This is Dizzy. This is how I will always remember her.
Big smile. Not quite sure what’s going on. One ear a bit lower than the other…
And ready to lick your face off.
Dizzy wasn’t my dog in the way that Jake was my dog, and sometimes I’m sorry about that – it feels like a missed opportunity – but to be fair she wasn’t anyone’s dog, exactly – we got Dizzy for Jake, and he seemed to know it from the outset.
“Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll keep her out of trouble.”
Dizzy seemed to understand as well, for all it seemed as though she didn’t understand much else (it was how she got her name): Jake was the teacher, and if she didn’t know what to do, she’d follow his lead.
Jake taught me how to have a puppy, so I’d be ready for Dizzy.
Jake taught Dizzy how to take care of the family.
A year ago, Jake taught us how to say goodbye.
Unlike Jake, Dizzy didn’t join the family until after we’d moved into our current house. It’s the only home she’s ever known, and the only place she’s ever been entirely comfortable. Road trips were never her thing; visiting our friends homes made her anxious and clingy.
But at home? At home she’s always been happy.
Dizzy was the permanent puppy.
Even when the gray faded in around her muzzle.
Even when the vet diagnosed her with diabetes.
Even when the diabetes led to cataracts that left her stone blind.
Still basically a puppy.
Time crept up on us, though.
Jake left us. I wasn’t sure she’d survive that, but she did (it’s been almost a year, give or take a few weeks).
Booker helped. Dizzy – still the perpetual puppy, even at twelve years old – actually played and rough housed with him in the backyard. She tried to be the role model Jake was to her, as best she could.
July 12th, 2014. Booker never knew Dizzy was anything other than ready to play.
But things got harder and harder. Her vision got worse (which I didn’t think was possible). Her hearing went (and went quickly, like her sight), leaving her unable to even navigate to the sound of our voices. More and more often, we had to rescue her from rooms where she’d got turned around and ‘trapped’… in the house she’d lived in her entire life.
Her appetite faded.
She was just tired and, worse than that, without most of her hearing and sight, she seemed alone, even in a room full of her family.
It’s the last thing you want for your pet: for them to think you’ve left them behind – to think it’s just them, alone, in the end.
Because it isn’t. You hurt with them, for all they’ll never know it and, because they hurt, you make the hard choices.
This afternoon, the same vet that came to visit Jake a year ago came to see Dizzy.
We said our goodbyes. We told her thank you. I told her I was sorry: I was never as good a companion to her as she was to me.
We made sure she knew she wasn’t alone.
This is Dizzy. Gentle soul. Loving heart.
Ready, to the last, to lick your face off.