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Passing of a friend who taught her so much Kate Davies | Sat, Feb 26 2011 12:00 PM

My sweet Darcy passed away.

I wish I could put into words just how much I loved her. I wish I had the vocabulary to do justice to her sweet face - how her deep brown eyes were so calm and full of love all the time, and yet so full of mischief. My friends and I called her 'The Bombproof Beagle', because that is what she seemed to be. She was 15 years old when she died, and was riddled with cancer in every part of her body, yet she kept on trucking until the very last minute.

When she developed an enormous mammary tumor that had to be removed in August of last year, the vet warned me that she probably wouldn't live until Christmas. When she developed an inoperable cancerous tumor that wrapped around her front elbow, making the use of that leg impossible, the vet warned me that she certainly wouldn't live until Christmas. Darcy seemed to pour her heart and indomitable soul into proving them wrong. And she did. She gave me one last Christmas with her, and I will never stop being grateful for that.

Eventually, she wouldn't stand up on her own, and every action seemed to exhaust her. She wouldn't eat, and she wasn't wagging her tail. After two days of seeing her like that, I decided that I had to make the tough decision to put her to sleep. On the Saturday morning that the appointment was scheduled, I opened the room to let her out... and she came bouncing out like a kangaroo on speed. She gobbled up her breakfast and hopped out to go to the bathroom. I cancelled the appointment.

Looking back, I was nowhere near ready for her to leave, and I don't think she was either. Although I had known deep down that I didn't have much longer with her, I was stuck firmly in denial, and hadn't prepared myself emotionally or mentally for her passing. I firmly believe that she chose to give me a couple more weeks to try and come to terms with the reality of her age and her sickness.

Last Sunday morning it was obvious that she had slowed down once again, and something in me knew that her last rally was exactly that. I took her to the beach in her little red wagon, and hoped that it wasn't the last time that I would wheel her around in it... although I knew somewhere in me that it was.

On Tuesday night, she couldn't hop more than a few paces without collapsing. She wouldn't eat, and even standing was an effort for her. After I had put her to bed, I could hear her get up in the night, which she had never done, and I went to check in on her four times, which I have never done before either. The last words I said to her were, "Hang in there for me baby girl."

When I went to let her out in the morning, she was gone.

I want to think that she went peacefully in her sleep. I want to believe that she wasn't in pain or struggling when she passed. The fact is that I don't know, and it's killing me. I feel so desperately guilty that I wasn't with her when she left this earth, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I only hope that she knew how much I loved her, and how much joy and laughter she brought to my life. I hope that she knows that I will never stop loving or missing her. I keep listening for her 'hoppity-hop' across the floor... until I realize I will never hear it again. I keep walking past the place where she ate when I feed the others, and feel an ache in my heart when I realize I will never again put a bowl down for her and listen her go at it as if she were in an eating competition.

I adopted her when she was 11 years old - already an old lady - and I had four beautiful years with her. The grief of losing her is unlike anything I have ever experienced, but I know it will grow less with time. I loved her so much, and in a way, every tear I shed is a testimony to how strongly she touched my life.

Rest in peace my Darcy girl.

You will be missed more than you could ever know.

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