Saying goodbye to Flower

This photo was taken during a professional photoshoot with Linda Richards Photography in 2013. To this day, it’s one of our favorite pictures of Flower. It captures her personality and her unique look.

The day we brought Flower home from the local animal shelter was a whirlwind of a day. I had no expectation of coming home with a new pet that day, especially Flower. To be honest, I just agreed to meet her because my husband was interested in at least taking a look.

I will be forever grateful that we did. She was the last dog in the outside kennels that day and I took her lack of barking excitement as aloofness. Instead, I now realize she was focused on me and she was choosing us to be her family. She was the most unique, complicated, and amazing animal I’ve ever met.

We were her family from March 30, 2012, until March 12, 2021. On that day, we “sent her over the Rainbow Bridge” after what seemed like a brief and very sudden illness.

What happened?

She stopped eating the Saturday before and by that Thursday, she had declined so much that there really was no choice. It turns out that two major things were wrong; she was heartworm positive after testing negative just about six months before and her lungs were badly affected, and she developed an autoimmune disorder called IMHA (Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anemia), which is a disease where the body’s immune system destroys its own red blood cells. This often leads to severe anemia and poor oxygen delivery to multiple organs including the kidneys, liver, brain, etc. It can hit hard and fast, as it did with our girl.

Without going into too much detail, it was clear that even if she survived both conditions (incredibly unlikely), Flower & be in for a short, pain-filled life. She was already 10 years old and had multiple painful health problems, including at least one that she had already been given less than two years to live.

There really was no other decision. It was time to say goodbye. We didn’t even bring her home from the vet because she was clearly in so much distress that a car ride back and forth would be miserable. We let her stay there where she could be monitored and given medication to keep her as comfortable as possible so we could come to say our goodbyes early the next morning.

We brought Jazzy with us to say goodbye. I am convinced they said their goodbyes while Flower was trying to hide from the whole family the few days she was so sick. This picture was the last taken of them together that morning. The rest of what happened that day is just for our family to know.

Most unique dog we’ve ever met

We never really knew what Flower’s breed mix was and we never did those DNA tests because we didn’t feel like they were accurate enough to be worth the money. Part of me regrets that decision, part of me is OK with the mystery. It was clear she was a shepherd mix of some kind.

This was the Facebook cover photo for Fayetteville Animal Services when we adopted our girl. How was I not just dying to meet this dog?

Flower was quirky as all get out. She loved to play and even sleep outside when it was raining or snowing.

I don’t have a picture of this, but she also loved burrowing out the crawdads when our drainage ditch would fill when it rained.

Flower had the strangest little sounds; one was a little airy woof when she wanted your attention (she obeyed the command to “use her words” when she wanted something instead of just staring). The other sound is what I called her puppy purr and she would make it when she was happy.

Flower did always have weird health problems. She was allergic to Benadryl so her first experience fighting wasps didn’t go so well. She just learned to kill them before they could sting her. She also was always covered in cysts and ended up needing them removed at least five or six times. Each time one would rupture or need to be surgically removed, we would have to make her wear clothes to protect the wounds from all the other pets.

Flower’s snout puffed up pretty bad when she got into a wasp nest.
It drove me crazy that Flower needed to wear human children clothes after her surgeries but at least she was cute!

She has such a quirky personality. Fun-loving, bossy, and, as we realized after she was gone, the instigator of many shenanigans in our home.

Flower wasn’t much on toys but she sure loved keep away! She would steal Jazzy’s ball and run off with it.
She also enjoyed stealing our stuff! I was doing a photoshoot for one of my recipes and when I turned my back, she grabbed my pretty squash and took it across the yard where she knew I couldn’t get to her.
This was taken one night when my husband took her with him to the gas station. He got out to pump gas and turned around to see she had clearly decided the back seat was not for her.

Her siblings

Flower was our third pet. She joined our two cats who were not too sure of a canine sibling but they soon all just got along. Sorta. In many ways, they got along great considering the different species involved. More like siblings who like to squabble.

I wish I had more pictures of Flower with the cats. She and Missy had a special connection as the two species alphas.

A meeting of the alphas. Can’t remember if this resulted in Missy smacking Flower.
I promise you Flower didn’t know Colby was there otherwise she would be divebombing him.

Sister Love

Of all the relationships, however, the most important was with Jazzy. They were peas in a pod. Sisters. Best friends. From the moment we introduced them when we thought we were just fostering Jazzy, they were clearly going to have an amazing relationship. We usually had to take them everywhere together otherwise they suffered anxiety. We own two dog crates, but they insisted on sharing a crate. They couldn’t walk on separate leashes without getting confused so we used a joint leash. They answered to their joint hashtag #smithpuppies.

These two were inseparable. Until now.

Another candid shot from our 2013 photoshoot. Tongues out!
Hugs, sister!
Tug of war
I got this shot when they were wrestling on the couch and I said their names.
They loved to walk on their joint leash. People gave them lots of attention everywhere we went.
This is probably one of my favorite of all the recent photos of them together. Look at those smiles!
My dogs are terrified of Santa but loved the Grinch (it helped that their buddy Greg from their groomer was in the Grinch suit talking to them).
They loved to be underfoot in the kitchen. We tried to get them to stay in the doorway.

We will always miss Flower. She was such a special, amazing dog. Grateful to be her family the last nine years. Night night, my sweet girl. Night night.

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. Flower, a perfect name for your girl. She bloomed in her forever home! I’m sure she will be deeply missed, loved and never forgotten!

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