I woke up this morning with puffy eyes and a swollen face. All I wanted to do was shove my face into her black fur and cry.
Royal wasn’t just an ordinary dog. But is there such thing as an ordinary dog?
Royal was born in February of 2010. Knowing that I wanted a puppy, I picked her out of a litter at only 2 days old. She was the runt of 11 and I knew she was the one for me.
After a long 8 weeks I brought her home to Chico in April. I was only 18, a freshman in college. I didn’t have much, but I had my dog. I probably wasn’t the best mom during my college years. In school all the time, and a part time job. But God did I love her, and I know she loved me. She was always happy to see me. I tried to take her to the dog park every chance I could. We even started having play dates with my friend Stephanie and her dog. We would go hiking through Bidwell park, and swim in the creeks. I’m not going to act like I didn’t party in college, but I always made sure I could get home to my dog. I didn’t drink as much as you would think being a Chico State student, because I NEEDED to get home to my dog. I wanted to wake up with her and let her run around in the mornings. She took care of me that way, without even knowing.
After college we moved to Reno. My poor pup, I hated snow and I dragged her right into it. She probably didn’t even care though. A dog just wants to be with their human. This was a whole new adventure for both of us. She never judged me for working too much or being away. She loved me more every time I came home. I really wasn’t worthy of the amount of love she showed me and there was no way I could ever match it.
I do believe I gave her a happy life, but I think the last 3.5 years were her best. We moved back to California and I started farming full time. She got to live her life as a farm dog, just like she always wanted. She got up in the mornings with me before the sun. She road in the passenger seat in my pick-up, the few short miles to the fields.
Royal was my partner in crime. She wanted to swim in the river every chance she could. She would pick a stick over a ball any day. When I let her lay on the couch she would always curl up next to me and rest her head on me. She was also my protector. One time when AJ tickled me and I screamed, Royal jumped on him so fast!!! She was incredible. All dogs are amazing, but there will never be another Royal.
At 8 and a half Royal was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. An aggressive form of cancer. She never showed any signs of being sick until it was almost too late. On the evening of August 7thAJ and I rushed her to the ER, not knowing what was wrong. After doing a sonogram they could see that she had a tumor on her spleen that burst and was bleeding into her abdominal. They took her in for an emergency splenectomy. I didn’t want Royal to be in any pain, but I would do anything to save her.
Even though we were expecting more time with her, because of the fast-acting veterinarians, we were able to get another beautiful month with Royal. AJ and I spoiled her extra this past month. We gave her more treats, more love, more rides in the car with her head out the window. I was also very lucky to have a close friend come and take beautiful photos of her. Something I’m thankful for now more than ever.
On September 5thRoyal showed signs of not feeling well, but by the afternoon she was back to her normal self. On September 6ththe signs were getting worse. Hoping it was a false alarm, but wanting to be safe, we took her in. We quickly received the bad news that the bleeding had started again, and there was believed to be new tumors. I believe Royal knew it was time, and she knew I didn’t want to see her in pain. The whole drive to the vet she was happy and had her head out the window. Her last ride in the car was a great one. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. I didn’t want to give up on her, I wanted to give her every chance I could. But I needed to dig deep and realize I couldn’t be selfish. She may have not been showing it, but she was fading. If I took her back home I may lose her in a painful way, and not in peace. I held her tight and looked into her eyes. I repeated that I loved her so much and that she was the best dog. She was a good girl. I love you so so much. She slowly closed her eyes, as if she went to sleep… and she was gone.
Just like a mother has for a child, I had dreams for Royal. I pictured her growing old on the farm. Being my trusty side kick for many more years. I pictured her being the perfect nanny dog.With babies crawling all over her. We will never make these memories, but the memories I have with her are so abundant that I know they can fill the emptiness I’m feeling.
Royal, thank you so much for choosing me to be your human. I was honored, and I will never stop loving you.
Beautiful Photos taken by Riley Quinn Photography