freckles

by Jill


My dog, freckles has been with me ever since i could remember. we got her when i was 3 years old, and she loved me every single day for 15 and a half years. my family thinks that she kept on living just because she loved us so much and didn't want to leave, as the vet said she could've died two years ago. ever since i was little, i felt comfort in my dog. she was not my only pet, but always my favorite and the most special, and of course, my first. i think pets are like your first love- except it's even harder to lose a pet because a pet never breaks your heart. when i was little, freckles would treat me as if i was her puppy. i would fall asleep with her, she would protect me, play with me, swim with me, cuddle with me, and lick me as if she were giving her own pup a bath. she loved to take my stuffed animals, especially one black and white cat name marie, i used to chase her down the hallway yelling "come back with marie!" my parents always thought that was hilarious. she would chew off the eyes or ears or bite the stuffing out of all my toys, but my parents assured me that it was because she loved me so much she wanted everything that had my smell on it to be near her. she owned the couch in our living room, and always kept my mom's feet warm at night. since my dad works night shifts, freckles brought great comfort to her on nights where she would have to sleep alone. my first memory of her is being so excited to see me on christmas morning, that she ran into me and jumped on me, covering me with slobbers and kisses and she knocked me- and our christmas tree over. in the summers, freckles used to hop up on a beach chair or lawn chair that were set up on our deck and supervise my brothers and i swimming in the pool. she was like a lifeguard, because if anything went wrong she would bark and my mom would come running outside. she was always such a happy, friendly, energetic dog. she was so tolerant, and so kind. she always knew when something was wrong. she let my brothers and i sit on her, wake her up, bother her while she was eating, and she never bit a soul or even growled seriously. we used to have this joke in my family that if someone robbed our house, the dog would try to stop them by jumping on them and licking them. she was very protective when she had to be though. i always felt safer being home alone because i was never truly alone, freckles was always there. she was such a loyal dog, always wanting to be around us. even when she tore the ACL tendons in both legs, and we had to give her two surgeries...and then developed arthritis and widespread pain that caused her to have trouble breathing, she would make her way up the flight of stairs every night so that she could sleep in our bedrooms. even with multiple falls down the entire flight of stairs, she was determined to be as close to her family as she could be. eventually, all she ever did was fall down the stairs. the pain became to unbearable to make it, so she began to sleep downstairs in the living room. this is when things started going downhill. already knowing about her arthritis, we got her pain medication so she would feel better. the vet said that her heavy breathing was a sign that she was trying to cope with pain, and for a while the pain medicine helped and the deep breaths subsided. then, she started going to the bathroom all over the house. we thought it was just old age, but we found out that she could no longer control the muscles for her bladder and bowels, and her legs were starting to go. the past few months, the bathroom problem got worse, we would come home and she would be soaked in pee or there would be poo spread all over the floor, because she would try to get up but couldn't. everything hurt. she was constantly falling over, even lying down looked like a painful process, eventually she would just fall over and lie there. as much as we tried to keep an eye on her, follow her around and clean up after her, pick her up when she fell, it was a 24/7 job that we could barely keep up with. and what a degrading way to live. her pee started to smell awful so we got bloodwork done, and found out that her kidneys were beginning to fail. she also had some type of bladder infection, so we gave her antibiotics for that, but she would be continuously sick from it upsetting her stomach. she didn't want to eat very much, she would pace around again, from pain and seemed to be confused and in pain all the time. we knew that things would only get worse, and her quality of life was completely gone. she couldn't see well, hear well, breathe well, walk well, anything. even petting her would make her shake because she was in so much pain. she began losing weight, i think about 10 pounds in the last few months. my family decided that we would not let her suffer anymore, so we put her to sleep today. i thought that i was okay with it, because i knew it's what was best for the poor old dog. but when it happened, it was so terrifying and traumatic. you can't begin to prepare for it. i thought i'd be okay because well, it's a DOG. but actually, it's a family member. my mom treated freckles like a fourth child, and i was closer to freckles than i am to my brothers. she was always someone that, although it sounds lame, i could just talk to or sit with and pet, and it seemed the world wasn't so harsh. seeing my dog be such a fighter and live through everything that has plagued her the past few months and years inspires me to never give up. because i really am a quitter, but i will try to be strong. for freckles. what a wonderful dog. everyone that met her loved her right away because she was so sweet and had such a warm. kind heart, and cute face smothered with brown freckles. i will never forget my dog, and never stop loving her or missing her. it's really hard, but it's only the first day without her. i'm just not sure how to live without a dog in my house, and live without freckles to brighten up my day and calm my nerves and bring peace to my mind and happiness to my heart.
but just knowing that she is safe and no longer suffering or in pain, helps to ease my mind a little bit.
i love you frecks <3

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