S-L-O-W-L-Y learning to cope

Celebrating 6 month ampuversary!
Celebrating 6 month ampuversary with a peanut butter shake!

Well, it’s been 19 days since we lost our Lily and missing her is still foremost on my mind every minute of every day. 19 days is not a long time but it feels like an eternity when it counts the time since you last could hold close a dearly loved one. The house still feels so empty and everything brings about a memory of our beautiful girl with the giant personality (e.g. a stupid reality TV competition involving people licking peanut butter off a plastic sheet to reveal a 4-digit code. Lily would have DOMINATED! And likely would have generously helped every competitor without bias).

We were so freakin’ lucky to be her family and have all her love!

An odd thought occurred to me last night and it was that in a cruel and strange way Lily’s osteosarcoma diagnosis was in a small way sort of a…I don’t want to call it a gift or a blessing, never that….but it was a great push to remind us that time was short and we needed to make the most of it. We *never* took Lily for granted in all her life but we took time for granted. Her health was always A+ and she was always very young at heart and strong physically. It was easy to forget that she was getting older because she didn’t act or look old! Her white hair disguised the gray so we barely noticed that the black spots on her face were being “whited out”.

LilyPawzThat awful first day of knowing she had bone cancer set in motion 7+ months of tighter hugs, more kisses, extra smile and laughs, a focus on fun, lots more crunchy peanut butter…and yes, more tears. But, had we not known, the overwhelming urgency to make the most of the those too few remaining precious moments would not have started until that early morning of Tuesday, December 16th when we awoke to her heartbreaking first grand mal seizure. Less than two weeks later, Lily was gone. Not from osteosarcoma, as we had braced ourselves for, but from a brain tumor long before the osteosarcoma had a chance to take her from us. I loathe cancer and I have special kind of hatred for that brain tumor that took her from us way too soon. I will never be thankful for her osteosarcoma but I am thankful for the reminder it provided to make the most of every single day. Time with loved ones is so precious.

Today I contacted the Oklahoma Great Dane rescue group to offer my services as a volunteer. My heart will not be ready to adopt or foster any time soon but the desire is great to help all those Dane faces in need of a home. Maybe it will help me to heal in the same way as being active in the Tripawd forums. The rescue has a need for home checks so it looks like they will be putting me to work soon.

Another day without Lily passes and my heart aches….the journey toward learning to live without her continues.

In honor of our sweet Lily

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Lily came to us during Christmas of 2005 and grew from ornery, adorably klutzy puppy into a 100-pound, adorably goofy Great Dane who had a unique gift for bringing us joy and laughter and who made it her full-time job to keep our family together and smiling at all times.

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Baby Dane. Here comes trouble!

Lily made everything fun. She was a very talented comedian. Just looking at her would make us smile from our head down to our toes. Puppy kindergarten, obedience classes, car rides, playing fetch, hikes, soaking up the sun, watching TV, chasing squirrels, snow days, swimming, float trips and lazy days on the couch are just to name a few. Her favorite place to be was with her family, especially right in the middle of a hug between her Mom and Dad.

Resting from a fetch session at Lily's favorite spot
Resting from a fetch session at Lily’s favorite spot

Although once considered by her brother, Elliott the Standard Poodle, to be a complete pain, Lily grew to assume to role of his guide and protector as Elliott developed corneal edemas and lost most of his eyesight. They became fast friends and loyal companions along with their brother, Bogart Jones the Lab.

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Baby Lily playing with Elliott and Bogart in January, 2006.

Lily had a severe addiction to peanut butter and was *extremely* persuasive in getting her Kong filled with it almost every evening, and sometimes an extra time during the day. Who can resist those beautiful blue eyes and a sloppy kiss? Not us.

Peanut butter. Yum.

Lily was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in May of 2014 and underwent rear leg amputation on May 8, 2014. Once she recovered from surgery she hopped on three legs like she was born to it. When she ran full speed you would have sworn she had all four legs. Squirrels resumed trembling at the thought of her. Not really, she was a terrible squirrel hunter but she never stopped trying and never stopped making us laugh out loud watching her.


