My mom and I had a piece of artwork in our kitchen when I was growing up with that saying, but I never realized how true it was until a year ago. My husband, stepson and I had been living in our house together for two and a half years at the time, yet in the car on our way home from picking up sweet Maizy, I turned to my husband and said, “Now we’re really a family.”
Not moving in together. Not the wedding. But getting a puppy. Now of course I was only kidding, but there was something about bringing Maizy into our house that really made it feel like a home.
We had been saying for a while that we would get a dog when the time was right. We waited for the craziness surrounding our wedding to pass us, and then one day, we decided (aka I convinced Rob) we were ready. We talked about it over lunch, and by the end of the day I had searched online through all of the available dachshunds at rescue groups within a "reasonable" 7-8 hour driving distance from my house. That’s how I found her. A sweet little one-year-old dapple mini who stole my heart from the second I saw her pictures. Her name was Lucy and she was at a foster home in Houston. I showed her picture to my husband and he agreed. Lucy was going to be a part of our family.
I spent an hour filling out the online application and another 30 minutes on a phone interview with one of the rescue group’s volunteers. After that went so well (or so I thought) I went and bought Lucy a bed, toys and treats, and I made travel arrangements to pick her up that weekend. I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself. Picking up Lucy was all I could think about.
And then I got the next phone call. Lucy wasn’t coming home with me after all. According to her foster parents, because I have a job and wouldn’t be home all day with her and didn’t have any other dogs, they didn’t think I was the right fit for her. I took it really hard, but continued my search for the right dog for our family. After receiving similar responses from other rescue groups, I decided to look for local breeders instead. I scanned the newspaper ads and made a few phone calls, and I found a little baby dapple female just like Lucy all ready to take home. My husband and I made the 30 minute drive, got out my car, and saw this tiny little princess in a cardboard box. The second I held her I knew why adopting Lucy didn't work out. It was love at first sight. THAT was my dog.
It’s amazing how much you can fall in love with a two-pound furball in 72 hours, but by day three Maizy had stolen our hearts and become family. We bought her on a Friday, and she had her first puppy appointment at the vet on Monday. It was there that the vet made a terrible discovery. Maizy was diagnosed with Parvo, a virus that can be fatal to puppies her size. My choices were to do nothing and she would die (not an option!) or to hospitalize her and give her antibiotics and fluids and pray for a chance of survival. Even with treatment I was given 50% odds.
She received agressive treatment, including a blood transfusion, and fought as hard as she could, but her tiny body just wasn’t as strong as her mind. I went to visit her one last time before she passed. She kept giving me the sweetest puppy kisses and putting her tiny snout up to my face like she couldn’t get close enough to me. I was afraid she wouldn’t remember me since at that point she had spent more days in the hospital than she had at home, but she did. She knew exactly who I was and I made sure she knew how much I loved her.
One week to the day after we bought her and the day she turned seven weeks old, Maizy passed away.
More than anything I was sad. But I was also very, very ANGRY! I struggled to find a reason for her suffering and death. But somewhere inside of me, I was able to find comfort that I at least gave her a fighting chance. Without our family, her infection likely would have gone unnoticed and untreated, and she would have had a very unceremonious passing devoid of any love.
I thought about how if our family's earlier attempt at adopting Lucy would have worked out, it would have saved us from a lot of sadness. I know now, though, that I wasn’t meant to rescue Lucy. I was meant to love Maizy. She was only with us for a short week, but in that time span she received more love than some dogs do in their entire lives. And in turn, she touched my heart and my family’s life in a way I never thought possible in a week’s time. I may not have been able to save her life, but our family gave her a beautiful ending that I will always remember and cherish.
It's been a year since you crossed over Rainbow Bridge and I still think about you often. Thanks for the joy and love you brought to our lives, sweet Maizy. We love you and always will.