Your Memory Brings Less Tears & More Smiles One Year Later

Since February 3, 2012, 366 days, or 8,784 hours, or 527,040 minutes, or 3,1622,400 seconds have passed.  That’s easily measured.  However, in that same time period, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve thought about Miss ABBA.  It was one year ago today, after her courageous fight with cancer, that our beautiful golden walked over the “Rainbow Bridge” away from us and I lost my best friend of almost 12 years.

ABBAAnthonyBD20112009 Family Christmas

For those of you that followed Miss ABBA and our life in person, on Facebook, or in my blog, you know she led a spoiled, beautiful life.

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s some of what I wrote January 28, 2012:  In late March of 2011, I discovered a tumor on Miss ABBA that was unlike the “fatty tissue” tumors that are common in older, larger breed dogs.  Her veterinarian examined her and made arrangements to put her under to do x-rays.  He called and told me the x-ray confirmed his suspicions that the cancer had already started metastasizing.  He could remove it, but since it had spread to the lymph nodes, it would be a painful process that would require more surgeries to remove the lymph nodes, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation.

“Those surgeries and the recovery would take place over several painful months and it might buy Miss ABBA another year.  Without surgery, chemo, and radiation, she would live about two to three months.  I made the painful decision to let it be and make sure she had the most enjoyable two to three months on top of the wonderful almost 11 years we had already shared together.”

Spring turned into summer and Miss ABBA celebrated her 11th birthday.  Summer turned into fall and fall into winter and Miss ABBA was still around for our wedding, our reception, and her first snow of the winter of 2011-2012.

On the morning of January 28, 2012, Miss ABBA and I went on a walk and she enjoyed the 0.9″ of snow that had fallen overnight by making snow angels.

The next day, I noticed that her back leg had swollen several times its normal size and I called the doctor Monday.  After a visit, he confirmed that the lymph nodes were being attacked and that she probably would lose the fight this time.

Four days later (and ten months after being given two to three months to live without ever getting outwardly sick), Miss ABBA became disoriented on a walk.  As the day progressed, she became lethargic and slept the rest of the day and I knew the end was near.  While Ray was at work and Gretel was at school, I laid on the bed with her caressing my beautiful golden.  Lying there, I had to hold back the tears because I didn’t want her to be concerned with me and I knew that she would have looked up to see what was wrong.

I grabbed a notebook and just let these words spill onto the page without thinking about what I was writing:

ABBA letter 001

Here’s the translation if you can’t read my tear-stained letter or my handwriting!

ABBA: My Best Friend

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

 ABBA SleepingABBA Afternoon Sunshine

After napping on the bed, she spent part of the afternoon on the sun porch allowing the golden rays of sunshine to warm her sleeping body.  That evening, I bought her one of her favorites, a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and she ate it like there was no tomorrow.  And, for her, there was only a few hours of tomorrow left!

ABBA Last Hamburger

After dinner, she went on a walk and was energetic and even carried my glove home.  I began to think that I was wrong for thinking the end was near.  However, her restlessness that night and not being able to walk the next morning confirmed that we had to make the decision not to let our baby girl suffer.

I told Gretel before she went to school to talk to Miss ABBA because she might not be there when she came home in the afternoon.  Once Gretel was at school, it was time for that fateful R-I-D-E.  I always had to spell the word “ride” because ABBA would get so excited to go anywhere in the car.  That morning, she had to be carried.

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

And, I held onto my baby when she went to sleep in my arms and she walked over the “Rainbow Bridge”.  Miss ABBA lived every day to the fullest and she would never have to worry about anything else on Earth.

One year later, I think of her many times every day.  Except for tearing up while writing this, I smile when I think of her now.  I miss her, but I’ve made peace with her absence.  Her urn still rests on my night stand by the bed.  I’m still not ready to put her in the curio cabinet with the urn of my chow chow, Keshia, that died in 1998.

Miss ABBA, you’re in our hearts and in our memories forever.  And, we even had a double cheeseburger last night for a snack and I’ll have one every February 2nd in your memory. 🙂

Here is a video tribute I made for Miss ABBA.


Anthony, Ray, & Gretel


May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012


19 responses to this post.

