There are few things in life that offer a greater reward than caring for an innocent being whose greatest joy is giving you love in return.  I have written about my dog, Bryn, in these pages before.  She is, by far, the sweetest dog I’ve ever known but one that has had to struggle through life from the very beginning.

When I first held her, she was a week old, and I bottle fed her from the time she was a week and a half old, because, as the runt of the litter, she was not able to get past her other 11 siblings to eat.  I fell immediately in love with her.  The look in her sweet little eyes when I fed her was so trusting, and we formed an unbreakable bond.

We found out at her five week checkup that she had a serious heart defect. An extra artery made her heart beat way too fast, and Dr. Marshall, our wonderful veteranarian, told us that she probably wouldn’t live past eight, and she’d always be smaller than her genes intended. In the five years we’ve had the pleasure of caring for her, though, she’s proved us all wrong. She’s been healthy and energetic, her heart problem has mostly fixed itself and she grew to 63 pounds.

Yesterday, though, it was obvious that she didn’t feel good. She was listless and hardly moved. We got her to eat and drink, but she threw up within 15 minutes without even trying to move first. It got all over me, and she looked up at me as if to say, “I’m sorry…I couldn’t help myself,” but she didn’t move an inch.  I knew then that it was something serious.

I took her to the vet this morning when they first opened, and by then, her eyes, ears and gums were jaundiced. The look in Dr. Marshall’s eyes told me it wasn’t good. He said she looks like she has liver disease or bileary disease.  We took her outside to pee, and it was dark brown, it was so filled with bile. He took blood — a difficult task with her being so dehydrated — and sent us home. Not a good sign, since I thought they’d want to put her on fluids right away. He’s off this afternoon, but he’s going into the office long enough to get a diagnosis from the blood test and call me. Whatever it is, her chances are not good.

I love all my pets, but Bryn is my special girl.  The thought of losing her after five short years is unbearable. She’s lying at my feet now, looking up at me with such love and sadness, as if she knows what’s going on. Our other dog, Max, is just outside, crying for her with such desperation that I can hardly bear to listen.

In a month where I have had nothing but bad luck — a job layoff, a flat tire, my rear car window smashed out by someone for fun, my medical insurance being cancelled by accident — nothing compares to this. I hope and pray that we can save her, but I fear we cannot. Why do things like this have to happen?  She’s such a good girl…such a great dog and such a good friend. :(

Edit: Bryn passed away this afternoon at 5pm after we discovered that her entire belly was full of a horrible tumor. We are devastated. We were so honored to have been allowed to share this wonderful soul’s life, and I will never forget our last moments with her.  She licked us both, wagged her tail and passed away while we held her.  I’m so glad she didn’t have to go through that alone and that she was surrounded by love as she gave us love to the very end.