Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Honey

This post gives me great sadness even typing it. I have dreaded this day for the past year especially, but really the last 16 years of my life--The day that my sweet dog, Honey, went to doggie heaven. Here's her story...(Forewarning: It's probably going to be very VERY long.. and perhaps boring for those of you that don't know her, so you may not want to read it. You may also think I'm a little crazy for writing so much about a dog, but if you know me and my love for these little animals, I'm sure you understand)

The day we got her: I was in the 3rd grade. I remember racing with my mom to the lady's house that was selling these cute half-lab/half golden retriever dogs. She had one puppy left and had us and another family both wanting it. She basically said whoever got there first could have her. I remember feeling so anxious and excited as we literally raced out there. Obviously, we made it there first and were so lucky to pick up our new bundle of joy, who would later be named Honey. I also remember that just as we were backing out of her driveway the other car of the family wanting her pulled up. Whew! We had made it just in the knick of time.

Unfortunately I dont have any pictures of Honey as a little puppy on here to show you, but she was SO cute. And so sweet. My family and I were in love with this dog.

Here is the oldest picture I could find of her right now... She was probably a year or two old here.

As with any puppy, we had to train her. I remember her crying at night because we would leave her outside and she wanted to be in with us. I remember she would knock out the boards in our fence and get out of the back yard. My parents would have to get out there in the middle of the night and hammer the wood back up haha. When we tried to take her on walks, she really took us for a walk because she ran so fast and so hard. (She did get better.. In high school, I would take her running around the block and she didn't even have to have a leash on.. she stayed right beside me.. I loved it!) At our house we had a really tall fence, but we blocked off a small area and put a chain linked fence on the inside to separate a space just for Honey when we weren't home or out there with her. She would sometimes jump over that fence! It was amazing.. She looked like super dog!! haha Here I am with her when I was in the 5th grade inside her little pen. See that fence? Thats what she jumped over!
But, as with many dogs, she "matured" and seriously was the best dog anybody could ever ask for. So calm and loving, and really smart.

Her favorite thing: My family took several trips to Smith Lake while we were growing up. My grandparents had a place down there, and eventually lived there full time. My parents also ended up buying a place for a little while. Every single time we went to the lake, we of course took Honey. She LOVED the lake. She loved running through the woods, being free to roam where she wanted, and most of all, she LOVED swimming. I remember anytime we would jump in the lake she would jump in after us. When she was little, she always tried to come play with us in the water. Unfortunately, with her doggie paddle, her claws would scratch us and actually hurt. I remember having to push her away and she didn't quite understand why. We sometimes had to even lock her in the basement so she wouldn't jump in after us. When we took the boat out or the jet ski, she would jump in and swim halfway across the lake chasing after us. I remember being so nervous that another boat would drive by and not see her or something. When we got far enough away, she would turn back around and go wait on the dock for us to come back. Sometimes we took her on the boat with us. She loved it. It was always so special having her there at the lake with us. Heres a picture of her in her younger days at the lake...

One of my favorite Memories: When I was younger, well like 5th or 6th grade, I did not like boys. I use to always tell my parents that I was never getting married. They would always joke with me and say they were going to "Kick me out when I turned 18." My response was always that I would just go and live with Honey in her doghouse. haha I think that response came to me because I seriously did like getting in her dog house with her. I'm halfway embarrassed to admit this, but it reallly is one of my favorite memories of her. Whenever I would get in trouble or if my feelings were hurt or if I was sad for some reason, I always ran to Honey. I would literally get inside her dog house with her and talk to her. I really felt like she understood what I was saying or at least feeling, and it she was always so comforting to me to have her near me. Even when it was freezing cold outside, I would crawl in there with her. My dad had hooked up a heat lamp and we always had big comfy blankets out there for her to curl up in. I would always sit there and pet her while telling her what I was thinking, and she would usually just look back at me like she knew what I was saying or lick me or something.

As I'm sure you can tell by all my posts of the puppies (which don't worry, I'll give you an update on those soon!), I get realllllly attached to dogs. I have always been a dog person. I just love them so much. It's like I think they are half-human, and I never wanted to go on a trip without them. For that reason, I alllways begged my parents to take Honey with us when we went anywhere. I mean after all, she was part of the family. So when we took a last minute beach trip one year, my parents actually let Honey tag along. Our condo was perfect because it had a little beachy area off to the side where people didn't really lay out or anything but it was on the ocean, so it was great to let Honey experience the sand and ocean freely. She of course loved it. We threw sticks for her in the ocean and she would swim and get it. I remember her freaking out on the sand. She kept rolling around in it and spinning in it. It was so funny.

We even took her out on the public beach with us and let her sit under the umbrella. Although it was super hot, she was such a trooper!

Honey LOVED Beggin' Strips dog treats. She would literally do anything to get one. While at the beach, we tried to teach her how to bark "I love you." and guess what? She did it! It was soo cool. She would bark twice and then for the third one she would sort of howl... all in a row. It was precious and really sounded close to it. She seriously got like a whole bag of treats that night.

