It was yesterday, on February 5th that the world lost a very special little dog. She touched our hearts and saved lives, and even in death she will continue to be a force of good in the lives of dogs in need.
Lulu was raised in a puppy mill in Missouri, the state with the highest concentration of puppy mills. There she was injured and abused and learned to fear, but her spirit could not be crushed. She came to us at the end of August 2012, and we instantly knew we had to be the ones to give her a real home and show her what love is. For the entire time she was with us we were dedicated to this, and lived for the moments when she was happy, which had finally become frequent after we started fostering dogs.
I remember sitting on the floor with treats trying to get her to come close to me, but needing to slide them to her because she wouldn’t come. I remember when she was so scared about me picking her up that she peed. And I remember when the call went out for foster families from the rescue we had adopted her from. Her life changed then. Because we felt she would be lonely if unable to fully be comfortable with us, we gave her many friends this way, and she loved every one of them. We saw her smile, wag her tail, jump and play. The last one she knew, Ben, was one to whom she could return the favor.
Lulu had always had dental problems. Because papillions are a breed that requires more dental attention than most, and her proper care had been neglected for so long. On Friday the right side of her mouth started to swell, and we noticed she was experiencing some discomfort. Under anesthesia, during dental work on Tuesday, her jaw broke apart as a tooth was removed, one of only a few she had remaining. Under X-ray it was revealed she had bone cancer. The vet was amazed she had been eating normally, because under the circumstances it was evident she must have been in a lot of pain. But she never showed it. Lulu was an extremely strong little girl. She could live through almost anything. She had a joyful attitude and no matter what life threw at her she just kept going. But now it was time to end her pain. Bone cancer in dogs simply does not get better. Because this was discovered under anesthesia, she never knew her jaw had broken. She never had to be bottle-fed and didn’t have to linger in pain for months. Finally this sweet little girl could be free.
Our lives are now dedicated to fostering and helping animals in need. Lulu inspired this and we will continue to do this for the rest of our lives. We will miss her dearly but her memory will live on in each dog that, because of her, gets a second chance. We were so blessed to have her in our lives, even though our time together was short. It wasn’t fair that she had to suffer so much. We hope that through her this suffering can turn into something good, so that suffering in others is prevented. Lulu was an angel, and is now even more so.
Please consider fostering or supporting an animal rescue. Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely, for that one dog the world will change forever. Rest in peace, little darling.