Monday, October 5, 2015

Lillie the Legend

Today, my heart could be heard breaking.  I said goodbye to my best friend, my travel companion, my comforter, my adorer, my cheerleader.  Lillie, my soldier.  She protected, nurtured, was crazy loyal, and heart warmingly ecstatic upon seeing I came back home to her.  She endured pain in silence, anxiety not so much in silence, and loved deeply!

Lillie at 5 months
The first time that I saw Lillie, I had pulled up to the front doors of a Petco and there she was.  A tiny orange
thing with a piercing blue eye.  She was 6 weeks old and my daughter talked me into buying her for her.  It turned out that she had a 50/50 shot of making it as she had distemper, so I took care of her.  Those were
Proud mother
the only days I allowed Lillie to sleep in my bed as I needed to wake up when she did.  Obviously, she survived and, after all of that, she became mine.  A few months later, a studly suitor jumped my gate and next thing you know she had a litter of puppies!  She was an amazing mother!  A few months after being neutered, she developed heart worms and was treated back to good health.  She had a hearty distaste for cats and in the battle for their lives, the cats left her many scars and me with excelling doctoring skills.  In the same vein, as she got old and weak, 4 different pit bull mixes attacked her and did some extensive damage.  Through it all, she accepted the pain, my help, and the help of others quietly, stately, and patiently.  She learned not to like other dogs much nor kids as they would throw rocks at her from the alley behind my house.

Lillie & Ginger breaking the rules
When Lillie and I became family, I already had a dog...Ginger, a sweetheart golden retriever.  They were best friends and Lillie took it on herself to look after Ginger, groom her, play with her, and scold her.  She loved Ginger so much.  When Ginger's health declined, Lillie aged.  I had been away so when I came home from Europe and sat down on the floor, Lillie put her head against my chest and, I believe, silently cried.  She grieved a very long time for her Ginger and became an old dog.  That was 5 years ago.  I hope Ginger was waiting for her today.

Since then, she's traveled 48 states, kayaked, paddle-boated, hiked, slept for months in a tent with me, in many strangers homes, and in a small camper now for almost a year.  She's met hundreds of people, pets, and fans! She's been in department stores, casinos, bars, and restaurants.  I've learned she hated dog parks and beaches and would eat anything that I might be having when I ate out.  I won't forget how, when she was done drinking the water I offered her in the Jeep, she would lick my hand as if saying, "I'm done. Thank you. I love you.".  She put up with my many hour drives, my dancing around, uncomfortable heat and cold, my leaving her alone, my hugging her too much, my tears on her shoulders, and my dragging her around the towns and sights we came to.

I will forever be grateful for Lillie's undying adoration and recognize the blessing she's been to me.  Such unconditional and selfless love I'll surely never experience again.  I'm so happy I chose to journey full time with her by my side.  With her slow stride but eager eyes (she didn't always look bored! LOL), she taught me abundant patience and acceptance of our conditions.  She will forever be in my heart and I thank her for the many, many laughs and joys she gifted me.

Lillie and I have been through it all together.  It started 6 weeks into her life and I was with her at the end of it.  I've cried an ocean today.  My sweet Lillie, you are already missed.  

Tease!!  Try that with the door open!

What about the beach is fun?


THIS is how you beach!

Lillie love

The Good Life


Why are we here??

This way!  Follow me!

I just can't RELAX!


I really can't stand beaches or dogs, Mom! Gah!!

You can do better than a fry!!

A little help?!

So tired!

Explorer extraordinaire

How much room do you need, Mom?!

What ever wild life you see, I'm NOT looking!!

Are we done yet?

Cozy camper
You and me, kid

Rounding up the kiddos while Ginger watches
I know what you're thinking!  You want to kiss me, right?

I'll grow into it!

I'm sexy and I know it!
I did good, huh?