Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Hello Paula and Arnie [Reisman]. My name is Lily. We just received your marvelous, Floyd, in heaven. When Floyd told me his story it reminded me so much of my own that I thought I should send you a note. Like Floyd, I am, or should say I was a 12-year-old yellow lab who summered in Martha’s Vineyard with my people.
When my folks took a short vacation last year I noticed that my legs were getting weaker and I prayed so much for them to come home early. I just knew something bad was happening and I wanted them with me. When they did arrive, I lost control of my hind legs and later that day I was unable to walk at all. That day we immediately went to the animal hospital where diagnostic tests were run. On the ride to the veterinary hospital I was cuddled, loved and kissed, and told what a good girl I was. Sadly the news was bad. It appeared that I had slowly developed a mass near my spinal cord. The vet thought at first that it may have been a ruptured disk in my neck and that he could fix it. He said he needed to do an MRI which, regrettably, showed a large cancerous mass pushing on my spinal cord and my parents were told it was inoperable. Such a time of overwhelming grief for my people, they cried hysterically. I whimpered but put on my best face because I felt so bad for them. I laid on the gurney with my head between my paws and they were so sad. It broke my heart, but I knew and they knew that a decision had to be made about continuing my life.
It just didn’t seem possible that I was going to have to leave this loving couple who picked me up 12 years ago in a small Pennsylvania farm. I remember that beautiful day well. I was small and afraid. Mom cradled me in a blanket and my dad flew us home. I had such a delightful life. We summered on Martha’s Vineyard and skied in the winter in Vermont. I ran up and down the trails joyfully and boisterously with my brother. During the Vineyard summer, my dad and I had a special bond. Each morning at six o’clock we would go down to Dippin Donuts in Edgartown and get some donuts. I would have a donut and he would have a donut and then we would go to the Edgartown Landing to sniff around or go swimming if it was hot. If we didn’t do that we took a walk out to the Edgartown Lighthouse, sat at the base and listened to the waves, smelled the salt air and had another donut. Every day my adoring mom would take me for a walk and give me treats. I must have been a very special dog, as was your Floyd, because she hugged and kissed me very often and told what I good dog I was. I never knew what they meant by “dog.” I especially loved my walks with my mom and caused a big ruckus with barking whenever she got out the leashes. It was our special time and I know she loved it as much as I did.
It was the saddest and last day of my life when I had to leave them. They cradled my head in their arms, stroked my ears, kissed me and held my paw as the vet ended my misery. I know it was the right decision since I have made many friends, especially your Floyd, when I reached heaven. Floyd’s heart, too, is broken, but he knows that sometime you will be reunited with him. He whimpers and barks when he thinks of all the great times you all had. I, too, grieve. Prior to my death, my dad was given a bad diagnosis with a short term survival and he had discussed how we wanted me buried at his grave site. However, it was God’s plan that I go first. I hope I have made his journey to this wonderful place easier since I am here waiting for him. I am sure that is the case. Floyd waits for you, as I wait for my father and mother. What a joyous day that will be when we are all together.
Transcribed by David Myers, MD.
Mendham, NJ, and Edgartown