Lily - you were really the best dog anyone could have asked for. You are sweet and kind and gentle. You have been beside me on so many of life's adventures and I honestly feel like I'm being robbed of a few more years with you. Ten years ago almost to the day I picked you up on 4th of July weekend from Freeport. You were born just a few months earlier (on April 1st, just one day before my own birthday). I was so excited to have a friend that would stick by me through thick and thin.
You put up with me all through grad school when I'd work a full day and then go to night school in the evenings. I'd drop you off at doggie daycare so you weren't stuck home alone in my condo on Winnemac for 14+ hours those days. You moved with me from there to Aurora and now here to Hampshire. Three moves in just 10 years.
You helped us teach Staley how to be a good dog and we've always said she's far more Golden Retriever than German Sheppard and I think that is all because of you. You taught her how to not chew things up (mostly) and how to be good while we were gone at work. You taught her how to fetch the ball and how to be gentle.
You've watched as our family grew from just you and I to a whole houseful of family. You were there when we brought both babies home from the hospital and I didn't worry one single bit that you wouldn't be gentle to them. That's just who you are....a gentle giant. I don't know that Hazel will remember you but I am dreading explaining your absence to Abby. These past few weeks as you've shuffled back and forth to my parents house for vet visits Abby has always asked about you and when you were coming home.
I'm not sure what it will be like not having you around. I regret every single day that I didn't remember to give you a pat on the head and tell you how much you were loved. You loved us unconditionally and as life got busy I may have forgotten to remind you that we love you back just as much as you love us.
You were so smart and so good. As much as the thought of having three dogs around gives me anxiety, part of me wishes you were still here to train another little puppy to be just like you. I hope that Grandpa Milt is up in heaven throwing the ball for you and Copper, Chloe and Grace. I hope that you have doggie friends and people that love you just as much as I do. They'll take care of you for me...I know it.
There is a very big hole in my heart today and I'm having a hard time imagining what it will be like to come home these next few days and not have you there to great me with your tail wagging. To not have you there sniffing at our hands in the middle of the night with your cold wet nose or to not hear you flop (not so gracefully) to the ground every night under our bed. You will be missed more than you know and we love you so much. You were the best dog and my heart is breaking for you today.