Dear April: Please love me better.
I have not had the happiest month, and today I found out that Darcy had to be put down. I knew that she was sick and had been for a little over a week, so this wasn't completely out of the blue, but it still sucks.
For those of you who are newer here, let me tell you about Darcy. When my parents got divorced back in 2006, my dad was the one to move out and get a new place. Growing up (to my dad's dismay), we had cats. Sammy, who passed away about five years ago, and Ellie, who is rather old and lives with my mom.
My dad has always been a dog person. My sister and I knew this, so it wasn't too hard to convince him that we needed a pet at his house, and that it should be a dog. We went to an adoption event at a pet store to look at a dog we'd seen online, but that dog was very skittish and none of us really clicked with it. I suggested we look at the other dogs there and see if we could find one. We took a few out of their kennels, mostly larger, energetic dogs. They were all nice. I happened to see a rather sleepy looking dog sitting in a kennel, and suggested we take a look at her. My dad was skeptical, but the minute we took her out she was thrilled to see us. The piece of paper affixed to her kennel said that her name was Dancin' Darcy, a beagle/basset hound mix who was about three years old. We loved her, and she and my dad bonded instantly, so we decided she was ours.
Darcy, we learned, was originally supposed to be a hunting dog. She was raised in Kentucky, and she was meant to accompany hunters and help them find animals. It was no surprise why that didn't work out. Every little thing distracted Darcy or sent her into a wild mood. Squirrel? Most exciting thing ever. Guy at the door? Holy shit, this is serious. Going for a walk? Time to smell everything. Darcy was also not the brightest bulb, as we learned. She just didn't pick up on new things very quickly. She did know a few things though, which is that sitting would get her food, "go get your toy" and "walk" meant something exciting was happening, and that peanut butter was the greatest thing on Earth.
Above all, Darcy was the very definition of loyal. People always talk about this trait when talking about dogs, and while I'd grown up with plenty of friends who had dogs, I never truly knew what a loyal dog was until Darcy came into our lives. Darcy wanted to make sure every person who came into the house was not a threat. She wanted nothing more than to be around us. There was a very genuine sense about her that she was happy to be around us and would do whatever she could to keep us around.
I've never been a "dog person," but Darcy was still my dog and I loved her fiercely. She could be so relaxed or so excited, so personable or so protective, and she was almost always happy. She had so many quirks, and even her crossbreed alone made her look unique among other dogs. Darcy is the dog who might not make top marks in her class (she did fail out of training school), but would be awarded the first place ribbon for effort. (My dad even called her Stooge due to her less-than-intelligent nature.) But dammit if she didn't try, and she was the sweetest girl too.
I'm very sad that I wasn't home this weekend to say goodbye to Darcy. But I know that she was very sick and in pain, and we needed to ease her out of it. I feel very lucky that we had her though, because even though she was most certainly my dad's dog above anyone else's, she was mine too, and she was such a good friend and family member.