  1. Well Anthony, that is a beautiful tribute. Our fur kids are only on this earth a short time but in that time they touch our hearts in a way we never knew was possible, don’t they? We might be facing this with our Dalmatian, Gracie, as the vet removed a growth in her bum and its out for biopsy now. I think if the verdict is malignant, we let her live a happy life for as long as she has left. I don’t want her lasat days filled with medications that make her sick, and she would not want us to spend our live savings . I hope when Gracie’s time comes we can let her enjoy life as you allowed ABBA to…God Bless..


    • Barbara,

      I’m sorry to hear about Gracie. I’ll keep all of you in my thoughts. Make sure that you live life to the fullest with her either way.

      When the worse case scenario happens, Miss ABBA will take her in and be her buddy! 🙂

      Thank you!



  2. Posted by Dawne on February 3, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Awww Anthony, I feel for you dear. I too have lost 2 labs and its so heart wrenching. They are on the other side now happy and waiting for us. And they had wonderful love-filled lives because of us. Dog spelled backward is no accident and we were so very blessed. 🙂


    • Dawne,

      We definitely know what each other is going through. I was blessed to have Miss ABBA as my best friend for almost 12 years!

      Take care and know that ABBA and your two labs are having a blast up there.



  3. An absolutely beautiful tribute Anthony. Would love to share it someday.


  4. Posted by Jewel on February 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Your words to her we’re very moving. I couldn’t fight back the tears. The water spigots were on full force. I miss your stories and pictures about Miss ABBA. I know you said you wouldn’t talk about her after a year, but I sure hope you share some stories of her from time to time so we can all feel her closeness. ❤


    • Jewel,

      Thank you. While my thoughts won’t be dominated by her loss, I’ll mention her from time to time and share old photos. And, there are a couple of anniversary blogs that I’ll share again. But, I know the girl is happy up there and your art work is still such a beautiful tribute!



  5. Posted by Margie on February 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Oh Anthony, You did it again. The flood gates were opened up. I actually treasure the memory of your beautiful golden Miss Abba. I can’t believe it has been a year. I will always treasure your stories about Miss Abba and you and your family. As I have said in the past, both of you were very blessed to have each other. Take care my friend, sending golden hugs to you especially today.


    • Margie,

      Through the tears, hope you smiled more this time. I do.

      We all were very fortunate to have each other in our lives. I just wished they had more time on Earth!

      But, she’ll always be in our hearts.

      Take care, my friend.



  6. Posted by Tammy Ridpath on February 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I am doing the ugly cry. What a sweet fur baby and her Daddy. I, too hope you tell a Miss ABBA story occasionally. :*(


  7. Posted by Jessica on February 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    My heart aches for you today Anthony, I’ve felt the pain of the loss of a pet. She had 12 incredible years with someone who loved her more than anything and gave her a great life. I find it so sweet that you included the video of her making snow angels…you now have a forever “snow” angel, always with you, in your heart, in your memories, and on your arm. Thoughts and prayers of strength and peace with you, Ray, Gretel and of course Miss ABBA today.


    • Jessica,

      Thank you very much for your kind words and the thoughts and prayers.

      We miss our beautiful girl, but it definitely gets easier. And, as I said, the tears have been replaced by smiles. I know she’s looking down at us.

      Take care, my friend.



    • Jessica,

      You mentioned the “snow angels” video and as I was telling Ray today, it’s so crazy that that video was made six days before she died. It’s incredible how cancer can just change your body in just a few days when it finally wants to take over.

      It is an incredible video that I’ll always cherish!



  8. Posted by Renne Lowe on February 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    When you write about Abba, you make me cry.

    Sent from my iPad


  9. Posted by Kathy Hyson on February 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Anthony…you’re last written tribute to Miss ABBA was just so beautifully written…it made me cry the first time I read it and again now. What a beautiful girl she was….I’m so glad you shared her with us here…take care my friend.


    • Kathy,

      Thank you very much for checking it out and for the kind comments. She was a sweetheart and it’s easy writing loving things about her. I’m glad you, and my other friends, thought enough of her to read it and be touched by it.

      Take care and stay warm.



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