You know when people say “love finds you when you’re not looking for it”? Well that’s exactly how my relationship with Emma began. Though I adore dogs, I wasn’t even considering adopting one until I met the cutest smooshy face I had ever seen and I knew I was meant to be her mom.
Emma was a strange and amazing little dog. She constantly made alien noises and HATED other dogs. She did a dance every time she was excited (usually about treats or walk time). The dance that I am now naming the Emma Shuffle was Emma on her hind legs waving her front paws in unison (hard to explain, but I promise you it was cute).
She was happiest when she was being held, going on a long walk, playing fetch with her nasty milk bone (the ONLY toy she would ever play with), eating treats, laying in the sun or sleeping in her mama’s lap. She was notorious for sneezing right in my face and she never gave kisses unless she knew I was upset about something. She would jump up on the couch with me, make herself the little spoon and give me a little smooch to let me know she cared.
Occasionally she would get into the garbage or tear open Christmas presents that smelled like food under the tree, but she was an extraordinary lady who rarely caused trouble. All she wanted was to spend time with me and would climb on top of whatever craft project I had laid out on the floor to get closer.
A little while ago I noticed that Emma had a lump in her mouth. Ryan took her to the vet and they told him it was probably an abscessed tooth. They sent him home with medicine that was supposed to take down the swelling so we could have them remove the tooth. The medicine didn’t help and the lump got worse.
We noticed Emma’s personality change. She didn’t want to play, she could hardly walk, she looked confused and wobbly and was having a hard time with bathroom breaks. We took her back to the vet and found out that the lump was more likely the cause of cancer than an abscessed tooth and that there was little they could do for her. Tears in our eyes, we took her home with pain medication and a big decision to make.
We saw Emma deteriorate even more over the next couple of days. Her bones were visible as the weight melted from her tiny frame. She walked with her tail down and her mouth was making it difficult for her to eat. Emma had lived her life for treats. If a bag of treats and I were hanging from the edge of a cliff she would say, “sorry, Mom” as she let go of my hand to save the treats, so I knew she was ready to move on when she wouldn’t eat her beggin’ strips anymore.
My sweet baby Emma Rose gave me so much joy for the five years I was lucky enough to love her. She was my favorite thing and though I wasn’t ready to let her go, I knew it was for the best. It will take a long time for me to get used to not picking her up for hugs when I get home, having her watch me get ready in the morning as I make up songs for her, or having her at my feet every time I walk into the kitchen, but I know she’s up in heaven hanging out with a group of clumsy chefs who can’t keep the food in the pan.
After we buried her in my parents’ yard with her favorite bed and toy, my dad told us to go out front and look at the sky. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The rose bushes were glowing with color, the sky was three different shades of awesome and we all knew it was Emma saying goodbye. She gave me five years of love and happiness and a beautiful light show in the sky and all I can give her is a blog post. Just doesn’t seem like enough.