Liz’s Blanket and the Book of Daniel

I washed Liz’s blanket yesterday.

When we lost Bo, I joined a group called Circle of Grey which is primarily made up of greyhound owners who have lost their dogs to osteo or other cancers. There is a surprisingly (to non-greyhound people)large number of dogs that die every year due to some sort of cancer in this breed. Now Bo died from complications arising from a biopsy (that he never should have had, I curse myself to this DAY for that decision) to diagnose IBD secondary to Lymphangectasia…but a huge part of CoG is support after your pet has died, and they were a great comfort to me. When they found out I had Liz and her age/health problems, etc. they sent me one of their “Healing Blankets.”

The healing blanket is a symbol to you and your dog that there are people that are supporting you, praying with/for you if that is your wish, and generally understanding what you’re going through. Liz’s blanket is teal with a pink/blue design and a black standing greyhound embroidered on one corner.

I love this great picture of her under her blankie, sitting up and glaring at me because I wouldn’t leave her alone and kept taking pictures of her.

I had just washed her blankie along with the other dog blankets and bedding before I went to Mountain Hounds last June. She slept on it, around it, under it and sometimes just with a paw resting on it the last week of her life. When I got back from Mountain Hounds all I could do was hold her blanket and cry.

I vowed I wouldn’t wash it again until it no longer smelled like her. I slept with it in the bed with me so I could just reach out and touch it while whispering a silent prayer that she was safe and happy at the bridge and she forgave me for sending her there.

I washed Liz’s blanket yesterday. It was in a pile of dog blankets, having been left behind accidentally at the Anderson house and only yesterday making it up to my house. I realized what I was doing as I saw it disappear into the murky depths of the washing machine, too late to retrieve it and put it back on the bed near my pillow. “Lizzard,” I said, “I love you, but it’s time to wash your blanket.”

Last night as I was watching the latest episode of the Book of Daniel via the internet, something said on the show jumped out at me and reminded me of Liz. The family that is the center of the story of the show lost a child to cancer, and part of last night’s episode involved flashbacks to when he was sick and dying. After his death, the father is talking to Jesus (a regular occurance in this show) and asks why his son had to die. Jesus responded: “Don’t ask why he had to die. Ask why he had to live.” He went on to explain that we should not question why those we love are taken from us but that we should focus on what it was they had to do in the world during the time they were here. Why was it that his son was on the earth, regardless of how young he was when he died?

Liz was on the earth to take care of me through the last parts of my marriage. Liz was on the earth to remind me that I have responsibilities and things that must be done. Liz was on the earth to help me not fall into the well of self pity where I do nothing but wallow…hard to wallow when you’re carrying a greyhound up and down stairs multiple times a day just so she can go outside to potty.

Liz was on the earth to remind me that every moment, every blink, every tail wag…and especially every aaaahhhhwooooof! is precious…and is what I need to hold on to now that she’s gone. I can wash her blanket, breathe in the delicious warmth of clean laundry, and smile when I remember her doing the same thing everytime I handed it to her, clean and fresh from the dryer, because I have asked and understood why she had to live and stopped dwelling on why she had to die.

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