The First Little Eklove

This old girl has been an Eklove for almost 10 years.  Tonight is her last night with us.  It's been a long, good journey for all of us.  Rewind ten years ago and Jeff and I were newlyweds living in an apartment that didn't allow dogs.  Jeff's Dad owned the apartment….and I guess I decided to start testing the unconditional love of family early on - because about three months after we got married we started searching for a dog.  The first time Jeff and I went to the shelter we came home empty handed.  And full of tears (on my end….I have to clarify….Jeff is the rational one).  He reminded me that we could go back the next week to look again.  And the next time we went as soon as we saw her, we knew.  She was the one.  Her name was Jill and it only took us five minute to pick her new name - Autumn Louise Eklove.

She was a spoiled rotten dog for two years before we rocked her world (and ours) with Addison.  She went everywhere with us and she was a good pup.  When we brought Addison home from the hospital she was a bit miffed.  She basically ignored Jeff and I for the first six months of Addison's life.  She quickly abandoned her spot on our bed and slept in front of the crib every night.  Over time, she returned to her spot on our bed - but we would often find her getting down to check both of the girls bedrooms and "doing the rounds".

Autumn has some funny traits.  She will 'pre bark'.  It's not quite a bark but she will quietly let us know she is talking to us.  She literally eats her own paws when she gets anxious.  Get that, the therapist's dog is literally a cutter.  She has also decided in the last two years that she is allowed on the sofa.  We just came home one day and there she was.  And since then she's never once made an effort to hide it from us.  She carries her leopard print stuffed bone around like it's a baby and she will lay on her back with her paws on the air just because she can.

The last few weeks have been exceptionally hard.  She has become older and older, but she has also become sick.  She has a growth that the vet can't do anything about.  Her kidneys and liver aren't functionally properly and there's not much we can do for her.  It's been such a tough call because she has days where she is her old, crazy, energetic self.  On Easter Sunday she snuck away, rolled in the mud in the creek and chased about 20 wild turkeys and 5 deer out of the yard and came trotting up to us, with mud spraying everywhere.  She looked like her puppy self.  However, the next day - she never moved off the couch.

She has taught our girls so much.  Before age 3 Addison took responsibility for feeding Autumn.  And we've spent three years trying to teach Olive to watch where she's walking.  Olive steps on Autumn.  Every day.  It's almost as if there are magnets in Olive's feet that pull her to Autumn.  But most importantly, she has taught these girls how to love unconditionally.  Explaining the loss of Autumn to Addy and Olive has been heart wrenching - but they have also, had the privilege of loving her.

She's a good dog, and she deserves the right ending.  I am so thankful that God has given us the time to prepare the girls, to love and spoil this puppy and to get ready for tomorrow.  It's not going to be easy.  But loving her sure was, and always will be.

See you someday Autumn, we'll meet you at Rainbow Bridge.


Anonymous said...

Sara, I feel your pain. There is nothing worse than making that decision but we all know it is for the best. Cherish the memories. Pets are part of the family and it is so hard..

Sue Carrick said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
I have a toy poodle that just turned 4.
She is the love of my life.
So my heart goes out to you.
Again, I am so sorry.

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