For Summer

It was a hot, summer morning and we were visiting Michael’s parents in Covington.  We usually planned to stay the whole day, driving an hour from our home in New Orleans.   This particular morning, however, our visit lasted less than an hour.

I opened up the Times-Picayune and found myself on a classified page.  The ad was for Boxer-Lab pups and the price was insane—only $20 for a sweet new pup, and a sister for Sadie.

We jumped into our Honda Accord and raced over the Causeway towards Kenner.    We were going so fast that we ultimately got pulled over by the Causeway Police, and luckily for us a group of unruly and mouthy kids got pulled over at the same time.  Michael was all “yes Sir, sorry Sir, I understand Sir” to the cop, and it got us off with a warning.  We got off the Causeway, at the posted speed, and then sped the rest of the way to check out the puppies.  We didn’t know if we’d get one or if there would be any left when we got there, but I knew–deep down–that we would leave with a new part of our family.

The street looked like any other street that I’d ever seen with houses that looked like the house next door.  We found the house and went up to the front door.  A few minutes later there was a box on the grass, at the bottom of the steps, with two of the sweetest, smallest, cutest little puppies.   One male. One female.  And, it was settled, we handed over a crisp twenty dollar bill and headed off to our house with our coffee-breath bundle of puppy love.

She was the puppy that traveled, in a pink basket, around the French Quarter, swaddled in our best towels.  She was the puppy that made me cry (hard) when it was time for her to get a shot to rid her of those nasty butt-worms.  She was the puppy that brought bikini clad girls, on the white sandy Destin beach, to my father’s chair to ooohh and aaahh all over the small, precious ball of sweetness.   She was Sadie’s little sister.  The spunky one.  The one who told everyone how it was.  She wasn’t a boxer.  She wasn’t a lab.  She was a mix of everything perfect, with eyes that were seemingly drawn with the finest charcoal.

Fourteen and a half years later…  She was the dog that stepped into the role of “main family dog” when her older sister passed away.  Gone were the days of hiding in different bedrooms to get away from the noise.  No, she was content to be in the thick of the noise, though I think she was always happy when we gave her a break by leaving for the day.

It’s hard for me to even find the words.  I hated having to make the decision to put her to sleep.  Mostly because Michael wouldn’t be here to say goodbye (that was the worst part about it because I know how much she loved him.)  But, she was in pain.  Her hind legs were giving up. She hadn’t eaten a decent doggie meal in over a week, and if she did she threw it up, along with bile, and, at the end, blood.   I wanted so desperately for her to hold on for her Papa, but, on Monday, when she looked at me I could tell that she wasn’t right.  I could tell that she was hurting, and I wanted to do what I could (what I should) to ease her pain.   Michael agreed, and early in the afternoon I made an appointment.

After the call, I took her outside and she stood in the middle of the yard not wanting to come in.  She was staring at the ground, her hind legs sinking with every second that passed.   Somehow she decided to come to me, and I brought her in and I sat on the couch with her for a while—a good hour or so.    She rested while I told her, Davey, and Benny stories about her younger years.

That was the only rest she got that day, until about 3:45pm when she went to doggie heaven to run and play and get her ears cleaned by Sadie.

I know some people say that dogs don’t go to heaven.  I call bullshit.  They are the most soulful, loving, happy creatures; how could they not end up heaven?   I refuse to believe they aren’t up there waiting for us to come to them with milk-bone filled pockets and tears of joy for the reunion.

I’m gonna miss her talking barks, her eye boogers, the jingle of her dog collar, her cold nose bumps for a pat on the head, her pretty feet, and her total doggie spunk.

She’s Summer Girl Lane and this post was written for her
She’s Summer Girl Lane and she is the one who defined [our special word] for the person who steals your seat when you go to the bathroom or get up to get a drink.
She’s Summer Girl Lane and I will always love and miss her.


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15 Responses to “For Summer”
  1. Ashley Bond

    I am so sorry for your family…your Summer had the sweetest eyes and I agree about dogs going to heaven. They will be there :) When I was 20 we had to put our 14 yr old Golden Retriever to sleep and it was so hard saying goodbye. It’s like the end of an era when those furry family members take their leave. I will be saying some prayers for you guys tonight.

  2. 08.10.2011

    “she went to doggie heaven to run and play and get her ears cleaned by Sadie”

    Those words made me smile.

    My heart aches for all of you.

  3. 08.10.2011

    This was a beautifully written tribute, and Im so sorry for your loss. thank you for telling us about her and showing her sweetness to us in the pictures you shared too.

  4. 08.10.2011

    That was beautiful, Mishi. I am so sorry for your loss. She was such a sweet looking girl. My two girls are getting up there in years, and my heart clenches every time I think about losing them. That’s the hardest thing about having animals in your life, they leave way too soon. But the joy they bring while they’re here is worth the pain I think.

  5. 08.10.2011

    Oh, Mishelle…I have to comment, but can’t see through the tears. My love to you all…been there xox

  6. 08.10.2011

    My dogs are 10 and 11.
    I see this coming for us.
    And my heart aches.
    Praying for y’all.
    I know it’s hard.

  7. Olivia

    What you just wrote made me smile. Every word. Mama, you have such a way with words. I love and miss my Summer Girl.

  8. Lisa Blendowski

    Michelle, My heart just breaks for you and your family. But, this post just let me know that someone else out there “gets it” when it comes to family companions. I want you to take peace in the fact that your whole family gave Summer (and Sadie) the most wonderful life a dog could ask for. You gave her love, security, friendship…..and in the end compassion. You put your own pain aside and did what was right for Summer. God Bless you for this. Take Care of yourself.

  9. 08.10.2011

    Aw, gee, Mishi. I’m so sorry about your dog. I know what that whole thing feels like and all I can say is you did good by her – she was loved while she was here and she’ll be loved now that she’s gone. HUGS, Darlin’. Great. BIG. HUGS. Like only you and me know how to give ’em.

  10. As if I wasn’t crying enough, now I come down here and see Livey’s comment. JEEESUS, I love you, Lanes.

  11. 08.10.2011

    Awww, so sorry to hear that. I remember Summer from our visit, very sweet dog!

  12. Baba Nada

    Mishi! what beautiful tribute for our Sweet Summer girl,as if i did not cry enough every time i saw the pictures tears stream down my face.I remember when we took her every where wrapped in your new towels….me holding her while we went on the ferry crossing Mississippi,what a beautiful pup,she grew to be a beautiful dog,how i loved when i visited ,she would wait for me to take her out,i will miss that.But knowing she is not in pain any more it makes me happy,she is in as Davey puts it In dogie Heaven with her sister Sadie it gives me a little relief.RIP Summer you will be missed.:)Hugs and kisses to all of you Love u all!!

  13. 08.11.2011

    Mishelle, I am so sorry for the loss of Summer. I know you all loved her very dearly, from the deepest depths of your hearts. She’ll truly be missed but she knew your love and is in a better, pain free place now. <3

  14. What a beautiful post for such a beloved family member. Thank you for sharing it with us. Thoughts & prayers go out to you & your family.

  15. Rebecca

    I just found your blog and my eyes are watering. I’m so sorry for you and your family. Pets are part of the family. And what kind of Heaven would it be if there weren’t dogs?

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