When Russ and the girls and my mom came to meet Macey it was one of my top 10 experiences. It was so sweet to see them meet their new sister and see the instant love and affection in their eyes. It was a great few moments of absolute love. But when they got ready to leave Russ had to break some very sad news to me that probably contributed to my downward spiral (meaning I ended up staying in the hospital for 3 extra days and needed MRI, xrays, oxygen, and lots of meds because my blood pressure kept spiking, I had a spinal headache, and I wasn't getting enough oxygen.) The morning after Macey joined our family, our sweet Riley passed away. Riley was 15 years old and had been my "first born" since I got her when she was 2. We had 13 wonderful years together. That sweet dog got me through 3 pregnancies, wedding planning, moving cross country to VA, being away from family, and other life adventures. She cuddled with me, loved me unconditionally and was truly my friend. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she waited for me to have the baby before taking her last breath. She held on for me, to make sure I was okay, before resting her weary body.
Riley had been on heart medication for an enlarged heart for nearly 6 months. It was getting increasingly harder for her to breath without coughing because her large heart was pushing on her lungs. The doctors assured me she was not in any pain, but that it was just a matter of time before her heart gave out. Since we were told she was pain free and she was still finding the energy to run around after the girls we knew we couldn't put her down so we paid for the expensive medication to make her as comfy and healthy as possible.However, a few weeks before Macey was born she started breathing heavier and acting a bit more tired. She was still attached to me at all times. As with all the pregnancies, she would cuddle up to my belly and sleep against the growing baby. She would follow me everywhere, even to the bathroom throughout the middle of the night for the frequent peeing or to the toilet to puke throughout the day. She stayed with me ALL THE TIME. She was my constant companion My mom called her my "little shadow" just 2 days before she passed.
Mere minutes after having Macey, my mom noticed Riley acting weird. She noticed Riley panting very heavy and not wanting to be touched. She also saw Riley nip at Lilly's face. Riley would have never done that if she wasn't suffering. My mom stayed up all night holding Riley in her arms and singing to her. I will always be grateful for my mom holding my furry friend during her final hours and singing her sweet songs to keep her calm. My mom called Russ (who was still at the hospital with me) in the morning and told him he should get home to see what to do about Riley. He went home as quickly as he could and saw that she was in an awful state. He scooped her up in his arm and took her in the back yard. He held her, thanked her over and over again for bringing us all so much joy, and told her she could go. She closed her eyes and died in his arms.
As crazy as it sounds, I think I knew subconsciously what was happening. Right after I had Macey and was wheeled into the recovery room one of the first things I said to Russ was, "I forgot to tell Riley goodbye." Why on earth I would be thinking about telling my dog goodbye when I was leaving for the day mere minutes after having major surgery and welcoming a new baby into the world?
As I write this it's been 6 months since she passed and I still can't talk about it without crying. I miss her more than I can adequately describe. I know it sounds silly, especially to those people who have never had a pet be considered a family member, but I grieve for her daily and know that I'll never have the same relationship with another pet. She was so, so special. I am beyond grateful for the 13 years we had together and will always consider her a great blessings in my life.