Nana The Warrior

A Letter to Nana

My  shadow, my baby, my best friend, my happy little girl- Where do I begin?

You must have endured so much in your short time on earth before you were saved by the angels at Slaughterhouse Survivors. I could tell how much they loved you when they decided to sponsor your freedom flight knowing your cancer would only allow you to have a short time with me. Their love for you was even more confirmed when I met Hayley, the founder of SHS, who had flown over with you. When you and the crew were cleared from customs, I could hear one dog barking so loudly from afar at JFK. When you passed by me with your friends in your crate and I saw that you were the one being so vocal, I knew I had my hands full with you. You made me laugh from the minute you arrived, of course you had to let everyone know how ready you were to experience real freedom. Your uncle Thomas opened your crate and the minute you were out I could tell how strong of a soul you were. 

The minute we locked eyes you became a part of me, which I had already felt connected to you before your flight to New York City. Your body did not allow you to jump on my bed or walk up the stairs so I would carry you up my third-floor walkup and the first two weeks I slept on an air mattress on the floor to be with you. I eventually moved my bed to the floor for us to cuddle easier. You loved being in my arms and I loved holding you. 

My Nana, you were the sassiest, busiest, funniest and sweetest girl I’ve ever met. You filled my house and life with so much joy and happiness. My house had never felt emptier when you left us. I miss my commitment and routine with you. You needed so much TLC and I loved giving it to you, you were so worthy of it and gave so much back. 

I would wake you before we were both ready to rise in hopes that your CBD supplements would kick in by the time we were ready for our morning walk. Those morning walks were the best, especially when we had them along the river. You just loved the fresh air and I loved seeing the breeze passing through your long fluffy fur as you took all your surroundings in with a smile. Your smile was one of my favorite things about you and those teeth of yours were the cutest! 

I hated seeing you suffer, and I am glad that it was not often that you did. You were so strong, you were such a tough girl, even on your worst days you managed to enjoy yourself and push through not only for you but also for me. I was so fortunate to have you my love. You kept me in your little bubble and made me forget about all my troubles and reality. You loved me and needed me as much as I loved and needed you. I never felt so connected to any animal. You were the biggest gift I’ve had in my life, one of the best friends I’ve ever had. 

You’ve impacted and changed my life for forever. I never imaged that making you an Instagram would turn into such a beautiful thing for you and me. You brought so many amazing people into my life, and I will forever be thankful for you and them. So many people around the world loved you baby girl and we will always remember you and that smile. You were a force to be reckoned with, the bravest cancer warrior there ever was.  

It was so fun bringing you to work with me but eventually I was laid off because of Covid-19. The virus did give us something beautiful which was time. It gave us so much time together, more time than I could’ve ever wished for with you. Every day with you was such a blessing. I absolutely loved having you by my side every minute of the day and night. The virus cursed us however with your vet appointments as it became very difficult to even schedule an appointment along with cancellations. When I was told that your cancer had spread into your lungs from your lymph nodes and breast, I knew we were in trouble. I remember that day so vividly, I was told that it was a miracle that you were standing. I was shocked when I was told that you could pass any day. I left that appointment knowing that I had to try my best to keep you longer with me as long as you were comfortable and still fighting.And when the vets disappointed us your cheerleaders came together for us, and supported us for your entire journey with me and your cancer.

Your cancer was so aggressive and your tumors returned but I still had hope that we would have much longer when your blood work looked outstanding. However, when I saw that one of your tumors was growing at such a rapid pace, I knew then that your cancer was taking over your beautiful helpless, innocent body regardless of all my attempts to stop it. We still were able to enjoy 3 months after the appointment that you were given possibly days to live. I believe that was because of your will and fight to live, your love of life and the love that I, your Uncle Daniel and so many people had for you. You built the most beautiful community; everyone was cheering for you.

The hardest part of losing you was that you had no idea that you were about to leave me. I still remember that day, I found you laying in a pool of your blood after that aggressive tumor ruptured. You were somehow still just smiling, looking up at me not knowing that you were dying. You were so eager to play and be active with me even though it would be one of our last days together. I was forced to make the phone call to the amazing vet who I spoke with in advance to ensure that you could pass peacefully with me at home.  I told him with tears running down my face that it was time to schedule a time and day to say goodbye just as you came pawing at me for love, it was like you were telling me it was all going to be okay. 

That was the hardest decision I ever made in my life, but I knew that it was fair, and I would never have let you suffer just to keep you around with me longer. We took a bath together after that call and I cleaned your bloody tumor and got you ready for a lovely day together on the water. I kept thinking of how we had just celebrated your life with your friends on Zoom only two weeks prior and here I was getting ready to have one my last days with you. 

May 5th arrived, which was the day for you to pass, and for me to let you cross to other side of the rainbow. We had the most beautiful day; it was absolutely perfect. You felt so good that day it was so unfair to think that you were going to have to go when you weren’t ready, but it made me happy knowing that your last day would be beautiful and pain free. Nothing could’ve ever prepared me for such a great loss. 

That day, I let you eat your favorite food, and you played with your favorite toys, we danced around the living room as you left your painted paw-prints for me to keep on paper. When the vet arrived, and we got you ready to leave Earth, I played the song “I Grieve” by Peter Gabriel, the lyrics were meant for us. “I grieve, for you, you leave me, so hard to move on, still loving what’s gone, they say life carries on, carries on and on and on.”

I laid with you while you tried to get me to play one last time, and when you finally got sleepy I held you so tight, I felt your soul come through me and leave the room, the vet confirmed that you had joined the angels. It was so sunny the day you passed but when the vet arrived it started to rain as the clouds rolled in. After you left us, I opened the curtains to the sun shining for you. We put you in your wagon which was donated from someone who loved you so much. I played one more song that we use to listen to on sunny days and which is “Follow The Sun” by Xavier Rudd, gosh you looked so peaceful and beautiful.  I kissed you goodbye a few more times as they lifted you into the vets car for you to be cremated.

It was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it was the best and most beautiful way to let you go. I am so sorry I couldn’t save you my baby, but you’ll always be near to me. I buried some of your ashes under our favorite tree. I know they will always be there, down on the river where we loved spending our days. Thank you for bringing such beautiful people into my life. You were brought into my life for so many reasons Nana and because of you and the community that you built we will continue to fight for the voiceless, helpless dogs that humans have let down.

And lastly, I must say how much I miss you! I miss you following me around, I miss your demands & all the conversations we had. I miss you pawing at me half of the day, I miss not having any privacy even in the bathroom or when I would bathe. Oh, and our bath times, even if we had them together to clean that terrible tumor that took you. I miss holding you and our lazy days. I miss eating meals with you, I always loved your appetite. You would eat anything and loved getting into the fridge.  Your big appetite is one of the things I was so happy to see never change even with your cancer progressing. I miss our meditation sessions when you would put your paw on my forehead, I miss your fluffiness and even missing getting your fur everywhere. I still keep finding your fur and am guilty of saving the pieces when I do. I miss your welcome homes that could be heard by everyone. I miss dancing with you. I miss everything little thing about you and would do anything to have you by my side. My Nana, I hope I have made you proud as you look down on me! I know you are watching over me; I see your signs everywhere; you’ll always be with me. I wish you were here with me & Liberty and I know you would absolutely love your brother Miles. I know you are watching over us and everyone. I love you my baby girl, forever and ever. 

Be a forever home.
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