Dog Hospice – My Lovely Lily

Nearly ten years ago — Jan. 2, 2000 — in a serendipitous fit of insanity, I brought into my chaotic life a long limbed gangly rescue puppy of questionable heritage. A diamond shaped white spot on her neck made me think of Diamond Lil, and hence, Lily entered the menagerie. (photo 1 from January 2000: from left: Finney the Sheltie, Zena at age 6 1/2, author holding 10 mo. old Sophie and 2 month old Lily, Callie just turned 3 and Maeya, the then queen of the pack at 8)

Whatever her genetic makeup, Lily and my youngest daughter Sophie grew up as puppies together. They shared toys, floor time and vied for my attention.

Lily started as a cocktail party dog, segued in her middling years as an intimate dinner party dog, and because I put effort into it, settled into her role as a dinner party girl.
She taught subsequent dogs — some permanent members, others for shorter stays — the way of her world. And she was just, fair, clear and direct. Once you earned her trust, she was yours for life. You can’t ask for more than that.

It’s hard to put into words all that she has been in her 10 years. What I do know is she has advanced canine hemangiosarcoma, discovered 10 days ago. Her time is measured by days or at most weeks, and there’s little to do but make her comfortable.

While her energy level is fading and she is steadily losing weight despite efforts to feed her more food and lots of treats, she still savors lots of petting, ear strokes and car rides. She greets all visitors and still nudges old friends for more of that petting. I am grateful I can modify my schedule to spend lots of time with her, and I can only hope that she stays comfortable until the end.

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