You think I'm kidding when I say I wanted to take Honey everywhere? Well I'm not. I even took her to Auburn one night to stay in my apartment. It was actually over the summer one year. I wasn't even in school then and was actually living in Decatur, but my apartment lease went through August so I technically still had a room...without any furniture but a bare bed. There was actually a big party going on down there. I didn't want to go and stay in my apartment alone so I took Honey. It was so funny! She hung out while I went to the party and when I got home, she was there waiting patiently on me.

Honey even dressed up for my 21st Birthday party at my house!
And my grandparents 50th Wedding anniversary...

She loved my grandparents. Everytime she would see my grandmother, she would literally run and jump in her lap. We would all always laugh SO hard because she never did that to anyone else... and she is a BIG dog haha and my grandmother is a small lady so it was quite funny to watch! I guess she just wanted to show her love and appreciation and didn't know how else to do it! haha

Gosh, I could go on and on with memories of Honey. She was just the PERFECT dog for me and my family. We are all going to miss her dearly! Even Ellie loved Honey! Literally every single time that Ben and I drive home, we wait until we are one street away from our house and our favorite thing to do is say to Ellie is "Ready to go see Hun Hun? Where's Hun Hun Ellie?" haha Ellies ears would perk up and she would start jumping around going CRAZY. haha She would jump up at the window, bounce between me and Ben, it was hilarious. I dread the next time I go home and can't say that to her. Ellie didn't even get a chance to say goodbye... and that makes me sad.
(Little side note, that little puppy I'm holding above is actually my sister's dog. He of course is big now, and is the father of the puppies!)

Here's how it ended: Over the last year, I will say Honey really started to age. She started to get really bad arthritis and it looked painful for her to walk. But that didn't stop her. She would still run in our back yard and chase squirrels and play with us and Ellie. It did progressively get worse and I would say over the last couple of months it really got bad. She started having troubles sitting/laying down. She would sometimes stumble going up a step or sometimes even just walking down the road. It was kind of painful for my heart to even see her like that, but she continued to be the same sweet dog that we all loved. She still loved on us and followed us everywhere. We knew this summer, she probably wouldn't be able to stand the heat. We just didn't know that June 6 would be that devastating day. The night before actually, my mom and I were walking down the street and Honey came trotting down the drive way after us. It kind of caught us off guard because over the last couple of months she really hasnt been running around as much. We slowed down our pace and just let her walk with us...probably just about 5 houses down, then we turned around to head home because we didn't want her to get too tired. The next day my sister and her family came over for the day and we all spent the day out by the pool. Honey was just acting normal as usual sitting back there with us. When they got ready to leave, Honey walked by us and didn't sound like she was breathing too well but we honestly didn't think twice about it because she had been panting a lot lately since the weather has gotten warmer. My mom and I went inside and were looking at some pictures on my computer. My dad had a veery important and serious unexpected business call and so he was stressing out having to take care of that. Next thing we know, he walks by me and my mom while on the phone and said "Honey just passed." He couldn't even go out there with us because he had to carry on with his phone call, but my mom and I ran outside to find her. Sure enough she had passed.

When my dad could finally hang up, he came out with us. All he could say was "When it rains, it pours." My mom and I cried hyserically for a LONG time. I think the thing we both regret the most is not going out there to check on her. We knew she was having a rough day, but we didn't know just how rough it was going to be. I would give anything if I could go back in time and just sit there beside her while she took her last breaths. Just to have the chance to say my goodbyes and let her feel loved as she slipped away. I'm just thankful that I was even home. Anyway, My sister and brother all came over and we ended up taking Honey and burying her behind my sisters house next to their dog, Bo (who recently was poisoned by a neighbor and died). It really is the perfect location. Their house backs up to the refuge and right by the river. It comforts me knowing that she is in such a beautiful place, a place that I know she would have loved, near the river and next to their sweet dog.

In all honesty, its kind of a bittersweet feeling. I sort of felt a sense of relief. It was really hurting my heart watching her age over the last few months, having troubles walking, sitting, and running. I could tell she was in pain. It was a relief to know that she wasn't suffering anymore. But it was also really heartbreaking. Honey has been with me for most of my life. She has shared every memory with me while growing up. She has been there through all of the good times and the bad. She loved our family unconditionally. Thats what I love most about dogs. They love unconditionally, unlike any human. It doesn't matter if you punish them, yell at them, turn your back on him, or neglect them, they are always there wagging their tail like you are the greatest thing on earth. They look at you with those eyes that really seem as if they are saying "I love you." I really understand why they say that dogs are "Man's Best Friend." Thats exactly what Honey was to our family. We will all miss her so much! It truly feels like we are grieving the loss of a family member.. and although shes not human, she was definitely family. I find myself fighting back tears throughout the day, and sometimes I just let them pour out. I know it will get better with time. We were truly so lucky to have her. And to finish, I want to post a quote that my sister posted the other night that I really like...
"Dog's aren't our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
That is so true.
We will miss you Honey!!

1 comment:

  1. About your "Im never getting married and am going to live with Honey" comments - so glad that Honey let me share you with her. Honey was a good dog. Yall gave her a great life.


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