Let me go easy

When I got divorced, in 1999, I did volunteer work by fostering dogs with Gainesville Pet Rescue for a while. I fostered maybe 40 or 50 dogs over about a year, and each and every one of them got a loving home… but only one that I completely fell in love with. But the reason I was fostering, and not actively getting a Backup Dog for my Heidi, was that I didn’t have the money for a second dog. But I sure did have a lot of love. And then came this dog.

Come pleasure me again. I’m so tired of digging in.
I’ve done my share, don’t need to win, just let me go easy.
For two years my body fights; at this point it don’t seem right.
Just to do it out of spite and keep hanging on.

When I went to pick her up, Marlo had told me “I know you usually prefer older dogs, but we have a puppy and she really needs a place; the people who were fostering her can’t take her back.” So I went down to GPR. When I got in, there was only one dog. She was in one of the larger kennels, and still took up the entire thing. I looked at her, thought pretty, and then asked Marlo where the puppy was. She just kept giggling and looking at this behemoth in the box.

Go on let me go easy.
Won’t you let me go easy, you let me go right now.

It turns out this dog was not quite a year old, and big as a horse. She’d been dropped off at the shelter for getting too big. (Insert rageface here.) Within 12 hours I was smitten, and it broke my heart when I took her in for adoption day in a week, and she was adopted immediately. She was the only dog I’d taken care of so far that I just… see, the other dogs, I knew I wasn’t their Forever Home. I loved taking care of them, healing them from whatever they’d been through (I got a lot of hoarder and abuse cases because I turned out to be really good for them). But in each case I knew that I wasn’t the one to keep them forever. I was just a loving, healing stop on their journey. But this dog? This dog.


(need a good cry? Listen to this song while you’re looking at the pictures. YOU’RE WELCOME.)

Marlo called me again a couple of weeks later. How was I doing? Was I ready to take another dog? Specifically  would I re-take the dog I had just fostered? Because she’d been returned, for being “too much trouble.” I think I was down there getting her before I even hung up the phone.

So when you get to Ladenville, ‘fore the tears and the fare thee wells;
For a moment stand real still and you’ll feel me moving on.
Go ahead with your plans, you won’t be seeing me again;
But you’ll feel me in the hand, the hand that holds the plough.

But I still didn’t have the money to adopt her, which meant that I’d have to let her go again. I mean, I was so broke that I was renting out part of my house to a guy who worked for my dad*. A guy, it turned out, who did one of the sweetest things in the history of sweet things. See, it was almost my birthday. And he went around to all my friends and asked if they could donate five or ten dollars to a fund, to allow me to adopt this dog that I clearly could not be parted with. BEST. BIRTHDAY. PRESENT. EVER. It’s a present I’ve tried to take good care of for the last 14 years. But now… she’s  been getting more sore, and more not there, for a while. The pain medication may be helping with the arthritis  but a combination of the confusion it gives her and the dementia she’s sliding into …. I… She may be able to take it for a while, she is The Black Knight, after all, and it’s just a flesh wound so come back and she’ll bite you in the kneecaps… but I can’t. I can’t take it any more. She’s a shell of what she used to be; what made her Bridgett isn’t there any more, and it’s time to let her go. To let her go easy.

Let me go easy.
Go on let me go easy. Won’t you let me go easy,you let me go right now.
Let me go easy.
Go on let me go easy. Won’t you let me go easy,you let me go right now.

- The Indigo Girls

Bridgett. 1998-2013. A Good Dog.

Harold: Don’t die, Maude. For Christ’s sake. I love you.
Maude: Harold, that’s wonderful. Now go and love some more.

- Harold and Maude

* This guy, Charlie, later married a wonderful woman named Marcy. Charlie and Marcy named their first son after my father. At their wedding, which I attended with my friend Sharon, Sharon noticed this big bald guy who was kind of cute. That was Charlie’s brother, whom I had met a couple times when he would come to town for Gator games. I thought he was quiet, but didn’t really have an impression other than that. His name was Chris. Sharon and Chris started dating soon after the wedding, and that led him to move to Gainesville. Now they are married and as in love as two people can be. Thanks, dad, for sending me Charlie when I needed to rent out part of my house! We owe a lot to you!

