We all know that when Marley in the movie, Marley and Me, begins to go downhill, that's the part of the movie we turn off because it becomes too challenging to handle. It has come to that part in my Nala's life that I wish I could turn off and not watch. She has been steadily going downhill for a while, but yesterday, God really hit the fast forward button on the remote of life for her. I had to say a very heartfelt goodbye to my baby girl this morning. Nala has been in my life for almost 12 years. She has been the greatest dog that one could ever wish for, and as cliche as that sounds, it's 110% true.
The look on Nala's face lately has said a thousand words. If Nala would've been able to talk or I was able to read her mind, it probably would've went something like this:
My snout rubbed up against the crisp blades of the freshly cut green grass that covered Gary and Judy's front lawn. My old sniffer wasn't in it's most prime state, but I could still smell all of the little squirrels and chipmunks that have scampered across the surface of the lawn. Speaking of sniffing, I was getting a glorious whiff of something cooking in the air. What was that? Chicken? No, no, no. It smelled like...turkey? YES. The scent of the meat brewing in the air reminded me of the turkey that I knocked off the dining room table that one Thanksgiving holiday and devoured, and not to mention the package of cheese that was still in its wrapping. It was a lot prettier going in, but not so much going out. (Sorry, Momma)
I began to gander over to where my nostrils were telling me to go, but my hips said otherwise. They have been aching for months now, and I wish I could tell Daddy, or someone...anyone. And that's when they gave out. My bony body collapsed to the grass and my legs sprawled out in all different directions. In that moment, I knew I wasn't going to get their leftovers. I knew that I wasn't ever going to get another piece of peanut butter toast. But most importantly, I knew that my spot in doggie heaven was soon about to become occupied.
Everyone's eyes were watching my every move. I could hear words like "vet" and "pain", and from past experiences I've seen with some of my other doggie friends, I generally knew that those two words didn't mean anything good. Daddy scooped me up in his arms and carefully placed me in the passenger seat of his truck, my favorite riding spot. I used to love going for car rides, but now it was more of an inconvenience because of my damn hips.
Momma and Lauryn baby set up a nice bed for me in the living room, and did the same for themselves. Momma brought out her favorite afghan blanket I always saw her snuggle with and made herself as comfy as she could on the couch. Lauryn baby arranged a sea of blankets on the floor next to me. The floor isn't exactly luxurious, but it made my old thumping heart happy to know she would endure one night of it for me. I overhead Momma on the phone using her "I'm talking to someone else other than my friends" voice, so I knew she must have been making formal arrangements for me. Maybe tomorrow I would finally be released from all of this pain I couldn't communicate to anyone.
It was a hot, sticky, and humid night. I tried to keep my panting mouth shut, but I just couldn't help it. My unquenchable thirst was getting the best of me, which resulted in a restless night for everyone in the house. Lauryn baby brought me an ice cream bucket filled with cool water many times throughout the night, but nothing could satisfy my dry mouth. Momma stroked my silky-soft ears all night long. I loved a good ear rub. My family gave me the best pampering and massages one could possibly give.
The next morning, Momma's phone rang, and again she answered in her formal speaking voice. It was a brief phone call, and afterwards everyone was wiping tears from their eyes, and Lauryn baby was hugging me tight. She left for a moment and came back holding the plastic bag that contained my chewy cookies.
"Mumma, there's one last chewy cookie in the bag." Lauryn choked out with obvious sadness and despair in her voice. She set down the chewy cookie in front of my paws and I graciously began gnawing at my final treat.
After I polished the treat off, Daddy helped me get up, but to my surprise, this time I could do it on my own. He led me outside to give my bladder some relief. I still couldn't squat anymore use the bathroom, so I just had to stand like I normally do. In the twelve seconds I was standing there, I watched Momma tuck in an old bedsheet into the backseat of her car. This must have meant that I was about to go for a ride, hopefully one final ride.
Lauryn baby sat with me in the backseat and rubbed my distended belly the whole way to wherever Daddy was driving us to. My heart began to pick up it's pace, and my panting went from a minuscule level to overboard very quickly. I think Lauryn must've gotten a little car sick on the way there, because she was complaining of how rancid my breath smelled.
The car finally came to a hault, and the backseat door popped open. Daddy cautiously lifted me out of the back, and I began to roam around a little bit around the ranch style building. As Daddy would call it, I did my little "bunzers" and I was then led into the building by my pink and brown polka dotted collar.
My sniffer went into full commando mode as I explored the rooms of this familiar place. I think I've been here before, maybe for shots or something else I absolutely hated. A heavier set woman I haven't become acquainted with yet kept calling my name to try and get me to settle down on a fleece blanket she had sprawled out on the floor. I was getting special treatment, that's for sure. All of the ear scratching, neck rubbing, and kisses were making me feel so comfortable and like I could just doze off and never wake up at any moment.
After I finally laid down, the heavy set lady shaved a section of hair from one of my back legs. For whatever she was doing it for, I'm surprised she needed to shave a section off at all. My legs had been losing all of the hair on them for months now. The lady stuck one of those pointy needles into my leg, and I felt the fluid rush through my aching body. Man, it felt quite soothing actually. What was happening?! My pain was disappearing! Who was this incredible woman healing my legs and where has she been all my life? Momma, Lauryn baby, and Daddy's love and passion towards me increased as they sobbed into my neck. My vision was slowly going away, but the more it faded, the more at peace I began to feel. My bloated belly began to feel not so nauseous anymore, my rapid heart beat that always made me so warm was finally settling down, and I began to feel the most alive I've ever felt in a very long time.
All of a sudden, I was hovering over the scene, looking at my people gathered around this yellow lab doggie and showering it with kisses and love as they whispered, "I'll see you soon, babygirl." Daddy had a very broken and depressed look on his face. Was he crying? Yes, Daddy was! I've never seen Daddy cry before, and that makes me sad. I love him so much. I love them all so much. They've been so good to me. All of those times I ran away and was naughty, they never loved me any less. As I hovered over this dog my people were gathered around, I began to think, "Hey, it kind of looks like me!" Well, I'll come back to them later to see what this whole situation was about, but for now, I was going to go run freely for miles on end, chase all of those damn mice that escaped my captivity years back, and let my inner puppy do what it's been anxiously waiting to do for a long time.
Nala girl, you were and always will be my best friend. I loved coming home to be greeted by your bubbly personality and puppy face. Remember when I went away for that one month a few years back? The only reason I wanted to come home was because I missed you immensely. Seeing your happy tail-wagging self as soon as I returned home made every night away worth it. I could go on and on about everything I will miss about you, but there is one thing I won't miss...and that is your stinky rotten-egg smelling toots. I'm not handling you being gone very well, but I know that we will meet up again someday, and I can hold you for the rest of eternity, blissfully and pain-free. I love you so much.
This blog post is dedicated to Nala Wala Ding Dong. Rest in peace, baby-girl. You're free now.