Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Saying goodbye never gets any easier when it comes to a loving pet

In 2014, a short time after having lost my dog after her battle with cancer, I got a call from a vet tech at my vet's office asking if I was open to foster a 5 pound chihuahua.

Her name was Noelle and she was in Tennessee where her nurse owner had passed. She was shifted from home to home, and it wasn't working out. My vet tech asked if I would be willing to foster her until a home could be found, and I agreed. She was brought to the area, and I picked up this little girl to give her a chance to start over in a new area.

Four days later the call comes that they found a possible home for her. I told her: No thanks, she's already home.

Noelle and I bonded almost immediately. I gave her time to get used to things--which included my cats which she didn't care much about--and just days after arriving she made her way into my bed at night, where she slept every night until now.

There were so many memories. Like making herself comfortable on the living room couch with a perfect view of the front yard where she could alert me to any stranger in her line of sight (I always knew when the landscapers or UPS was there!). It was her regular daily perch. She would always keep an eye on me too from her lookout. But the one memory I'll always treasure was just days after arriving, she was on her perch as I was getting ready for bed. She turned to see me and where I was going but sat comfortably on the sofa cushion, she called home. I called out "Noelle!" and waved my hand as if to say come on, let's go. Instantly she jumped down and ran to follow me, up the steps to the bed where she would stay until I got up for work the next morning. I wondered how did she learn that, and would she every do it again? She did it every day!

She was a little overweight when I got her, so with my vet's recommendation I got her a low-fat food which, fortunately, she loved and ate it almost all the time I had her.

She was never a problem. But in the last few years she developed pancreatitis and required some medication and a strict diet. She would have flare-ups from time to time which my vet and I monitored it. Earlier this year when I brought her in for routine bloodwork I was told she had anemia (insufficient red blood cells) and the mission was to find out why and how to fix that. The end of the story wasn't what I had hoped: an ultrasound revealed a mass in her stomach wall that appeared to be a tumor. There also was some (less important) issues involving her liver and kidney but it was the tumor that was the cause of the anemia and making it very difficult for her system to regenerate red blood cells. As her eating habits got more erratic, I had to brace for the obvious. And just within the past few days I saw a decline in her quality of life. She had been the perfect companion for all these years and my commitment was not to let her suffer.

Today Noelle crossed the rainbow bridge, with no pancreatitis, no tumor, and some incredible food to enjoy without worrying about the fat. Fly free sweet angel. Any dog I get now will have a high bar to meet. I will miss you so.

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