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My Tribute to my Angel...

Harley
January 17, 2002 - February 15, 2012
Nicknames: Harley Girl
Age: 10
Pet Type: Black Labrador Retriever
Lived: Tennessee
Author: allygraeclark
Favourite Things

She loved to play with toys and run up the stairs to go fetch. She loved running outside. She loved being loved.

Best Qualities

affectionate, smart, hilarious, protective, caring

Typing this seem so surreal.

Before my little Harley entered my family's life, I never knew what it would be like to love a dog. I never imagined being so connected to her.

When she was a puppy, she was so playful. She loved to play hide & seek. Even though she often got ahold of shoes or other non-toy items, we were never too mad at her. She would look at us with those gorgeous brown eyes, and we'd swell up with love. 

Throughout her 10 years with us, there is no doubt in my mind that she knew she was loved. She was never just a dog to us. She was a family member. She knew who daddy was, who mommy was, and who I, her sister, was. To think back that I was only 10 when we got her is crazy. I grew up with Harley. She knew me and all of my emotions. She always knew when i was happy, cause she'd wag her tail and seemingly smile back at me. She knew when I was upset and when she needed to be quiet and sensitive and loving to me. 

As she was getting older, we knew this dreadful day would soon come. Our family had talked about it before, but there is no way we could have been prepared for her passing. We expected her health to slowly decrease over time, and that way we would be able to get it into our minds that she'd be leaving us soon. Instead, after a day of not moving at all, not eating or drinking water, and having unusual accidents in the house, my father and I took her to the vet. Even though I knew Harley was in bad shape, I kept telling myself that she would get medicine and then get better. Deep down, I think I knew all day that her time was about to come to an end. After xrays, blood work, and an examination, the veterinarian unfortunately informed us that our beloved Harley had a large tumor in her stomach that had most likely started bleeding. As I heard him say those words, I just told myself that there would be a way to treat it. Our options were: to do a very risky surgery to try to remove the tumor, but the surgery could have very likely killed her, to give her lasics, which may have helped her slightly but wouldn't have taken the tumor away, to take her home to eventually die in probably the next few days, or to euthanize her. For selfish reasons, I wanted to do anything to try to save her. I did not want my baby girl to go like that. Thankfully, my father knew what was best, and decided it was only fair to let Harley go. She was going to inevitably die. Why make her suffer for a few more days or to suffer through a surgery that she'd probably not make it out of? When my dad officially signed the papers to put her to sleep, I thought I could lie down with Harley and die with her. I've never hurt and wanted a different outcome so bad in my life. By this time, my mother was there and decided she wanted to stay with Harley as she drifted off to sleep. However, as my dad and I were incredibly shaken up, we had to kiss our first dog we ever had as a family and tell her goodbye and that we loved her and then walk out. I could barely even stand up. The day before, I had no idea that we'd be saying goodbye to Harley the very next day. She was fine the day before. She played and acted like her usual self. And then, she was gone. Words cannot express the pain and emptiness in my heart and soul. The drive home after leaving my baby there was the longest drive of my life. We didn't know when we took her to the vet, that she would not be coming home with us. 

As soon as I walked into my house, I grabbed up my 2 shih-tzus and cried and made sure they knew I loved them. I found so much comfort in having them at that moment. It hurts me to think that in the next few days, they could start showing signs of sadness like the rest of the family is. I have already seen one of my babies hurting until she had to leave us. I can't stand to see my other girls in pain, too. Chloe and Macy loved Harley. I think Chloe will take it a lot harder than Macy though. Chloe and Harley had such a special relationship. Chloe first came into our house with Harley already there. She had been used to being with Harley every day of her life. Imagine this: Harley was a 99 lb black lab and Chloe is a 10 lb shih-tzu, but Harley would gladly lay down and let Chloe lick all over her face. I know they loved each other. In fact, the morning of Harley's departure, I think Chloe knew what was going on. She laid by Harley most of the day and occassionally gently licked on Harley's face. I know Chloe will miss Harley just like the rest of us.

So far, it's only been 9 hours since Harley's death, but it seems like a lifetime. Everywhere I look in my house, I see memories of my Harley playing or sleeping or eating. It tears me up constantly. It hurts to see her dog hair around the house. It hurts to see her bed right beside her daddy's side of the bed. It hurts to feed my other dogs, and know Harley won't be there waiting on food as well. It hurts to think about the little things Harley did every day. She always laid down to lick her paws as soon as she got done eating, as if she picked up the food with those paws and then had to get them clean. It sucks to know she won't be greeting us at the door every time we walk in and she won't be barking for us to come inside if we're in the front yard because she so desperarely wants to be outside with us.

Life without Harley seems impossible. She was with us for 10 years. It seems crazy to think she won't physically be around anymore. I say physically, because she'll always be in our hearts. I could never forget the first dog I had, the dog that changed my opinions about dogs and turned me into an avid dog-lover, the dog that I grew up with. 

My main hope now is that she realized that we put her to sleep for her good. We would've kept her forever if we could have. The last thing we wanted was for our baby to be in pain and to be suffering. We let her go so she'd know we love her and deeply care for her. 

Here's to hoping she watches over me and my family as our own little guardian dog. :)

I love you, Harley. Bringing you into our lives was one of the best decisions we ever made. Thank you for the years of love, fun, and excitement. We'll miss you, big girl. Rest peacefully. <3

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