Today is World Pet Memorial Day. Such a bittersweet day. My heart was stolen in September 1990. Here’s the back story: Unbeknownst to me, my parents decided to add a canine to our family. “Teeters” and I got off on a rocky start. The first time I saw her–a scrawny, black and brown hound dog– I wondered what the heck she was! And, she wouldn’t stop barking at me! I was informed that due to my dad’s allergies, this pup would be sleeping with me. UGH! I truly didn’t want anything to do with this dog. You know what happened… I fell in love with her. Teeters, a beagle, became my dog. She was a great dog! She loved my future husband, Paul, the minute she met him. We wanted her to be in our wedding but decided that her black hair would not compliment my wedding gown. Paul and I rented a townhouse so that we could have Teeters live with us.
In December of 1999, I received devastating news that my grandpa was given the weekend to live. To distract me, Paul took me to the mall. In the pet shop there was this little fluffy yellow lab playing out on the floor. I fell in love instantly. The puppy fell asleep in Paul’s arms. We brought that bundle of fur home with us and named him Tanner. Let’s just say, Teeters was not impressed with having a little brother around! She did tolerate him but really didn’t want anything to do with him.
In August of 2000, we traveled to visit Paul’s parents. Tanner got to experience jumping into a lake and like a true lab, he loved it. Now, Teeters was a different story. She didn’t mind walking thru the water in the shallow end, but she preferred to sniff around like a true Beagle. We noticed that Teeters was doing a lot of panting. We called our vet and they suggested that we bring her in. We were almost 3 hrs. away. We packed as fast as we could and headed home. We called the vet when we were 20 min out and when we arrive at the clinic, the staff was waiting for us. They scooped her out of the car before I could even get my seatbelt off. The vet did some x-rays. Due to fluid in her lungs, the vet could not see a thing. Teeters was given meds to clear the fluid out. The next day it was back to the vet for another X-ray. We received devastating news–blood was flowing freely into her heart and causing breathing issues. We were given 3 choices: we could keep giving her the medicine and she could have a massive heart attack in front of us, which the Dr said is not pleasant to witness; we could keep giving her the meds and she would have the heart attack while we were at work and we would come home and find her gone; we could put her down. We said “goodbye” to our Teeters. I was completely inconsolable. We even adopted another beagle a few weeks later. I couldn’t do it and we gave her back to the rescue as she reminded me too much of Teeters. On World Pet Memorial Day I remember Teeters.
Time went on and we loved on Tanner. He grew into a big loveable lab. We bought our first house–a backyard for Tanner! We decided Tanner needed a baby sister. We talked to a couple of breeders and found sweet Jessie. She slept on me the whole way home. Oh, the puppy smell… and she was super fluffy too! Tanner was so happy that we brought him a playmate. He went belly up for her as soon as we placed her on the floor. She was excited and apparently hungry as she tried to “nurse” from Tanner. Boy did he “yelp” and jump up quickly! They were the best of friends! He was so patient with her. He would let her take any toy of his that she wanted. She would even hang from his lip and he would sway her back and forth.
We had our first human baby, James. Both dogs were so good when we brought him home from the hospital. Tanner stayed right by him. He was always between James and any adults. He would sleep in front of the bassinet, the swing, the exersaucer, the bouncy chair, everywhere! He was James’ protector. Jessie let James do whatever he wanted to her. One of my favorite pictures of them was when James was around 9 months old and he was sitting on the floor playing with the tags on her collar. She’s looking up at me to make sure that she was doing everything right.
We made the huge move from Ontario, Canada to McKinney, Texas. It took us 3 days to drive down as we had to stop and let the dogs out and do their business. In the spring of 2007, we had a really bad thunderstorm. I was upstairs changing James’ diaper and there was a huge flash and the thunder was right there. I could feel the energy. Tanner came running up the stairs and was shaking up against my leg. After that, Tanner could tell us when the storms were coming and how bad they were going to be. He was more accurate than any TV weatherman!!
