by Lori Gonzalez
Like most pet sitters, I got into the business because of my passion for animals. Over the years I have become attached to many wonderful pets. I look forward to dogs stretching at the front door, greeting me for their daily walks. I love watching puppies grow and am a bit saddened when they become too big to pick up and hug. And I am comforted by the gentle purr of an affectionate cat.
One dog, in particular, really touched my heart. Her name was Lily. I called her Lily Angel due to her sweet personality and beautiful snowy white coat. Lily Angel was a special girl who loved her family, her son, Blanco, and to tease the fluffy orange cat, Pumpkin. She sassed her mom for food and greeted me with a loud “wooh, wooh, wooh” every time I walked into the house.
About two years ago, Lily Angel was diagnosed with MS. Just like humans suffering with this condition, Lily’s body began to weaken. She had the most trouble with her hind legs and had to be lifted into a wheel chair for her daily exercise. This was truly a labor of love as Lily was a large white Sheppard. I would have done anything for her and she was well worth all the aches and pains I received from lifting and supporting her. She loved her walks, especially when accompanied by her sisters, Sarah and Elizabeth. Lily was a great communicator and had the most expressive eyes. Some days she would walk several blocks. Other days she would be slower and would let me know she needed to rest. “Lily?” I would ask, “Do you want to go home?” She would then promptly turn herself around and cruise home to watch guard over the house and wait for Denise, her mom and hero, to return.
I looked forward to my time with Lily Angel and also became close with her family. Denise had undergone multiple surgeries and had the strongest spirit I had ever seen. Despite her own medical concerns, she was so devoted to Lily. Before she would head back to the hospital, she would discuss Lily’s schedule with me to make sure the Angel was taken care of. During the course of time, Lily Angel’s condition progressed. She could no longer walk on her own in the wheel chair, and required additional support. Some days she was really weak and would stumble and fall. Often, I would call Denise, crying, because I knew the Angel would soon be off to doggie heaven. Denise would reassure me that Lily still had some good days and that she was quite fond of me. I spent as much time as possible with her, hugging and kissing her and singing silly songs I had made up.
Sadly, shortly after Thanksgiving, doggie heaven called for the Angel. I cried for days after she passed and am crying as I write this article. I know she is running and sassing in doggie heaven, but I miss her every day. Her spirit will live on in my heart forever.
Lori Gonzalez owns America’s Finest Pet Sitting in the UTC/La Jolla area of San Diego County. She can be contacted by phone at (858) 344-9206 or online at www.americasfinestpetsitting.com.