As I sit here writing this I am not sure where to start. Joy has been apart of my life for the past 13 years. I guess I should start with the beginning.
The Best Christmas present ever
It was 1995 and I was dating the most wonderful guy named Jay. (now my husband of the past 12 years!!) I had been saying that I would love to have a Golden Retriever puppy. So that Christmas I got my wish. A beautiful little golden girl puppy with a red ribbon around her neck! Jay had gone into wal-mart and asked the lady for a small red piece of ribbon. She looked somewhat puzzled at his request until the cute little puppy poked her head out of the front of his jacket. Then she smiled and cut the ribbon for him. He brought her to my house and put her down in the kitchen. That is when I first saw her. It was love at first site!! I called for her and here she came. And she has been MY girl since that day. Her first few nights were not fun for either of us. You know how they whine and cry. Well- she did that for about 3 nights straight and I finally had enough. It was as if she knew there was another dog outside and she wanted out there. I hated to put the poor pup out in the cold but that is what she wanted. When I put her out she was as happy as she could be. She always seemed very hot natured as well. Outside was my other dog, Bear. Needless to say they were best buddies. Bear was more like a momma to her and Joy just wanted to play. She had found a buddy- a buddy that she would have for the next 11 years.
What a cute puppy!!
The next few years Joy chewed everything in sight!! She chewed my mom's lawn furniture, the ouside christmas lights, the deck, shoes, etc.....
Bear was long past that puppy phase and she knew better, but not Joy. One day when Joy was about 2 1/2 I snapped my fingers at her (because she was not listening to me) and I told her to SIT. From that day on she listened. We had finally reached that turning point. And she quit chewing everything in sight. However, she did find great pleasure in digging holes in the yard. She always liked to sit in a nice, bare hole which she had dug out. I finally gave up on trying to make her quit. Even when we moved to our new house just 3 years ago, she went to the edge of the porch and dug out a nice hole! And I didn't care. She was getting older and that made her happy. When she was younger, Jay built her a nice dog house with a shingled roof and everything. And where did she sit...on top of the dog house! Rain or shine...on top of the dog house. She spent most of her years on our front porch. That is where she could guard dog along side Bear. Joy would sit on the porch and cross her legs in the front as they would hang over the side.
Joy loved riding in the back of the truck. We use to load her and Bear up and go for a ride to the lake. As you can imagine she loved the water. She would get in the lake and go for a swim while Bear walked around trying to not get her feet wet!! Then Joy would pounce on her! On our way home the girls knew they would probably get an icecream cone! Poor Joy- she would take her time and lick the cone while "fat dog" as we called her(Bear) would scarf down the entire cone and leave nothing for Joy. As she got older, she also got faster at eating her part before Bear did.
These dogs were my life. They were my kids. Until 2004 when we welcomed a daughter into this world. I was so worried about them feeling left out. When we came home from the hospital, it was several days before I made it outside to sit with them. They were out side farm dogs! They knew something was up. And as time went on and Shayna got bigger, they all fell in love with each other. I was so glad that Shayna got to be apart of their lives. We lost Bear 2 years ago to liver failure and I made the decision to euthanize her when she stopped responding to treatment. After working nearly 5 years as a vet. tech. you have to recommend to people when the time is right to do what is best for the animal. But this was the first time I had to make that decision for myself. It just about killed me to make that decision but it was best for Bear. About 2 weeks had gone by and Joy had not been eating much. I knew she was grieving over Bear. I went out side one day and when Joy didn't get up I knew something was wrong. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she went limp. It had been very hot that day and I when I called the vet and talked to him, we both assumed with her high temp and being lethargic that she may have had a heat stroke. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had just lost Bear after 17 years and now I might lose Joy. After a cold bath and SQ fluids we went to the clinic for some tests and bloodwork. Nothing really abnormal showed up. So the plan was to keep her cool and watch her. About 4 months went by and she did the same thing again. Once again, more bloodwork and x-rays. Nothing abnormal. At this point winter was upon us and Joy went the entire winter perfectly healthy! Several months had gone by and then we had the first sign of warm weather and she did the same thing again. High fever, lethargic, not eating or drinking. Everytime it would take me about 4 days of doing SQ fluids and antibiotics and then she would get better. It seemed to be happening during warm weather so at the vets request, I shaved my beautiful golden to try and keep her cool. It was as hard as when I cut Shayna's baby curls!! And poor Joy- she looked ssooo pitiful! And she would sit and shiver. She was cold and had only hair on her head and tail. She looked like a little lion! From this moment on I was determined to keep her cool and happy. So my outside farm dog became an inside house dog. And she LOVED it. It was as if she was saying "I'm old- I've done my part- I'm retiring". I have to say I was dreading cleaning up all of the hair. Boy could she shed!! But I got used to it. We loved having her in the house. I knew she was safe and comfy. She seemed so happy. And never once did she mess in the house. I'm telling you-best dog ever! After talking with several veterinary friends of mine it seemed like the next step was to have an ultrasound done. I made the appointment and took her on a Sat. Joy was so great. She had to lay on her back while we shaved her belly and got her ready and stay in the position for the next 30 minutes. She was such a trooper. As soon as the vet put the ultrasound probe to her belly she said,"Oh My". I knew right then. The first mass she saw was on her liver, the next one on the bladder, and several more smaller ones. She did not recommend operating and I would not have put her through it anyway. It was recommended at that point to keep her comfortable. And that we did. We found out she had the cancer in Nov. and I kept thinking if we can get her through Christmas... And we did. But her setbacks became closer. I just couldn't stand the thoughts of being without her. Bear was everyone's dog- Joy was MY girl. She seemed to have aged so much in the last few months. Her good days were few and far between. Unless there was snow on the ground. She was like a puppy when it snowed. It made me so happy to see her rolling in the snow and then coming back in the house soaked! I didn't care. A few weeks ago she did the same thing she had been doing. High fever, etc. Only this time she never turned the corner. The fever did not break. And she started vomiting. On that Tues. she went down hill in a matter a 6 hours. I called Jay and told him when he was on his way home it was time. I couldn't stand the thoughts of letting her go through the night and suffering. She had never showed signs of pain until that day. I had a talk with Joy a few months ago and told her I needed her to let me know when the time was right- and she did. By the time Jay got home she was unable to even walk to the truck. He scooped her up and placed her in the back on a big quilt and I rode in the extended cab part with her. Dr. Joe came out to the truck so we didn't have to get her out. I held her head and hugged her as I held off the vein for Joe to give the euthanasia. She went so peacefully. I am so greatful that we were with her. I have been lost without her for the past week. I keep waiting for her to come around the corner or come sit by my chair while we are eating, as she would wait for a nibble of something. She was my first golden. She was my girl. I feel lost without her. I am thankful for the chance to make this memorial in her honor so everyone will know what a great dog she was. She only got better with age. This will help keep her memory alive.
Joy- I miss you so much baby girl. I know you are reunited with Bear-Bear. Jay and I both said the first thing you probably did was pounce on her!! Rest easy my friend. There is no more pain, no more needles, no more pills. Just happy days for you to play in the creek, chase skunks, and aggravate Bear! And dig some holes. You will forever be in my heart. You will always be my best golden girl.
Joy's last night with us
Shayna with Joy while getting fluids
My pretty girl not feeling well
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