This happens every day. It is commonplace after morning farm chores are done. I make coffee and retreat to my home office. I reply to blog comments and watch TV while the dogs relax on the couch. Daisy sits closest to me and looks out the window. Cisco plays with toys. Charlie watches me and sometimes plays with Cisco.
This is simply part of our routine; Daisy, Cisco, Charlie, and I. I never think much of this. Although, it is rather amazing. I get to have my dogs at work, daily. How cool?
But today my morning feels different. It feels more important. Which is why I felt inclined to snap photos today.
Honestly, I don’t know how many of these mornings I have left… and it absolutely terrifies me.
You see, on Friday I took Daisy to the veterinarian for a routine visit. She was getting her teeth cleaned, nails clipped, and some basic blood work done. We were all smiles and excited as we waited for our appointment…
During blood work Daisy’s veterinarian noticed something extremely concerning. The veterinarian explained the problem brilliantly, but I was far too upset to understand at the time. I could only feel confusion and grief.
As a result, Daisy needed an emergency splenectomy. After spleen removal we realized that her spleen was dangerously four-times larger than it should have been. This could have been catastrophic if it had gone unnoticed. The veterinarian sent her spleen for testing, the test should tell us what caused this; a simple infection, cancer, or something else entirely. As of now, we don’t have results.
Daisy spent the weekend at the veterinarian for post-operative observation. For the first time in almost 10 years I slept in my bed without Daisy by my side. I felt an emptiness inside of me that is indescribable. I wasn’t prepared for it. I left the house to get my dog’s teeth cleaned, and returned without her – not knowing if she’d ever come home again. I know, it sounds dramatic. But it was like a wet blanket of grief and nausea had been laid over me.
I was able to visit Daisy at the veterinarian on Saturday. We read a Wonder Woman book and took a small walk outside. Her mood was reassuring. On Monday Daisy was able to come home. Bringing her home was a huge relief, but there was still a horrible shadow looming – What if she doesn’t have much longer? How many more days will I have with Daisy?
On Tuesday morning we spent some time at Daisy’s favorite outdoor spot with her favorite blanket.
It was a severely tough recovery day. I could see pain in Daisy’s eyes. Being outside brought both of us some joy. It was a much needed distraction.
Keeping a happy face isn’t easy. Lying to a dog about how you feel is impossible. They know how you are feeling. They can sense it. I didn’t want Daisy to sense the grief and worry on me. She was confused enough already. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing this right now… I need a release.
Here I am now – on Wednesday morning. I’m sitting here. I’m typing as three dogs sleep peacefully on the couch beside me… and I’m fighting to hold back tears.
There is a tether between Daisy and I. She has impacted my life in such a remarkable way.
Daisy and I found each other while I was still in college. I rescued her, but to be completely honest I needed her more than she needed me. Daisy showed up at a time in my life when I truly needed love.
When I adopted Daisy I was living in a scholarship-paid dormitory that didn’t allow dogs. Upon her adoption, I moved into an apartment close to campus. My new residence meant that I had to pay bills for the first time; I was still a student-athlete, but I got a job so I could pay rent and afford dog food. I opened my own bank account. I essentially learned to be an adult. All because I wanted — no, needed — to keep Daisy in my life. Times weren’t always easy. Sometimes I couldn’t pay for everything I needed. We didn’t have internet. We didn’t have cable. One month we didn’t have electricity. But Daisy and I always had dog food and each other.
Daisy taught me how to give and receive unconditional love. Like most dogs, Daisy has a heightened understanding of unconditional love. I went through a lot of hardships during my first years with Daisy, but she got me through all of them.
Daisy is part of everything that makes me who I am.
Daisy was the reason I got to know my husband, Parker. He was friends with my next door neighbor in college, and Daisy really liked him. Anytime Parker was around I’d take Daisy for a walk — Daisy wanted to see him, which was a perfect excuse for me to see him too.
A few years ago I had a nervous breakdown and spiraled into a severe depression. My husband became extremely concerned that I would harm myself while he was at work. One day my husband sat down with me and told me his concerns. He asked me if I would ever consider suicide. My answer was “no”. He asked why. I told him that I couldn’t do that to Daisy. I explained that I couldn’t put Daisy through that grief and confusion. I remember saying “She would be so confused – she would look for me, but would never be able to find me. She’d think that I deserted her.”
She helped me heal. She helped me move on.
I have so much because of Daisy. I have all my other dogs because of Daisy.
I have Charlie because of Daisy – One day, Daisy’s safety harness broke so I went to the store to buy her a new one. While shopping, I caught a quick and unintentional glimpse of Charlie. She was an adoptable dog at a rescue shelter drive. I fell in love with Charlie instantly and brought her home.
I have Vanessa because of Daisy – On a very cold day in October Daisy insisted on going for a walk. It was very unlike her. Daisy typically hates cold weather. While walking, we found a pregnant, sick, and homeless beagle on our farm. We invited her to live with us. We named her Vanessa.
Cisco, Kara, and their siblings were born because of Daisy — Vanessa delivered eight healthy and absolutely adorable puppies. Six of the puppies found happy homes with other people. Two of the puppies, Cisco and Kara, live with us. Daisy is responsible for all of it. For finding Vanessa before she froze. For inviting her to live with us. For giving Vanessa a warm place to care for her puppies. It’s all Daisy.
Nearly everything good that I have can be traced back to Daisy.
Now I find myself asking – Could I have given her a better life? Did I spend too much time on my phone, ignoring her? Could I have taken her on more walks? Did I pet her enough? Does she know how loved she is? How much time do I have left? How can I make the rest of her time happy?
She loves reading books — How many more books can I read to her?
Before I go, I want to mention the veterinarian. I took Daisy to the veterinarian to have her teeth cleaned, and the veterinarian caught a serious issue and saved her life. I’m overwhelmingly thankful. The veterinarians at West Liberty Vet Clinic (in West Liberty, KY) are superhero rock stars! They are through, loving, and they do absolutely everything they can for animals.
I would also like to say “thank you” to everyone for the kind messages. I sincerely appreciate you and your prayers. Please keep Daisy in your prayers. I’m extremely worried and impatiently waiting to get the results of her spleen test back.
Now, the sun is out. It’s an absolutely beautiful day. I’m sure the dogs will wake from their nap soon. I plan to take them outside.
If you have a pet to hug — hug them! Get off your phone. Take them for a walk. Read them a story. Spend some quality time with them. Do it for me. Do it for Daisy.
The Uncustomary Housewife