Labor Day weekend is always a tough one for me. On the Thursday just prior, 1998, Matthew woke up and said, “Mama, I’m going out in the backyard to say ‘good morning’ to the dogs.”
A few moments later, he yelled for me. “Mama, Lady won’t wake up.”
My heart sank.
Sure enough, our beloved Golden Retriever, Lady, had died in her sleep. We’d had her for 13 1/2 years, after the neighbors abandoned her, the vet literally brought her back from the brink of death, and I nursed her for many months.
At the same time, my beautiful T.C., pictured with me above in 1982, was dying. And I was selfishly prolonging the inevitable.
Later that day, as I was on the phone talking with my good friend, Clint Ritchie, who loves his animals, especially his 35 or so horses and several dogs, more than any human being, T.C. was on my lap. As I told Clint about Lady and the fact that T.C., who was 18 years old, was slipping away slowly but inevitably, he said, “Honey, sometimes you just have to do the right thing for the animal. Then you go behind the barn, have yourself a good cry, and get on with life.”
I knew he was right.
So I took T.C. to the vet the day after Labor Day. When the vet acknowledged that she was indeed dying and probably fairly miserable, I knew I had to take Clint’s advice. Walking out to the car without her remains one of the most difficult moments of my life and even though that was 1998, I still miss her every day and am fighting the tears as I write this.
You see, she was the first pet I ever had. Growing up, our parents never allowed us to have any pets. Ironically, one of the first things my sister and I did as adults was adopt one.
So T.C. remains in my heart. I’ve loved so many other pets since then, including these two spoiled little
brats lovies, but T.C. will always remain, in some ways, the most special.