When we first moved down to Texas, Tanner had a lump on his side. We had it removed when it was the size of a grapefruit. The biopsy revealed that it was cancer–spindle cancer, the best kind to have. A few months later, I was rubbing Tanner’s belly and found a small lump. The vet said that because of the cancer diagnosis from earlier, she wanted to remove the lump. While he was on the operating table, they went looking around for more lumps. They did find another mass inside his abdomen that we wouldn’t have found for a long time. They removed both lumps and discovered that one was cancerous.
Our next family addition was another human baby–Ryan. Again, Tanner made sure he protected his new boy. He let Ryan crawl all over him! Tanner’s cancer battle continued. The vet removed three lumps, one of which was the size of a Chihuahua. It was time for Jessie to have her annual exam. A few hours after her checkup, the vet called. “Is Jessie drinking more water and peeing more often?” We were informed that her glucose reading was at 452 and should only be at 120. Jessie was diagnosed with diabetes at almost 7 yrs. old. They told us that most dogs only live for around 2 years after being diagnosed. She would have to go on insulin shots twice a day, a strict diet with no more treats and would have to be fed every 12 hrs.
Our next crisis happened after a wonderful “Texas” Christmas. We noticed that Tanner was having breathing issues. Diagnosis? Lymphoma. We were instructed to love on Tanner as much as possible and that is what we did! In just 5 months, we lost our beloved Tanner to cancer. On World Pet Memorial Day, I remember Tanner. To this day, Tanner’s ashes are in Paul’s office. Jessie looked around for Tanner as she didn’t know life without him. She moped around the house. We took her everywhere we went when we could. She came with me when I went to pick James up from school. We didn’t realize that she was really depressed. Time for a new family member! We adopted Sam from the DFW Lab Rescue. Jessie was so happy that she had a new friend. We saw some spunk come back in her that we hadn’t seen in years. Sam was a great addition to our family. When we adopted him, he was a 1.5-2 yr. old yellow male lab. He’s super friendly and the most loveable dog I have ever met. I thought Tanner was loveable, but he has nothing on Sam!! Sam would like to crawl into your skin if you’d let him!
Jessie’s health slowly deteriorated. She stopped playing with Sam. On June 28th, 2018, we lost Jessie to complications from her diabetes. Her liver and kidneys were failing her and there wasn’t anything the vet could do for her. She had stopped eating and relieving herself. She was my girl. I have tears even as I write this, and it’s been almost a year. The vet said that we did such an amazing job of taking care of her. She was diagnosed at 7 yrs. old and we lost her at just over 13.5. We got an extra 5 years past the 2 years they said we’d lose her. I miss that girl every single day. On World Pet Memorial Day, I remember Jessie.
During the summer of 2018, we noticed that Sam was depressed like Jessie was. I started looking into adopting again. September 2018, we adopted Casey from the DFW Lab Rescue. She was abandoned with her puppies on the side of the road. Casey and Sam are funny together. She pushes him aside when he’s getting petted so that she can get all the TLC. It’s exactly what he did with Jessie. Casey loves to nibble on the side of his face and she even sounds like a Wookie when she does it! When a fire truck or police car goes by the house with its sirens going, it takes a few minutes, but she starts howling! Teeters the beagle didn’t even howl!! She’s such a character!
Sam helped heal our hearts after losing Tanner and Casey is helping to heal our hearts after losing Jessie. Our dogs are such a big part of our lives. To us, they are part of the family and not just pets. I talk to them all the time. I still talk to Teeters, Tanner and Jessie.
On World Pet Memorial Day, I give thanks for Teeters, Tanner and Jessie. They have left us with precious memories and will be in our hearts, forever.
This post was written by Lori MacPherson, a graduate of Sheridan College with a degree in business administration with an emphasis on accounting. Lori is originally from Ontario, Canada and moved to Texas in 2006. Lori is a mom to two “human” boys. In addition to being part of the PAWsome Top Dog Pet Sitters team, she enjoys spending time with her family and playing with the family dogs. More detail about our services may be found here, and our contact info and form may be found here. We look forward to working with you and your family!