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Eliza--English Springer Spaniel/Beagle Mix

Updated on May 9, 2011

The Loss Of A Dog So Special

I lost my Eliza, July 4, 2008. She was an English Springer Spaniel/Beagle mix and was 12. The loss of her has knocked the life out of me. She was my inspiration to move. She kept my mind sharp. I never knew what she would be up to. Most people will say that they have intelligent furry family members. My Eliza was the smartest of them all. She knew how to pick locks (an exaggeration perhaps, but it seems true never the less as she was always on the opposite side of the fence regardless of how many chains we put on the gate) and formulate sentences (I would swear on my life that she said "hello" to me. I know that "hello" isn't really a sentence, but she was a dog for Pete's sake!) She had this wonderful sense of humor that I envied. She could make anyone laugh with her melodramatic mannerisms and an upturned eyebrow. She would steal your seat if you got up and would climb behind you to push you out if you didn't have the sense to forfeit the chair first. It's hard to imagine that such a being could be silenced by something as mundane as liver disease.

We got the diagnosis this past Memorial Day. I will never forget bumping into the vet in the hall and seeing that vial full of stomach fluid. Despite my head knowing that a doctor wouldn’t bring another patient’s fluid into an exam room, my heart still prayed that it wasn’t from Eliza. Though I lack a medical degree, I knew then what news we were going to get.

The doctor said we were lucky to have her for so long and that it was unfortunate that she had to ruin our holiday weekend with the news. In hindsight, perhaps she was attempting to lighten the mood. At that current moment though, I could’ve ripped her apart for displaying such insensitivity. There Eliza stood, panting from the excessive fluid she was carrying, and the doctor was apologizing for ruining our weekend. Lady, you obviously read us wrong.

Eliza’s doctor said we would be lucky if we had her for another two weeks. If you know how to do simple math, you know that we got to have her for slightly longer. I give the hospital’s specialist the credit for that. Had she not looked past Eliza’s illness and seen hope where none, but I, could see, the first estimate would’ve been the final outcome. Thanks to this woman’s talent and her ability to see Eliza as an individual, we were granted a few extra weeks. Luckier still, despite her stomach being over-sized with fluid, Eliza didn't change. She was still getting into mischief up until the day before she died.

To sidestep for a minute, my father died from a heart attack on March 4, 2003. I bring this up because I always said that I hated that I never got to say goodbye to him. I felt I could've accepted that loss better if I had known the end was coming. I would've actually spoken to my father instead of only sporadically acknowledging that he was still alive (divorce + melodramatic teen=unloving daughter). I would've asked him questions and really done my best to get to know him. I wouldn't be feeling such deep regret nearly six years later.

After he died, I prayed that if I ever was to lose someone else that I loved that I would be able to know that they were dying so I could appreciate them and give them the attention that I never gave my dad. After going through what I did with Eliza, I would like to take back my prayers. Knowing I was going to lose my little girl was hell. Not the kind that people melodramatically say that they're experiencing after a bad day at work. Not the kind that a young girl once said writing a History paper was. This was the kind that made me rethink every prayer and complaint I had ever voiced.

I remember for those first two weeks after she was diagnosed, I didn't want to leave her side. I would kiss her and hold her and just look at her, wondering why I didn't see in her what the doctors did. She would smile at me and I'd collapse into tears. I often asked myself, “Could that beautiful face really be leaving me soon?” I did my fair share of praying, asking God to let me have her illness so I could be in pain and die in her place. Obviously, that prayer wasn't answered.

When she died, I was at her face. My tear stained face was the last thing she saw. I'm still trying to come to terms with that. I wish it had been something truly beautiful like a sunrise or a sunset or a lake or a giant bag of doggie treats. It was my face though. I saw the light leave her eyes. I never thought I would see such a thing. It is something you never forget.

When Eliza first came into my life, I didn't really want a dog. I was 11 and didn't want to have that type of responsibility. She was cute, but she peed on the carpet within the first five minutes that she was home. I had to "baby sit" her that first night, making sure she didn't have any more accidents on the carpet or tear up anything important. I remember watching her, being amazed at her small feet and the raccoon-esque noises she would make. She made me laugh with how hard she tried to pick up a toy twice her size. Watching us from her recliner, my grandmother told me to play with her, to interact with her, to let her know she was part of the family. I did play with her and I started to like her too, but we didn't exactly "click" yet. She was a dog. I was girl. We were not equals.

