Lady Belle

My dad gave me “Rescuing Sprite” for my birthday a few years ago. I didn’t pick it up to read it until this week. I had to put my sweet dog to sleep on May 3, 2009. I’m so glad I found your book on my bookshelf because it spoke so deeply to my heart. I had my Lady Belle for just over 13 years. She was about 2 when we got her from a friend who had found her on the streets. She was the prettiest and most energetic, sweet dog I’d ever seen. I said to my friend, “If you ever decide to get rid of this dog, call me!!” Two days later I was taking her home to be with me forever. That was February 1996. She was the first dog of mine since becoming an adult (I was just 22) so I was her sole caretaker. I invested a lot in her…time, money, energy, love. She was the best dog I’ve ever known. I used to joke about her outliving us all because she just kept going and going and going. She still had lots of energy before she died, well, a month before she died. Right at the end she didn’t do much of anything but sleep. In January of this year I found a big tumor inside her mouth. We had it removed and all went well…except that it was malignant. I was scared she wouldn’t do well in surgery because she was so old (15 years) but she did great! And she was so much better following the surgery…she was eating better, started gaining weight, had more energy. I thought it was all in the past and we wouldn’t have to worry about it again. The vet said it might come back since it was malignant but I was trying to be positive. Around the beginning of April I noticed her mouth was bothering her again. The tumor wasn’t back but she wasn’t eating well, was losing weight, had lost her energy and was favoring that side of her mouth. She started drooling puss and that’s when I knew things weren’t going to get better. She was suffering and this time we couldn’t do surgery to “remove” anything. There wasn’t anything to remove, but it was obviously hurting her. The vet said it had spread to the roof of her mouth…and there’s no way to know if it had spread through her body already. That’s the thing about our pets… they can’t tell us. And like you said in your book, we can’t tell them what’s going on either. We can’t tell them that we love them more than anything in the world and we don’t want to see them suffer. We want them out of pain more than we want to satiate our desire/need for their companionship. Taking Lady Belle to the vet that last day was the hardest thing to do. I wanted her to be out of pain but I was dying inside. She was such a major part of my life for 13 solid years…what would I do now without her? Would she understand what I had to do? Is she mad at me now thinking I betrayed her? Although those thoughts seem silly, that’s honestly what I’ve been feeling. It’s been just over 4 weeks since she died and although the pain has lightened some, it’s still hard and I miss her terribly. I see her picture and it just stabs me in the heart. I can’t wait to get to heaven to see her and explain to her what I had to do. And tell her I’m sorry. And that she’s the best dog in the world and I can’t believe I was so lucky to have her. Thank you, Mark, for sharing your heart and your story with Sprite. I love Sprite just through reading about him in your pages. I know the pain you felt and are still feeling and I’m relieved to know I’m not alone. I felt like a weird-o because of how sad/depressed I was when I lost her. But I’m not alone and I needed to know that. Thank you and God bless you.
Gretchen from TX