My husband and I have two yellow Labradors, Molly and Lily, who we call “our girls”. They will both be ten years old this year and we’ve had each since they were eight weeks old. They came from the same breeder and are half-sisters, sharing the same father, but born four months apart.
Molly and Lily were not our first Labrador breed. In 2002 we got our first yellow lab, Lucy, from Tenderheart Kennels.
I had never purchased a dog before. I’ve always had a dog or two. I think there’s only been one time in my life that I was without a dog and that was right before we got Lucy. I was amazed at how intelligent and easy to train Lucy was. Her only fault was we could not leave the front door open, she’d be gone like a light. She did that once, ran out of the house and up to the street behind our house. She just barely missed being hit by a car and it scared her so bad she did not come out of her kennel for two days.
Lucy was spoiled. I never had a dog sleep in bed with me. It was just not something that was done. When we got Lucy, I told my boys, who were 11 and 14 at the time, that when we put her in the kennel at night that she was going to cry and they just had to tolerate it until she adapted. Sure enough, the first night she cried most of the night. The second night I put her in the kennel and she didn’t cry right away. I went to bed and woke later during the night and I was amazed that she wasn’t crying. I rolled over in bed only to find a got a face full of fluffy puppy fur. My husband had felt sorry for her and brought her into bed with us. This is where she stayed for the next six years until I decided I really wanted to have my bed to myself.
When Lucy was eight, she developed lymphoma. We were devastated when we learned it was a quickly progressing disease and generally dogs who were diagnosed with lymphoma only live about eight weeks. And true to this, Lucy died in her sleep eight weeks later, in the early morning hours, the day after my birthday. I laid on the floor with her and stroked her, telling her it was okay for her to go. I have never grieved a pet the way I grieved Lucy. It was months before I didn’t cry when I talked about her.
A couple weeks after she died, I went on the Tenderheart website and was amazed to learn they had a new yellow labrador litter that was born July 14, on my birthday, the day before Lucy died. It was meant to be. I’ve always said there was a heaven exchange that day. Molly came down and Lucy went up. Eight weeks later, we brought Molly home.
At the time we had a pitbull which I had inherited from my son. He was an absolutely wonderful dog. I’d never had a pit bull before and because of their reputation, I was somewhat leery of him, that is until I fell absolutely in love with him. A couple years later, my son got a place of his own and when he asked about taking Zeus, I told him no, he was mine. But unfortunately, on Christmas Eve that same year Lucy died, Zeus had to be put to sleep. We didn’t know what was wrong with him, only that he couldn’t breathe. After he died, an autopsy showed that he had cancer tumor in his chest that had broken through into his diaphram.
And that was how Lily came to be our other little girl. I again went on the Tenderheart website and as Karma would have it, they had another litter with the same father as Molly. It was a sign and eight weeks later, we brought home our Lily.
So where is this long story going? On Sunday, I noticed that Lily had a swelling on her right front elbow. She had an infection in that elbow two years ago, however, this swelling did not appear to be the same. It was not hot and hard as the previous infection was. This was more fluidy (?) By Monday morning I knew that I needed to have her seen by the vet, although when I called they said they were booked up for the day. I resorted to begging and was told that we could bring her in and drop her off and they work her in. That’s how we spent that day, our 28th Monday with Morie, ferrying our little girl back and forth to the vet. As I’m writing this on Friday, things have not progressed positively as I had hoped. She is now in the hospital receiving intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Her kidney enzymes are elevated which could either be caused by dehydration or the infection, or more disastrous, kidney failure. The vet doesn’t believe she has sepsis, so we are cautiously optimistic that she will recover and we can bring her home.