A goodbye letter to Billy, my first hairy son

Dear Billy,

The reason I need to write you this letter is because I want to thank you and although you may never receive this personally, maybe someone in doggie heaven can read it to you.

I remember the first time I saw a Puggle in the park I knew I had to have one. I went home immediately and looked them up online and a breeder from Oklahoma had a site and there you were with your brother Joe who had just been purchased.

When I showed Daddy your adorable picture we laughed at your name because we had never seen such a human name (Bill!) for a dog. I wanted you immediately!

We had just gotten married and bought a little condo and I was told that our place was probably too small for a dog because we didn’t have a yard and that having a dog was a big responsibility. I listened to Daddy tell me this and I really did agree our place was too small and that it would be a big responsibility to have you but none of that mattered because I was already in love with you.

The next day when Daddy went to go play a round of golf he said goodbye to me and I was at my computer. The minute I heard the door shut, I pulled up your profile, grabbed my credit card, clicked ‘Purchase’ and requested ASAP on the delivery. You were ours! I was a little nervous because I didn’t run this decision by Dad, so I called him on his cell phone and told him that I bought you and instead of getting upset he just laughed and was just as happy as I was.

I remember when I picked you up at the airport in the baggage claim area in your purple crate. You were so scared and had gone to the bathroom a number of times in your crate and so I couldn’t pick you up but I put my fingers inside so that you could kiss me and get familiar with the way I smelled, just like a new baby does.

We called you our first hairy son and we were so proud.

I didn’t to to work for a week because I didn’t want to leave you and you quickly became our world. We would get so excited to come home and see you because you were the cutest puppy in the whole world.

Now Billy, I love you but you were impossible to train and chewed up expensive sunglasses, baseball hats, shoes, paper towels and much more. We took you to puppy school and had a trainer come to our house, twice, but it was no use, you were just a little jackass but you were our jackass.

Derek was born in August and we were nervous about a baby coming home with us because we didn’t want you to feel unloved. Daddy brought home his little hat from the hospital so you could sniff him out before he came home. When we walked in, we put Derek down on the floor in his car seat and you walked up and continued to lick his little face with kisses and we knew that you loved him too. You were so incredibly patient with Derek as he grew older when he would pull on your tail or try to ride you like a horse. You were an amazing big brother and you and D formed an amazing friendship.

In 2010 when Cooper came home with us, you again impressed us with your love and patience with yet another boy in the house! Cooper fell in love with you too and although he was a bit rougher than Derek, you and he became fast friends and now you had four people to be protective over.

You were probably the most active, happy, healthy, energetic, loving, naughty, affectionate and crazy dog we had ever encountered but as any dog owner knows we loved you like a son.

I will never forget our daily walks and every single time I put your leash on and we walked out the door, you and I had a power struggle and you would yank on the leash with your teeth because, ok, I can admit it now, you were the Alpha and I was just the Mommy who let you do whatever you wanted. (Don’t tell Dad I admitted that!)

On our walks you would be checking everything out and I would say your name and you would look back and I would ask you how you were or tell you that I loved you. This always made Dad laugh, but you were human to me and I always secretly wished you could tell me how you were or that you loved me too even though your actions throughout your life showed me and our family how much you loved us. You never had to say a word. We felt it when you would run up to us when we walked in the door, cuddle with us on the couch, bring us your ball constantly, sleep on my or Daddy’s legs every single night or cry when we would drop you off at camp.

You made us laugh so hard when we would give you and bath and the minute you got out you would race around the house like a crazy man and we would all chase you with a towel to try to dry you off and we would have to shut all the doors to catch you.

For a guy who never spoke you were my biggest teacher of what unconditional love really is. Cuddling with me on the days I could not get out of bed, being so excited to see me even if I was only gone for 15 minutes at the grocery store, loving our baby boys like your own, never holding grudges, always protecting our family from any noises you heard at night and being a best friend we counted on to love all of us no matter what…Thank you Billy.

That is what made it so absolutely devastating when you hurt yourself. What did you do Billy? How did you get a slipped disc in your back that paralyzed your back legs and then lost control of your bowels? How could you go from active and healthy to weak and helpless in one week? You just turned 7, we were supposed to have more time with you. I wish you could answer these questions because the hardest part is that we will never know.

I’m trying not to cry every day because you always hated when I did and would lick my kisses like you were saying, “it’s Ok Mommy, don’t be sad.” But I am sad Billy. I miss you and I love you and I want you to know how much I appreciate you and how much Daddy, Derek and Cooper love and miss you too. There are huge holes in our hearts and we just want you back.

Poor Daddy was the one who had to take you to the hospital on your last night when you were giving up and not getting any better. He called me from the room you two were in and put me on speaker and I had to say goodbye to you. I felt so badly that I was out of the Country and not able to be there so I told you I loved you more than anything and that I was so sorry and what I forgot to say was Thank You which is why I am writing you now.

One of the hardest things in life is saying goodbye to someone you love more than anything in the world, especially when it’s too soon or not fair.

Billy, you were not just a dog to our family. You were our son, the boys’ brother and all of our best friend. You were loyal to us and protected us every day of your life and for that we are forever grateful.

I am sure you are up in heaven eating whatever you want,trying to get the squeaker out of a hedgehog, causing a little chaos and now protecting us, although not in person but as our guardian angel.

I’m not really sure how to end this because it breaks my heart still that you are really gone but just know in your heart that you were loved more than you will ever know and I am forever blessed that I got to be your Mommy in this life…

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