Friday, January 23, 2015

My Angel

Abbigail Vanderdogan
July 2006 - January 2015
 
 
It is with a heavy, broken, painful heart, that I blog today. Eight years ago, the most beautiful and sweet blonde ball of fur came into my life, and stole my Texas-sized heart. From the moment I picked her up, and she nibbled on the chin, I knew we were destined to be together. Since that day, in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in San Angelo, Texas - Abby, my beautiful golden retriever ... was my most loyal, and trustworthy friend.
 
Abby, or Abbigail, was the perfect dog. (I know, we all think that about our pets, and we should, because they all are.) She was the glue that held all of the other pets together. She was gentle, and smart, kind and funny. I know it seems so strange to hear these commonly human attributes describing a dog - but she was all of those things, and I'm convinced that she always had a "human" soul.
 
When she was less than a year old, I held her and we danced to Nora Jones' "Come Away with Me". I don't think she ever forgot that moment. To me, it was a chance to hold her close while I waited for paint on a dresser (that was a disaster DIY project BTW) to dry. For her, it was different. Whether Nora Jones was playing or not, if I was in the room - Abby wanted to dance. She wanted to be in my arms, me holding her - much harder at her 120 pounds than at her 12.
 
She loved to swim, as most retrievers do. At the lake, she and her doggy brother, 'D' would fetch a tennis ball from the water to dry land. One day, 'D' a Boston Terrier who oddly enough also loves the water - but shouldn't, got a little too overzealous. Before I had a chance to get all the way out to him, Abby had figured out that he was struggling, swam back to him, grabbed him by the collar and brought him to me. She then swam back out to get her ball - and came up to shore tail wagging to do it all over again.
 
She more than tolerated the cats, which I assure you was a difficult task. Abby had hip dysplasia, most golden retrievers do, I've found; and she needed to always have a soft bed to lay on. However, if the cats had taken up residency on her bed, she'd lay on the hard floor before forcing them to find a new spot.
 
She routinely ate a perfect half of the food in the food bowl she shared with 'D'. We tried giving them separate bowls, but they ended up only eating half of each others food. She was so gracious and patient. Abby was one of only three puppies born in a litter of a very young mother. She had gotten pregnant unintentionally, and the breeder was afraid none of the puppies would make it. Two of them did, and Abby's mom wouldn't allow them to feed. So, the breeder, who also owned a daycare, bottle-fed Abby and her sister at the daycare among all those children until they were old enough to be homed somewhere else. I think that's why Abby was so gentle, and patient.
 
She knew when I was sad. And in her old age, she wasn't shy about telling me that she wasn't too happy about things either. She loved to sing, and dance, and take rides in the car. She loved a good road trip, and never, not once made my life difficult. Abby was always a joy to be around, always! Even when she'd get home from the groomer and begin rolling around in the dirt and mud, she still made me laugh with her goofy face and wide, loving, puppy-dog smile.
 
She never quite grew out of her puppy stage, and for that I'll be eternally grateful.
 
On Tuesday morning, Abby suddenly, and without pain or warning left us, with shattered and painful hearts. We still are not clear on what happened, but we suspect that she may have had a sudden heart attack, or brain aneurism. I have known so many people who have had to face very difficult situations with their pets, making decisions to end their lives so that they don't have to suffer. Abby, true to form, didn't force us to make that difficult decision. And while I am crying as I write this, thinking about how lonely I am without her, I know that she had a wonderful life, with two loving fathers, a doggy brother, and two pestering feline twins that don't quite know how to go on without her.
 
For 8-years, Abby taught me how to be a true friend.
She taught me that love can be unconditional.
She reminded me that I had to make time to play, and explore.
And most importantly, you can be (and should always be) both beautiful and kind.
She was and will forever be my perfect little girl.
 
I'll miss her ... forever.

38 comments:

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss of Abby. It is so heartbreaking when our devoted and loving 4 legged family members leave us. My thoughts are with you and your household. Your words are such a tribute to her life. One can tell she was very special and very loved.

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  2. I'm so sorry Artie....I know your heart must be broken into a million pieces!!!!!
    Beautiful and moving tribute to your best friend.....
    {{{HUGS}}}
    ~Des

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  3. What a wonderful tribute to your Abby. I am so sorry for your loss and so happy that you had each other to love. Madeline

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  4. Artie, I am so sorry. Your words are wonderful in describing your perfect relationship with Abby. She was lucky to have you, too. A reflection of your heart, where her sweet memories will live forever. It is so hard to loose that perfect love that only our
    furry babies can give us. Hugs and prayers.

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  5. Beautiful post....So sorry for your heartbreaking loss. :(

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  6. Oh, dear Arty, I'm so so sorry to hear this about your beloved Abby. Believe me, I really do understand as my own little Chloe Dawn passed away two weeks ago. My heart is still broken. She was almost 15 and literally my little child. I did get to hold her and tell her how much I loved her before she left me. I'm praying for you and your broken heart. Our pets are so much more than pets - the become our children. Bless you,
    Shelia

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  7. Artie,
    I know the deep pain that comes from loosing a dog. We lost our Golden last year and it was so painful. We rescued a golden puppy and it made things a {tiny} bit better... Hugs to you. Marcy

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  8. I am so very sorry for your loss. Take solace in knowing that Abby was lucky to have such a loving, caring owner. Not all dogs are so fortunate.

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  9. That is a beautiful tribute to your Abby. I hope your sorrow will soon be replaced with happy memories.

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  10. So very sorry. Abby was a beautiful lady, and I am sure you are missing her. I wish we could keep them by our side forever.