PS. If you have my phone number, please don’t call me with your condolences. It’s not that the thought is not appreciated – it is – but I just can’t talk about this right now. If you see me in person a lot, I’ll bring it up when I’m ready. Thank you.

18 Comments

  1. nakhira February 19, 2013 4:37 pm Reply

    My tears, sympathies and condolences.
    Thank you for the splendid and heart-felt piece.

  2. AnneB February 19, 2013 6:10 pm Reply

    Sending love…

  3. quinn February 19, 2013 6:41 pm Reply

    I’ve been thinking of you all day. All my love.

  4. Jag February 19, 2013 6:45 pm Reply

    I love you, I love your big heart, and I hold you in my heart.
    Hugs from the North to our sister in the South.

  5. bonnie (aka AmpuTeeHee) February 19, 2013 7:10 pm Reply

    And just who is callin’ who awesome and brave and full of love.
    I am sending so much love.

    http://AmpuTeeHee.blogspot.com

  6. Katherine February 19, 2013 7:25 pm Reply

    Hardest decision to make for those of us who love our four legged friends so completely. When you have those days to come when you feel you can’t breathe, please feel our love surround you. It was your overwhelming love that held her heart so close when you knew it was time. Now that she’s crossed over the rainbow bridge, she’s running like a puppy again and always looking out for her best girl. Hugs.

  7. Stephanie February 19, 2013 8:18 pm Reply

    Oh sweetie. I hope you find comfort in the joy you gave to each other.

  8. Alice February 19, 2013 8:31 pm Reply

    She was a good dog. Even tho I didn’t get up there very often, she seemed to remember me when I’d visit. You’ve done the right thing, difficult as it was.

  9. tammy February 19, 2013 9:49 pm Reply
  10. Catherine February 19, 2013 11:46 pm Reply

    Very touching, and it made me cry. I wish you peace and comfort.

  11. miss m February 20, 2013 12:43 am Reply

    The hardest thing is letting them go. It’s also the kindest things we can do. *all the hugs*

    http://www.giveneyestosee.com/blog

  12. Terry February 20, 2013 9:13 am Reply

    I have no words that can convey my sadness. I didn’t spend much time with Bridgett but seeing her and loving on her was one of the highlights of my visits to your house. She had such an expression of love, patience and kindness in her eyes that she had me at Hello. I for one will not forget her, she was and will always be a rare jewel.

    Thank you for letting me get to know her.

    My thoughts and prayers are toward you. Much love to you.

    Terry

  13. Megan February 20, 2013 1:10 pm Reply

    Oh, sweetie. I am so sorry. Thank you for giving her a loving forever home. xoxo

    http://onethousandwordsormore.com

  14. Gay Haldeman February 20, 2013 3:16 pm Reply

    So sorry, but it’s the right thing. Many many hugs. Aunt Gay

  15. Bonnie February 20, 2013 3:38 pm Reply

    There are no words. I’m so sorry.

    http://www.peaceableliberal.blogpost.com

  16. Carrie February 22, 2013 7:45 am Reply

    I never know what to say in these situations but I know what it feels like and it really hurts a lot. Know that I am sending you good thoughts and wishing your girl well. (Army girls aren’t supposed to cry at work…)

    http://bxr13.blogspot.com/

  17. Diane February 23, 2013 2:18 pm Reply

    Funny how nature’s let’s us fall in love when we will surely outlive it. Maybe it’s nature’s way if spreading our love around. Either way, it hurts..bad. I’m so sorry for your loss. You were a great and loving mom to her.

  18. clickr (Joan) February 23, 2013 11:10 pm Reply

    So very sorry. You and Bridgett are in my heart.

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