Yesterday started out as any other day, and once Ansley left for school (Jackson wasn't feeling great and had a terrible cough, and we wanted to make sure he was fine before we sent him to school) and the door was opened for just a second, Nala Mae ran into the house. She has lately become pretty fond of the kid's little couches, and I had just washed a couple and had shut my bedroom door so she wouldn't go lay on the clean ones. I brought her dog bed into the living room so she could lay on it, but she started walking around the house and never came back to her bed. A little while later when Elsie woke up, she said, "Mommy! Guess who was asleep in my bed when I woke up? Nala!" She decided she would go into the girls room and snuggle up in a pile of coats/pj's/stuffed animals and whatever else may be in that pile. She laid there for a couple of hours before she decided she wanted to go back outside. She got up and Jackson and Elsie laughed and laughed because she was walking around the house with Elsie's little footed jammies still on her back from where Elsie had covered her up while she was asleep in Elsie's room. When Eric took Jackson to school since he was feeling better, she then went outside and stretched out in the sun, like she loves to do. When Elsie and I walked down to the end of the road to get Jackson and Ansley off of the bus, she was right there with us, just like every single day. When we got to our driveway, the kids were trying to get Dash (the border collie puppy) to go back to the animal pen (her home), and Nala was just hanging out by the basketball goal. I asked her if she was coming on up to the house with us, or staying down there with Eric (he was working on a shed that he is building). Jackson said, "I'm going to wait on Nala, you all go ahead." He then told me that she went over to where Eric was working and wanted to stay with him. She went and laid beside his truck and was watching him work, and just being near him like she loved to do. When he went to his truck to get some water, he looked at her and realized that she had went there, laid down, and peacefully died. He came to the house and told me, and then we told the kids. There were lots of tears, which caused even more tears from me. Jackson instantly lost it. Eric and I walked down to where she was laying so we could get her and go bury her in the backyard. Ansley and Jackson rode their bikes down there, and Jackson ran to her and took her collar off because he said he wanted to hang it up in a tree above where we bury her so we could always remember where she was. Ansley was still trying to hold it together and kept saying things like, "Well, at least we still have Dash (the puppy) and Vidalia (the pig)." Elsie came running down the driveway about that time, with her little Elsa dress on, white heels, and bright pink coat, and when she saw Nala laying there, that is when the tears started streaming down her face while she kept saying, "Oh no! Nala!" We put Nala on the four wheeler and took her to the backyard and the kids picked out a place by the edge of the woods to bury her. Eric dug a hole, and the kids wanted to put her bed (with some bones she still had hidden down inside of it), in there with her. Jackson wanted me to take a picture of her in there, but Eric told him that we didn't want to remember her like that, we wanted to keep our great memories of her, and I told him I would take one of her bed. We said our final good-byes, hung her collar up, and then said a little prayer. While we were thanking God for giving us such a wonderful dog for the past ten years, that is when Ansley finally let the tears start flowing, while she was sobbing.
We came back in and talked about some sweet memories with our Nala, and heard many times from the kids how much they were going to miss her. Eric and I were also very upset. We got Nala one month and 1 day after we were married, so we have pretty much had her our entire marriage. She was our first baby, and she had to put up with a lot out of four little ones and many other pets. She was our protector and was always on guard, especially if it was just the kids and I at home alone. A couple of months ago Eric had to go out to town to do some work. Since Nala has got sicker, she hasn't just stood in the driveway and barked and barked like she use to do (we have LOTS of deer, possums, and other critters around here). That night that Eric was gone, she decided that she was going to bark and bark, and I told my mom the next day I didn't know why she had to pick the night that Eric was gone to do that. Mom said, "Wendy, she knew Eric was gone and she was standing guard and watching out for you and the kids." I honestly believe that is exactly what she was doing and thanked her for doing so. I don't know why I didn't realize it until my mom said it!
I didn't realize 10 years ago standing there in the lobby at GV School that I was getting such a wonderful guard dog and friend, but that is exactly what Nala was to all six of us.
Just a very few moments of our very many memories with our sweet Nala:
When we first got Nala
She has had lots of other furry "brothers and sisters" these past 10 years:
Checking out Jackson's 1st Christmas present with him & hanging out with dad:
She always loved all the extra attention Ansley Kate gave her:
Soon enough, Elsie came along and she had three babies she had to protect:
She definitely loved summer when we were always outside, and she was always right by our sides:
Vada Belle came along, making four kids she had to stand guard for, but they always gave her some of their food/snacks, so she didn't mind:
Lots of love and hugs:
I think when Jackson and Ansley started school, this was one of her favorite parts of the day- getting them off the bus (but I'm sure she loved the extra attention she got from Elsie during the days):
Always right by our side:
Even though Eric and I are very upset about losing our Nala, we couldn't help but be grateful for the way it happened. We knew she was really sick, and the vet told us that she was a "really sick dog" several months ago, so we are thankful that we got even more time with her than we thought we woud. We had gone back and forth about discussing if and when we should put her down. She was still eating well, always right by our side when we were outside, would still go walking with us on our road, and we just didn't think it was time yet. She hasn't loved winter the past couple of years (she also has arthritis) so we had discussed that we didn't know if we should make her suffer through another one or not. So, we are thankful that we didn't have to make that decision. Also, every afternoon is crazy through the week, except for Mondays. That is the only day pretty much that we don't have somewhere else we have to go after school. Eric was home early from work, everyone else was home, and we were able to take enough time to give our good-byes like we wanted to. She didn't run off somewhere and die to where we couldn't find her, which Eric was worried about her possibly doing. A sad accident didn't happen like with many of our other animals, she just laid down peacefully and without any major suffering, passed away. Like Eric kept telling me last night, she had a really good day and wasn't suffering. For those things, we are thankful.
We miss you so much, our sweet Nala Mae! Thanks for being such a great pet and a friend to all six of us. You were loved so much!