It’s been two years. Actually, it was June 19, 2018. But I remember it like it was yesterday.
Big Harry touched my heart like I never imagined. I knew the day I saw him running the streets in Rozel there was something special about him. But I never imagined how much he’d crawl into my heart, take up residence, and then take a huge chunk with him when he left me.
He’d had a bad few days. His heart condition had worsened, and he was struggling. But I kept thinking like so many lovng pet parents that he’d somehow miraculously pull through. Ah, denial can be so strong, right?
He collapsed on the Friday before, and we struggled all weekend. On Monday before my trip to Tampa to be with my colleagues at Lap of Love, I took him to Dr. Boeving for observation. I wasn’t going to leave if it was dire, for sure. But, she said, he’s looking stable and “you’re good to go on your 3-day trip.”
I took off on Tuesday and gave him an extra dose of loving. I was up in the air, probably somewhere over Alabama as best I can remember, when Phyllis texted that he’d collapsed, and they were on the way to the clinic. After a flurry of texts with her and Chris, it became apparent. Chris had to say it to me though… “Coleen, today will be Big Harry’s last day. You’ll need to decide if you’ll be there or not, but it will be today.”
I immediately turned to the Southwest flight attendants and begged them to get me on the next flight back to Dallas. I knew we landed at 10:45 am and there was an 11 am right back to Dallas Love Field. I LUV my SWA family! They made it happen! We landed and they ran me to the plane they were holding, and right back to Dallas I went.
I’ve shortened that story a ton, as the strings they pulled for me, and the support they gave to me as I bawled my eyes out on the plane was off-the-charts. They sat with me, held my hand, and lovingly asked to see photos of my Big Boy. I will forever be grateful to them for being so caring and tender-hearted.
Next, the Uber driver. Poor guy! I slammed into his car, eyes red, swollen and still bawling, and told him I’d pay the speeding ticket. He just needed to put his foot into it! The whole way I’m calling my Mom, Chris, and checking in at the clinic. He pulled into the clinic on two wheels and I can assure you he was ready for me to get out! Glenn and Phyllis were standing there, waiting on me. They grabbed all my crap and I ran as fast as I could to see my boy.
I hugged him as hard as I could, and then started to prepare to take him home as I wanted him put to peace there. But he had another idea. He was done and he was done fighting. A massive seizure hit him, and I made the call. It was time to take him out of his pain. I dialed Chris on Facetime and together we let him go.
Aurgh. My heart still breaks in two. But I am so grateful I made it home from half-way across the country to be with him as he took his last breath. I’m so grateful that I forced my brain to take over as I asked myself this question “how will I feel in 6 months with what’s happening right now.” My head, and heart, didn’t hesitate in answering that question with “you will regret not being with him. Make it happen and get home.”
I will be eternally grateful to Phyllis and Glenn for being with me as well. They helped me load my Big Boy up and bring him home so we could have our family time. I can’t even tell you how important this time was for me, and the other animals. I had him laying on his bed in my bedroom, and I sat on the floor with him for two days. Talking, looking at pictures, remembering, sharing, hugging, kissing, loving. The most priceless time I’ll forever be thankful for.
While two years have passed since Harry left me, the lessons he taught me were profound. I’ll share more of those later, but for now I want to shed a few tears and honor my guy.
Your Daddy and I miss you, Big Boy. I miss everything about you. I love you, I always will. RIP, Big Harry. RIP.