It feels like somebody ripped my heart out. Our sweet little Nellie got called across the bridge and we’re left here at Asherpark missing her terribly.
Mom told us the day would come when Nellie would have to leave us. There were so many close calls, we were lucky to have her as long as we did.
Nellie had three vertigo attacks. The last one put her in the hospital and then she couldn’t eat or drink on her own for two weeks.
After the vertigo Nellie had trouble walking. She stumbled and slipped trying to keep up with the rest of us. Her heart murmur was getting worse, and she had a lump on her chest that was growing fast.
While we worried how she felt or if she was in pain, Nellie took it all in stride. She told me she wanted to live as long as she could because the food was so yummie at Asherpark. Then she smiled real big so I would know she was joking.
One day Nellie lost her balance and fell face first into the flowers. I quick ran over to see if she was okay. Nellie slowly got her feet under her and stood up with some weeds hanging off her ear. She asked me if I’d sit with her in the shade so we could talk.
I was happy to do anything Nellie asked me, so we wandered off to a shady spot away from the other mutts. Pretty soon Nellie was talking up a storm.
“Ash, you’ve always had a good life,” Nellie said. “You were chosen as a puppy, brought to a loving home, fed good food, and cared for like you were a prince.”
“It wasn’t like that for me,” Nellie said. “I had a person once. I think I was loved when I was little. Then something bad happened. I had to live outside and nobody paid any attention to me.”
“Were you scared, Nellie?” I asked.
“At first I was, but then I kinda gave up and got used to being ignored.” Nellie said.
For a while Nellie was quiet. She looked at her paws with the swollen joints and lowered her head.
“Ash, the best thing that ever happened to me was getting lost. I got picked up as a stray, taken to a shelter, and told I was gonna die.” Nellie said
“But then your Codie came to me,” Nellie continued. “Codie told me my life would be spared and I would go to Asherpark. Codie said I would be incredibly happy at Asherpark.”
“Are you happy here with us at Asherpark?” I asked.
Nellie laughed and licked her paw. “I’m beyond happy, Ash. I wish I could live forever. I never want to leave Asherpark.”
Neither one of us knew what to say next. I knew in my heart that time was running out for Nellie. She knew it too.
Pretty soon Nellie straightened her head and looked at me with her beautiful soft face. I loved that she has one blue eye like me and one brown eye like Codie.
“Ash, when my time comes you have to promise to be brave. I want you to be right next to me when Codie comes to get me,” Nellie said.
“Nellie, I promise I will be with you to the very end,” I said.
Last Saturday it was time to keep my promise. Nellie had a seizure. We rushed her to the emergency room. The doctor said there was nothing we could do to save Nellie. It was time to let her go.
I stood real quiet in the room. I knew if I looked at Nellie I would burst into tears.
Nellie was the brave one. She thanked mom and dad for loving her and taking such good care of her. As the vet pushed the medicine into her IV line, Nellie winked at me. She whispered she would come back soon and tell me what it was like to cross the bridge with Codie as her guide. Then she was gone.
Her little body looked so peaceful, like she was sleeping. But no matter how hard we cried, she wouldn’t wake up. It was awful to walk out of the hospital and leave Nellie behind. It was a damn shame she couldn’t go home with us.
Good bye Nellie. I will never forget you. Never.