Merly’s Swan Song

Once upon a time there was a girl who knew it had come time to say goodbye…

In a little over 24 hours it will be time to say goodbye our dog Merlin. Merlin was my mom’s dog. She adopted him in 2001 and when she passed in 2006, Merly was in the room standing guard until we found her. Merly went to live with Brian and his family and when the young family was unable to dedicate the amount of time and attention he needed – he came to live with plmy now husband and I. Merly is a big black dog with chest of polka dots. He is gentle and loving and is happy to spend time people- other animals are not very interesting to him- but he loves people. 

I know that people call animals rescue dogs- but in this special case I don’t think I could say that my mom rescued him. When Merly and Mom became family she revitalized and he brought her love and companionship that she had always been looking for. Brian rescued Merly when my mom died – because I thought I wasn’t a dog person and couldn’t take him. I imagine Merly rescued Brian too in ways. In being able to give my mom the one thing she would have cared about- a home for him. That is Brian’s story.

But I know without a shadow of doubt Merly saved me. When we took him, our relationship was still very new- 2011. I thought of him as Drew’s dog more than mine in the beginning. After a few short months, we had to take some time a part. I remember even feeling like he left me there with the dog and I didn’t even know what to do for him. I remember being so heartbroken that it took me some time to see that I had created some unhealthy lifestyle patterns for myself and I had some changes to make. I had lost several dear friends to changes they saw in my at that time and the way I was treating people. I wasn’t totally alone- I had my family. But it was during this time that I fell in love with the dog that I will soon part with. He never let me down. He followed me around my house and neighborhood listening as I began to sort the pieces of my life out and rearrange them into another puzzle. He never judge me or had to walk away from me because I had let him down…or because I wasn’t measuring up to who I could be. He spent all of his time with me- comforting me when I was grieving and spending day after day with me. Slowly my confidence grew in part because of his blind and loyal dedication to me. As I did more and more right, it was easier and easier to stay on the path that I was on.  

Drew and I were only a part for a week or so before we began building out relationship over again from scratch with a healthier foundation. We have been a family ever since then. Merly is my puppy but he is also my dearest friend. Everywhere I go throughout the day there he is right with me seeing what I am getting in to and listening to me endlessly. He was the best man in our wedding even. I cannot imagine a day going by when I am not talking to him throughout the day. He protects me to this day wherever we are. I got to be a mom, one thing I hadn’t been in life to this amazing creature. 

Drew on the other hand, Merly got- to be a baby with Drew. Drew always takes care of him and Merly always wants to be by his side- usually tucked up under a petting hand. Drew even built him his own Merly sized bed which is about his favorite place to be if not on a walk.He also has developed quite a fan club in Drew’s family- especially his Dad. They are definitely buddies- they have explored a great deal of our neighborhood and the lake during their excursions. Merly is also very special to my brother and his two sons. They take such great care with him. You can see it in the way they speak to him and cover him with blankets. When Brian leaves, Merly waits at the door for him for his next return.

 He has been fighting nasty arthritis in the last few years that has limited his ability to get around as well. He also fought cancer last year through a newer technology they use to freeze the tumor and has been able to keep that at bay for quite a while now. Merly has been in pain for years though because of this arthritis and rear quarters. The medicine doesn’t seem to be able to treat it anymore and his falling bouts are worsening every day. A few years ago he developed an addiction to water- and despite being tested for EVERYTHING- has no medical reason for the thirst. If we let him – he will drink up to ten times that of an identical dog.

This year he turned 16 and I knew the time was running out and its all but gone now. I wish I could ease his pain more and know that he wasn’t scared. I wish I could make him understand what he has meant to our generations of family. I wish I could give him just an ounce of the love and loyalty he has given us. It’s been one special journey- and I am so honored to have gotten to be his mom. I will think of him every single day going forward and feel blessed.



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