Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lightning (March 5, 1996-March 7, 2008)

Our Lightning had many names. It seems that each person who knew her and loved her had their own name for her. We called her Bug, and sometimes Bugabug. Her dad called her his Princess and we laughed at her royal behaviors. At mealtime she was Light-e-ning, all those syllables spread out into a song, telling her that her dinner was ready. Her "grandparents" Deirdre and Bob called her Yightening. Her other moms, Linda and Cathy, had several names for her but the one that sticks in my mind is Humpahump, and I guess that one's obvious. I usually called her my Baby Girl, or Pretty Girl.

The photo above is about a year old. My computer file says I took it on 3/16/07. For some reason, that photo has resonated with me, and I've used it in many ways, on this blog, as my Ravelry avatar, and on Moo cards. You see, I wanted her with me all the time. I never wanted to be without Lightning.

But last Friday we had to let Lightning go. Within just two weeks of initial diagnosis, and four days after a biopsy proved what we had only suspected, Lightning was too ill to go on. We had thought we would have time to analyze data, make plans, consider treatment plans, and we had no time at all. We had to make the hardest decision ever and we made it. Just two days after her birthday, our Lightning was gone.

Lightning was always our baby. Can you tell that by the fact that we celebrated her first birthday with a full-blown pug birthday party? She's the one in front with the purple collar. Even then she was too dignified to wear her hat like the others.

But she wasn't too dignified to wolf down her special birthday cake, specially constructed from canned dog food and fresh liver, and decorated with Cheez Whiz and dog treats. Spoiled? Nah!

Lightning was definitely a dog of opinions and one who didn't mind sharing them. She was uncommonly sweet and all the vets we've met over the years have commented on her wonderful personality. I've never known her to snap or growl at a person, but I guess that's because she thought she was one. I do know that she would not hesitate to let other dogs know when they'd stepped over the edge.

One of my favorite Lightning stories is about the time we took Lightning, Bert and Bluto to the Shenandoah National Forest one Thanksgiving. Of course, there are very strict rules about keeping your pets on a leash, but the day was beautiful and the park was almost empty and we had everyone loose. They were exploring the area, checking for deer scat (mmm, yum!) and frolicking in the stream, all of their little black bellies damp from dragging in the water. Suddenly, across the field came another unleashed dog, this one a huge Bull Mastiff.

The Mastiff was friendly enough, and only wanted to sniff us and maybe to play with one of those tiny (everything is relative!) pugs. But as he neared me, Lightning went into full executive protection mode. She leapt for the Mastiff's throat and clamped on with her teeth, growling. The Mastiff never even slowed--I'm not even sure he noticed there was an angry pug hanging from his throat like a flea. He gave her a gentle shake and she hung on until we separated them. That was typical of my Baby Girl, making sure that no big guy hurt us.

The other thing about Lightning is that she loved children. She especially loved our grandchildren. In fact, Cole went with me to pick her out, on the day she was born or a few days after. She wasn't even supposed to be born, of course. Her mama, Bubba, was a notorious tease, and had had several false pregnancies. I finally told Deirdre that if her crazy dog ever did produce puppies, we'd take one. And then came the call--there were puppies. Lightning and her littermate Thunder were the only two who survived from that first litter, and Cole zeroed in on her instantly. She was his baby, too, and all of the grandchildren's. Brandon characterized her last week as "the man." So I guess she has one more name, now.

Sleep well, Baby Girl. I hope you're frolicking with Bertie, chasing squirrels and splashing through creeks. We love you and we miss you. How am I supposed to sleep with no one skrit-skritting at the bedroom door to wake me up?


shortoldlady said...

So sorry for your loss. Our pets provide us with so much love. Sounds like the feeling were mutual. May your many happy memories get you thru the pain.

threadnsong said...

Oh, Diana! I am so very, very sorry for your loss. You obviously loved Lightning a whole bunch, and words just don't describe the pain of losing a "kid", especially not losing one so soon after her diagnosis.
Bright Blessings to you in your time of greif.

Jane said...

As tears stream down my face for your loss and heartbreak, I picture Lightening with my beloved Charlie Wharlie - and the 2 of them becoming best buds. Until we see them again... Hugs to you and all your family who are missing her right now.

Janice in GA said...

I am so, so sorry to hear about Lightning. Sleep well, little one...

katomliz said...

You have my deepest sympathy.Having several pugs myself- I know first hand how much these little guys getting into your heart. They are family. My heart goes out to you missing your little pug- bug friend is so sad.

Vivian said...

I followed your link through CIC emails. I'm so terribly sorry about Lightning. She was so lucky to live out her life with you, to be loved and treasured.

My black pug Bucky turned 12 in November and I blog about him and his 13 yo brother almost weekly. They both had mast cell tumors when they were younger, Trinket's being 1st degree cancer. So far nothing had come back, and we keep our fingers and toes all crossed.

We belong to a Dogs on Thursday group, it's a lot of fun to share stories and ideas with the dog people. Take a look and hope you have a chance to join us!

the pounce said...

very sorry to hear about your lightening. it sounds like you have a lot of the same quirks + traditions (including tons of different names) with your dog that we have with ours. the thought of abbey/abigail/abbey mae crumby being gone is too much to bear. i hope you hold on to the great memories you had with your pooch.

if you find it's getting difficult, check out the info on thepounce.com about grieving for a pet + ways to memorialize your pet. i blogged last week about oprah's dog, sophie, + kimora lee simmon's dog, zoe, dying recently. so sad.