us not only with a need to be loved, but with a need to love as well. I’ve always feared falling in love someday with the man God has for me, only to lose him ‘too soon’. Skeeter’s death has caused me more pain than I ever imagined, but this I will say… the 16 ½ years of companionship I had with him was worth the intensity of the pain I have right now. In the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”. While I can no longer hold my baby in my arms, I will forever hold him in my heart.
*Thank you to all my family and friends who have poured out their love and support to me through cards, flowers, dinners, calls, texts, emails and mostly prayers…you will never know the blessing you have been to me.