We were devastated to say goodbye to Lily on December 28, 2014 but she will never, ever be forgotten and will always be deeply missed. We are so sad that she is gone but are so grateful for the time we had and all the life lessons she taught us along the way. She had a larger-than-life personality and brought the sunshine into our home. We will miss so many things about Lily but mostly how happy we all were when we were together and the millions of smiles and  thousands of throw-your-head-back laughs that she created in our home.


Rest in peace, sweet Lily. Your Dad and I will continue to carry on your work of keeping the family close and enjoying all our time together. You will always be a big part of our family. We love you very much and always will.

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Life Without Lily….

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Maybe I should have started this blog while Lily and I were on this journey together. I guess a big part of me felt the time was better spent having fun with her. And I believe I was right! But now she’s gone and the desire to chronicle her too-short life is overwhelming. Talking about her, writing about her makes me feel closer to her. The sense of loss is overwhelming at times.

The hurt is everywhere and oftentimes in places where you would least expect it. A look in the rearview mirror for a Dane perched on the backseat. A glance at an empty couch. A listen for the distinctive sound of her hopping through the house or sighing contentedly. A laugh when she hears herself or one of her brothers fart and she runs away, only to turn and look at all of us accusingly. Used green Pawz boots found on the floor of the car. A nightly ritual of helping a tripawd get into bed. A drive by Smashburger brings memories of peanut butter shakes for joyful ampuversary celebrations.

But more often the hurt is exactly where I guessed it would be. At night, when my toes peek out of the covers and I feel the chill of the air I find myself reaching to the middle of the bed to pull her blanket over her, knowing she will have rolled out of it and will be cold. I wake up in the morning and there is no “Morning Dane” laying right next to me with a big slurp for my face, a wag of the tail and some Dane-speak, presumably about how happy she is to see us and start the day. When I go to the kitchen in the morning to start breakfast for the dogs I listen for the sound of her hopping eagerly up to me when she hears me open the jar of Dasuquin chews. My feet no longer hang off the couch I have shared with a Great Dane for 9 years. My husband and I no longer playfully argue about whether Lily is “DG” (Daddy’s Girl) or “MG” (Mommy’s Girl) as Lily was prone to sometimes favor one of us with more kisses and affection over the other. We hug and there is no Lily trying to insert herself in the center of it all, our Lily Sandwich. There is no one to bark at the dogs and animals on the television and her squirrel DVD sits unwatched by her TV. The guest room bed, her “office” as we call it, sits empty with no one to watch out the window barking at neighbors who have the audacity to walk their dogs near our house. Her ball sits in the garage with no one to fetch it at the field next door. Squirrels wander around with no Lily, our inept little hunter, to chase them into trees and attempt to climb up after them. Elliott, our 14 year-old blind and deaf Standard Poodle has no guide and protector. The last cinnamon roll is right now sitting on the kitchen counter and Lily isn’t out there with her chin on the counter top talking to it, trying to coax it into her mouth. Who will graze on the lemongrass and lemon balm in the garden when spring arrives? Evening comes and the Kong’s sit in the toy basket with no one to bring them to us, sit properly, and begin insisting that one of us fill it with the most delightful treat of all, peanut butter. Oh, how many times we argued over who’s turn it was to fill the Kong! I’d take all the turns if I could just have her back with me now.

So much joy and unrestrained love and loyalty from one little Dane. When I see other people I alternate between feelings of extreme jealousy and intense sorrow….jealousy that they aren’t right now experiencing this feeling of agonizing loss. Sorrow for those same people who have never been touched by Lily and her vast capacity to love.

How long until I stop looking for her? Stop crying every day, many times per day? How long until I stop looking at Elliott and our elderly Lab, Bogart, without tinges of disappointment that it’s just them? How do we find new joy in a home where she has delivered throw-your-head-back-and-laugh-out-loud fun every single day for 9 years? As my husband has said: what did we do before Lily?

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