Today, we said goodbye to our beloved Sunny D.
2018 was a rough year for us, with too much loss. We tried to channel our grief by fostering/adopting an “unadoptable” dog. Sunshine Ray (as named by the shelter) was an older lady, with multiple cancers, severe arthritis, and a weight problem. From the moment she locked eyes with us, and sat on our feet in her foster family’s back yard, I knew she was part of our family. She was sweet and loving from that first moment, before she even knew us. This is how she got her real name- Sunny D, because she was full of sugar.
It took some time to integrate her into the pack. Ichabod and Johnny Winter were unsure of having such an imposing presence in the house. Sunny, on the other hand, was thrilled to have these new brothers. We took things slow, and over time they all got used to each other. I will never forget the moment I knew they were all a pack- Our neighbor’s dog was barking like a jerk from the other side of the fence. Johnny Winter was right there barking back. Sunny had gone over to see what all the fuss was about, and Ichabod trailed behind. Once Ichabod got there, he was too small to see anything, and sort of bopped sunny with his front paws, almost as if to say “Get out of the way!” Sunny turned her head around, calmly picked Ichabod up by the scruff, and placed him gently down in front of her. It was amazing to see how gentle she could be with her powerful jaws.
Sunny D was a fighter. When she came home with us, she was still recovering from the removal of a massive tumor from her front left leg. She had another one on her front left leg. We called this tumor the kiwi. It was the same size, shape, and fuzzy texture of that fruit. We worked with an oncology and surgical team to determine a path forward for her. She had another surgery to remove the kiwi. From that point on, she took chemotherapy drugs daily in an attempt to fight the cancers.
She did very well that first year, slimming down, and acting like cancer was no big deal. The following winter, a mass was found on her spleen. She underwent another surgery to remove that organ. Through all of this, she never complained, and was full of smiles and kisses.
As time went on, her arthritis got worse. She began to have tummy troubles, and we had to discontinue her chemotherapy, and focus on her comfort.
Sunny D was an incredible, magical creature. She touched so many people. Over the past few days, her (and our) loved ones braved the outdoors to come and visit with her. They gave her her favorite belly rubs, and head scratches. They received plenty of kisses in return.
We knew heading into this journey that we were setting ourselves up for heartbreak. But we had no idea how broken we would be, now that the day has finally arrived. She helped us to survive the chasm of grief and loss that we felt. I’m not entirely sure how we will make it through this new grief without her.
Our niece, Lauren made this tribute to Sunny, and it perfectly captures her beauty, spirit, and occasional silly attitude.
Sunny D, you are our beautiful special princess, our Sunny-Bunny, and you will be in our hearts and thoughts for the rest of our lives.
We love you.