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  11. I am crying because it brings back all the memories of all my dogs I have loved and lost!
    Here is what I believe and it is great comfort to me! I believe all those dogs and all my cats are with me all the time even though I can't see them they are with me!
    It has helped me to rescue dogs and cats when I have lost one! They don't take the place of the lost animal, but they fill my heart and they are a whole different thing! There are so many beautiful animals who need homes and so many get euthanized every day!
    I hope you can find another dog!! And he or she will be a whole different personality ; and write a whole different story; as my husband said, it might help" fill the hole in your heart!" New rescue dogs have helped us! Not replaced the ones we've lost but they have definitely filled the hole in our hearts!
    What a lucky dog to be loved like that!

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  12. So sorry, Artie. Abby was lucky to have a loved life. Dogs are a part of a family and their loss is devastating. Your tribute to her was heartfelt and I can feel your pain. No words can comfort you.

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  13. Dear Artie, You have me in tears as I totally understand what feels like a lost limb, like a heart with a hole, like a total deprivation of all those senses that experienced how Abby felt and smelled and responded to your love.
    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written tribute to an extraordinary best friend.

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  14. I am so very heartbroken for you. Reading about your loss of Abbie, brought to mind all my memories of our own golden retriever, Tucker. We had Tucker from the time he was a puppy and he died at 12 years of age due to heart failure. It was a sudden loss also. Your beloved Abbie sounds very much like him. We must believe that heaven takes care of them.....look how much unconditional love they give us. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  15. So sad for you. What a beautiful post you have written.
    Hugs
    Jacqui

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  16. Oh Artie! Words can't express how sorry I am. Truly. Your lovely post could have been written about my own baby-dog, now 12 and slowing down so much. My heart breaks at the mere thought of not having him around, and I know your own reality is painful and lonely for her. What a gift dogs are, they make us more human, don't they? Reaching out with warm hugs for you, my friend. xx

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  17. Oh Artie, I am so very sorry for the loss of Abby. You wrote a BEAUTIFUL tribute to her. I know that our pets become our children and it will take awhile to come to grips with this. I'll be thinking of you and Abby.

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  18. Artie, I am so sorry for your loss- Abigale sounds like she was an absolute love- Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers- Having experienced similar loss, I know how difficult this time is for you- My heart goes out to you- Barbara P from Ma

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  19. Dear Artie,

    I am so saddened by the loss of your sweet Abby. You paid her a very lovely tribute. May your heart lighten with time and the beautiful memories you will always hold dear.
    XO
    Mimi

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  20. i dont even know you but i can feel your pain. it is incredible how animals fill our life with their loving and unconditional presence , making us better humans in a weird way. You were lucky to spend a long time with her. sending love, marcela

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  21. much older sister susanJanuary 26, 2015 at 6:38 AM

    I am so very sorry for your loss. We have two nine year old boxers and are dreading the day that we loose them. Having Joanie and Dan go through this pain loosing Amelia and then you, is heartbreaking. Please know that I am also thinking of you and send my sincere sympathies. Susan

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  22. My heart breaks for you. Abby was very lucky to be so loved and cherished her whole life. I know every day will be hard for you to get through for a while and your heart will ache more than word can ever describe. You were very lucky to have such a wonderful, special girl in your life for eight years. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Lauren

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  23. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you. Tears... lots of tears for your sweet Abby.

    Bonnie

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  24. I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious Abby, I just found your site and was introduced to Abby thru your beautiful words. Abby was indeed a precious gift and soul who never ended showing her love to you even at the end, she found a way not to have you make such a difficult decision for her care….but was blessed to pass in her sleep. As difficult as it is for us that go thru such loss, the love of such a precious being will never be forgotten, your tears will change to bright smiles as you will always remember Abby and know you are better humans for having and loving such a four-legged angel.
    Prayers to all,
    Denise

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  25. Artie I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. This tribute is so touching and beautiful. May you be comforted as you grieve through her passing. May the love you shared heal your heart.

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  26. I am so sorry for your loss. My family has an 8-year-old Portuguese Water Dog and I know that if Max were to pass suddenly (or even slowly) the pain of missing him would be hard to ease.

    I am glad you have so many fond memories of her. She lives on in your heart.

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  27. Sorry to hear this - let the great memories fill the hole in your heart!

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  28. So sorry, my heart breaks for you too. I have a beautiful "granddog" who belongs to my son. She is 8 years old now and occasionally the terrible thought runs thru my mind of when the time comes that something like this happens. This was a wonderful tribute to your beautiful Abby. May she rest in peace.

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  29. This poem is for all dog lovers who have lost their pet.

    https://rainbowsbridge.com/poem.htm

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  30. Artie ... and Scott I am so sorry to hear of your loss. The tribute you gave of your wonderful Abby brought tears to my eyes as well.
    Feeling your pain and embracing both of you with a hug, -Brenda-

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  31. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. This post was a beautiful homage to Abby and I enjoyed hearing of your happy memories together. All of the best during this difficult time...
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

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  32. Artie, tears are pattering on my keyboard. I'm so sorry. I will be walking down this road soon, but I know my little guys will have Abby to meet them on the other side. I will keep you and Scott in my prayers. xxoo

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  33. I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

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  34. While you were spared from having to make a difficult position, it doesn't make the pain of the loss any less. My sincere condolences.

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  35. Beautifully said.As a pet lover who recently lost my cat with a "human" soul,I get it.My condolences to you.

    Debbie

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  36. Your lovely comment about what Abby taught you is so tender... true friendship and unconditional love. When we are very lucky or very blessed, we find a dog who gives us just that.

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  37. So cute this dog . Like this photo , Thanks .

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