Today though, I ache inside. Almost exactly ten years ago to the day we brought home Willie, the most amazing friend a person could ask for. Having never had a dog before I had no idea what I was in store for...this four legged friend opened my eyes and my heart to true companionship. Willie came into our family with a bit of heavy baggage, but his loyalty to Jim and I, and the trust he put in us allowed him to come out of his shell and become the most loving, caring creature ever.
Willie has touched me and my entire family in more ways than he'll ever realize. He's spent Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas Eves as if he was a human. He's celebrated birthdays and welcomed Cole into our family with open paws. I could not have asked for a better dog...ever. I remember when we brought Lexa home, and I told Jim I didn't think I'd ever love a dog as much as Willie. I adore Lexa, she's so sweet and has a heart of gold, but Willie is my best friend and that friendship will never be replaced. I have confided in him in ways I haven't done with anyone in my life.
Right now Willie is not doing very well. He was diagnosed with cancer two, wait maybe three years ago, the summer I was pregnant with Cole. He underwent surgery that July to have many tumors removed, along with a lymph node in his groin where they found cancer cells. He recovered well and we refused chemo for him...we had no idea how he'd do, and to be honest, Jim and I never expected him to hang on this long. In the last year though we've watched Willie slow down, go gray, his back legs are very unstable and each day we find a new growth/tumor on him. He's still eating, drinking, going potty, wiggle butting us when he sees us, he's forever patient with Cole, still wants to chase a squirrel or two in the backyard and he is typically in very good spirits, but we're realistic to know that his time with us is short. It's like he doesn't even realize his back legs barely work anymore. He does spend most of his days laying on his bed sleeping, but we know it's not time...yet.
Jim and I are watching him though...very closely. We promised we wouldn't let him suffer. As much as I know the time is near, I'm thankful it's not today. Just tonight Jim said...not today, but it could be tomorrow, next week, four months from now. That's very hard for me to face. Tears stream down my face when I think of what our house will be like without Willie. I can't ignore it though, for Willie's sake, he deserves better than that. For now, I enjoy every day with Big Willie and I keep all of the amazing memories we've shared tucked away. I love you Big Guy and I thank you for all that you have shared with me over the last ten years.