It is a sad day at Smiling Dog Farms. Happy the boxer died this morning.
Shown here is Happy this past Spring with Yvette, her mommy. This photo was taken at our beach house in Galveston. Happy would travel with us to the beach house, whenever we were there.
Yvette rescued Happy from a shelter in Virginia a couple years ago. Happy was quite old then, and was not expected to live much longer. Yvette did not want Happy to die in a shelter, or be put down before her time.
So she took her home, to let Happy die peacefully in a loving environment.
Except Happy didn't die! She lived on, and as time passed, Yvette faced another dilemma. Yvette is a member of the armed services. She was back in the U.S. but knew she would be deployed back to Iraq soon. And Happy was still alive and well!
Yvette left Happy with a friend when she had to report for duty. But soon the friend could not care for Happy, because Happy's use of her back legs had deteriorated and Yvette's friend could not carry her up and down the stairs to her apartment. (Happy weighed nearly 80 lb!)
So Yvette asked if Happy could come to live out the rest of her life at Smiling Dog Farms. And we said "yes".
That was last Fall. Once again, everyone expected Happy did not have a lot of time left. But she just kept on going! For a while, she lived in a townhome and play yard with several other elderly dogs.
Soon, however, we brought her into the house to live full time, because we feared the end was near. But she surprised us once again, and would go up and down the hallway with her two front legs dragging her body behind her, always interested and eager to see what was going on!
We used to joke that Happy would no doubt still be here waiting when Yvette returned from her deployment this Fall. But it was not to be.
Every time we came to the beach, we brought Happy. She enjoyed sitting in the yard with the other dogs romping all around her.
Her appetite remained strong right up to the very end, and she had a spark of life in her eyes that was unmistakable. Her life had changed, but she never stopped enjoying her life as it evolved.
She lived in Ricky's office. She had a large comforter and "pee pads" under her, to soak up her urine and keep it away from her skin. She had been incontinent since she came to the farm. We made sure she never felt badly for having "accidents" in the house!
About a week ago, she started slowing down measurably. She lost the use of her front legs and needed to be carried from place to place. We knew the end was near. For real this time.
Ricky and I had planned to take a quick two-day vacation at the beach house in Galveston. Of course, Happy piled into the truck behind Ricky and happily made the trip to the beach again. It has become a ritual she recognized and looked forward to.
Saturday afternoon, she laid in the yard with the other dogs, who would stop by to visit with her. Her eyes still said that she was interested and alert, even if her body would no longer do as she wished.
This morning we lost her. We were able to say our good byes and hold her and kiss her one last time before she departed on her journey, to a place where he legs will work perfectly again and she can run like the wind, just as she did so many years ago.
We will miss you, sweet Happy.