Gidget: In remembrance

May is becoming a month of remembrance for me. Taking a slightly different, and more personal, tone from the things highlighted this week – today marks one year that we put my dog Gidget down.

That day was a long one. It just started off with Mom taking her in to the vet to check what was going on with her hair falling off. She had also gotten so thin it looked like she hadn't eaten anything in weeks, but her stomach was like a balloon because of the liver or something expanding. Even her face was so thin and bony.

When I was getting ready to go to work she way laying in the hallway and I just felt like I knew – today or tomorrow and that would be it. I snapped some pictures with my camera and told her how much I loved her. One of those pictures is the one above.

Around lunchtime Mom called in tears and told me that the vet said Gidget was really anemic and she needed a blood transfusion as soon as possible or else she'd probably collapse in the next 24 hours. But even with the transfusion it would only be a couple more weeks. With everything else, we decided it best to let her go that day.

I left work early because I couldn't stop crying, and I wanted to be with her. We had scheduled an appointment for later that evening, but when I got home I could tell she was in pain. When I had heard a thud, and saw her with her head back crying, I thought that was the end, but she held on. I scooped her up and put her in my lap, sitting with her for awhile until my mom got home and spent some time with her. When my brother got home, we took her to the vet – a little earlier than planned.

Those last moments were difficult to face, to understand. It was difficult to see my brother and my mom so upset, and to feel that pain too. It was hard to hear Grandma talk to her as I was standing in the other room at home telling her how she was her best friend and that her heart would never be the same.

Honestly though, our hearts were already changed by Gidget. She had such a personality that anyone who tried to hate her (mostly because of her obnoxious barking) turned out to love her. I remember when she stayed with my aunt – who strongly disliked her – one weekend while we were away and by the time we got her back, my aunt was in love with Gidget and wanting to keep her longer.

In one way, I know she's a dog, but to me, she's Gidget – my companion of almost 14 years. I remember picking her out of the litter and driving home with her in my lap and the pink monkey toy that was the size of her. We grew up together. She was the one I put in my bicycle basket that I decked out in some pink plush fabric just for her and bicycled to the dog park. She was the one that would antagonize the larger dogs on the other side of the fence at the dog park until they would race her up and down the fence. And she would beat them every time. She was the one that was there when my parents divorced. She was there through my years in elementary school, middle school, high school and college. She met my first love and was there when he broke my heart. But some of the best moments were just the every day parts of being with her. She's part of our family. Everyone loved her. Even when she barked all the dang time.

We miss her and remember her. I love her still, and always will.


In another detail of my life – while today is the day Gidget passed away, tomorrow will mark an anniversary from my first boyfriend who also became my first heartbreak. I wish I had forgotten by now, but as I mentioned, overcoming loss or heartbreak doesn't seem to be in a single moment. I had thought that if I got through three months after the break-up (because I heard somewhere that it takes someone an average of three months to overcome loss), that I would be done and "moved on" (whatever that means), but it turns out that disregarding reality for three months isn't the same as facing and trying to understand the pain I was going through. Now that it's been longer, I'm in a much better place, but some days I still am confused about love. I at least definitely learned a lot from that experience, that relationship.

I've found for me, that there's no black and white solution for pain. Pain is a spectrum of grey, and the process is not in overcoming a single moment. So I just live, and when those moments of remembrance come, I try to appreciate them.

Concerning the painful reminders this month brings – June is just ahead.