At the very small funeral we had for her at the pet cemetery, I told this story about when I finally fell in love with her. It was her first rainstorm with us and the power had gone out. My door was closed and I heard this light scratching on it. Being a horror story fan, I immediately thought that it was a monster. I slowly opened the door and I saw this small, brown and white puppy looking up at me, whimpering. For the first time ever, I picked her up and held her. I centered all of my attention on getting her to calm her down, so much so that I didn't even realize that she had peed all over my new white shirt. From that point on, I was all about her. I proudly showed off her pictures. I told stories about her. I became one of those annoying people who think that their little one is the most precious, fascinating creature ever. When I close my eyes and think about Eliza, I see that puppy. She never really grew up in my eyes.

Six months later, I now feel enough back on my feet to finally write about her. However, as I've cried during the greater portion of this hub, I'm obviously still coping. I'm still in awe of her. I still show off her picture and tell stories. The pride I feel for her still burns strong. Even though it hurts to just say her name sometimes, she deserves to be mourned and remembered. There will never be another Eliza. My loss is the world’s loss too.


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      Marilyn 1 week ago 

      6 years ago

      I lost my Macy just a week ago. She was also a English Springer Spaniel beagle mix. She was only 14 months old. Her life was cut short by a getting run over by a truck pulling a trailor. She was full of life with lots of love to give. She was just a baby in my eyes. She had strong legs that many people in our small town said she was a lightning bolt or a speeding bullet. She was all hound with a great sniff of always finding her way back home. She would shake hands with you. She loved running after the ball and bringing it back to playing tug a war. It was those gorgeous eyes and flopping ears that melted my heart. Every morning I would let her loose to run and when she noticed I unhooked her, she would take off for a second,only to return to me to give me a kiss. I thought what dog on earth would do what a human would do. She would return about 1:00 in ther afternoon scratching the backdoor to let me know she has returned and wanted to take a nap. She would come inside and sit on the couch and sleep for an hour or so. It it was to bright in the house she would look at the lamp light and me and that was her way of asking me to turn off the lamp so she could sleep. Many times when she had a difficult time sleeping she would crawl in my lap and sleep. Macy was not just a puppy, she was a huge part of the family. She was my best friend. My family thinks I am not normal for crying all the time my puppy. They don't understand my relationship with her. She was my life. She kept me going and made me happy. I would forget all my troubles when I was around her. Unfortunately, we thought she was missing for a day and posted on facebook that she did not come home and that was so unusual of her. Then a call came and said she got run over the day before and that the people who found her buried her. They did however bring her collar to us, but I never got to see her or say my goodbyes. My heart is broken and will always remain broken. Rest in peace my Macy..........

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I lost my Smudgebertie aged 13 and a half 10 weeks ago, I still miss her dearly, she was a PointerxBasset, she was my best friend I will never ever forget her. After an operation that failed I had to have her put down it broke my heart. And I still feel so sad.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      lost our beagle springer last week ,your memories of your dog sound so precious, thanks for helping me deal with our loss

    • DinnyDinah profile image


      8 years ago

      I know what you went through. I too lost my little black cocker spaniel from liver disease. His face haunts me. In fact it's still too painful to talk about. In the same year, 2009, I also lost the last of my five blue roans. I love my dogs and I still cry over them. My sister-in-law sent me a poem called "Rainbow Bridge" and I hope what it says is true. My heart goes out to you.

    • LowellWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      L.A. Walsh 

      9 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Hi Christine,

      I'm very sorry to hear that you lost your beautiful little girl too. Losing Eliza was like losing the best part of myself. While I'm slowly learning how to live without her, I know I will never fully recover. She was my little girl, my biggest source of strength and a constant joy. I miss my Eliza face and all of the energy that she exuded more than words can express. I'm sorry that you and your family are experiencing such pain. Though it takes you a while to get to this point, one day you will be thankful that your little girl is no longer suffering. Thank you for writing to me about your Nala. You have touched my heart deeply. Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts for a long time to come.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi, I just came across your site after just loosing our 13 yr old beagle/springer to intestinal cancer. We are devastated and wonder how long this goes on for. Your dog looked so sweet like ours. Her name was Nala and wer had her from 8 weeks old, raised with our boys who are now 15 and 18 and lost their "little sister. Please write if you read this. Thank you, Christine Stevens, St. James, NY

    • Nikgigmatc profile image


      9 years ago

      You dog looks so beauitful in that picture and she sounds amazing. I am sorry for your loss. I wish I had a pet as wonderful as your Eliza sounds.

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 

      9 years ago from colorado springs

      I'm sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful dog and I'm sure an even more beautiful friend. My heart is with you.


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