In Virginia, we decided we wanted a dog. We bought a beagle pup, but she was a nervous dog adn after a year, we gave her away to a retired lady. After that, I set out with one requirement: a mellow dog with an easy disposition for a boisterous family. I called shelters and we checked pounds. Finally, a friend recommended a mutt rescue.
"I have the perfect dog! We have a whole ranch of rescues, but she was such a dear we couldn't bear to leave her in a kennel, so we brought her in the house with us," the lady told us.
That weekend, we drove an hour to the house. I warned the kids, then 4-10 or so, to be calm and not overwhelm the dog. I also said we'd look her over and then come back the next day if we wanted her.
She ran to the yard to greet us. Immediately, everyone, including my husband, surrounded her, cooing and petting. Layla flopped onto her back and wagged her tail like she'd gone to heaven.
We didn't get a mile down the road after out visit before we went back for her.
Since then, Layla was a constant loving presence. She had the Wag that Never Ends. She slurped the children--and Rob--at the drop of a hat. She danced for treats, hogged the beds, and crawled under my desk to lay at my feet when I wrote. She comforted the children when they were sad, ate out of their trash cans when they neglected chores, but most of all she loved us.
Last week, she started coughing. We thought it was an upper respiratory infection, and got her on antibiotics. It just got worse over the weekend, so this morning, I took her in. She was excited for the ride, pulled on the leash to sniff around, and wagged the whole time.
Who would have known cancer had taken her throat and part of her lungs? The x-rays showed a big fraction of her lungs grayed out, and an endoscopy showed it was tumors. He didn't think she'd have long before she simply stopped breathing.
After the endoscopy, they revived her so we could say goodbye. As we cried and told her what a good dog she was, she wagged and gave kisses and loved us in the same happy way she always had.
So the Perpetual Wag ended today...at least on this earth. Our lives will be less with her gone, but they were enriched for the years we had her.
I found this prayer online:
Eternal Father, we bring you our grief in the loss of Layla and ask for courage to bear it. We bring you our thanks for Layla who lived among us and gave us freely of his/her love. We commit our friend and companion Layla into your loving hands. Give us eyes to see how your love embraces all creatures and every living thing speaks to us of your love. Amen.