A Tribute to Khaleesi

“The dog looked up in entreaty. Liquid brown eyes begged: Take me with you. I’ll be good.”

Here I am, writing a blog post about one of my dogs again. It is hard to sort through my emotions until I put them down in words. It is safe to say that the year has not been kind to my family. Today we said goodbye to my first baby. I know everyone cringes when people call their pets their babies, but we got Khaleesi when she was only 7 weeks old, even before we owned our home. She was our focus until Ghost came along, and then Sawyer. Obviously my son takes precedence over our dogs, but my love for Khaleesi (for both of our dogs) was boundless. Warning, there will be a lot of pictures, some of them blurry but all reminding me of a perfect moment with her.

Since Khaleesi got diagnosed in September with diabetes, we did everything we could do. Glucose curve after glucose curve, switching to a more attentive vet, emergency visits galore, different brands of insulins, different units of insulin. Her body would fight it all off. She quickly went blind, which turned into her eyes swelling shut. Seizures, neurological issues, etc. Making the decision to put her to sleep was excruciatingly hard. I have woken up nauseous every day since her health started taking a decline. You will always wonder if you did the right thing. You will always feel like you betrayed them even if their quality of life was low. If you love a thing, you will always feel some regret letting it go, even if it was for the best. You’ll always wonder if one more treatment could have been the savior, but it would also be selfish to hold on too long. Khaleesi was still so full of love even while being a shell of the dog she was, it broke my heart.

So now, our tribute to Khaleesi: for the first half of her life, she slept around my neck like a travel pillow. After that, on my shoulder. Or chest. Or stomach. Between the ankles. She craved touch. My back will probably be messed up forever from sleeping around her. As my father-in-law says, she has no sense of when a person doesn’t like dogs. You are required to love her. She would shove her nose into your palm or face until you gave her attention.

She loved when people would whisper stories into her ear, she would just sit with her ear pressed against you and her snout to the sky. You could give her a little Mohawk with her wiry back fur so she looked like a spiky dinosaur. The big dog around the block scared the crap out of her until she had Ghost to back her up. Then she felt tough and would act like a badass walking past that dog.

She loved comfort, never laying on the bare floor if she could help it. Couches, blankets, chairs, and dog beds ONLY for her. When Alex was working and in school, I was pregnant with Sawyer, and he would come home late in the night to dinner. Khaleesi would put her paws on his shoulder and just rest there. We have always had a special bond with our animals. If we could take them with us, they went. Road trips, vacations, boat rides. I have always gotten anxious leaving them behind.

Khaleesi has always been the sweetest, most attention-seeking little dog. She had beautiful, soulful brown eyes. There was so much life in them. She always looks sad, even though she was probably one of the most spoiled dogs I know. She had a sweet little face and wispy fur on her muzzle that reminded you of a wizened old man.

She lived up to her name. She was fire and sun, with a serious nature. She thought she deserved the world and we gave it to her. I will miss our dogs of ice and fire, as I called them. Ghost was cool, collected, and laid back. They were utter contrasts from each other. To me, a home isn’t a home without dogs in it. It already feels lonely. I am sure we won’t be dogless long, but Khaleesi and Ghost will always one of the greatest joys in my life.

Today, Khaleesi passed away in our home, with her head in my lap. She was pet and given neck rubs and told she was a good girl, that we loved her. A Laps of Love vet came to our house and helped us send her off gently. First she got a meal of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, and an ice cream, because why not? After months of a strict diet, she deserved it. She was lovingly wrapped in a blanket, just as she would have wanted to go.

Now universe, please lay off us for a bit. The past two years have been rough for us. I feel absolutely diminished in spirit but I look forward to loving more dogs, to remembering these ones. The people we are surrounded by have been absolute saving graces to us this year. For that, we can be thankful.

“Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us. And make our lives a little brighter. And they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.”