I have an adorable 5lb Maltese pup named Grace. Grace is such a joy, and the thought of any harm coming to her is unthinkable. Grace came to us after I accidentally ran over a beloved foster dog that we adopted named Missy, also a tiny Maltese.
Missy had a really hard life. The Rescue estimated she was just two years old and in that time she’d been abused. She was also from a puppy mill and had severely deformed hips which caused her pain and a sore on her hip that took months to heal – the sore was from being dragged by her neck down a gravel/asphalt road.
Missy’s hair was so matted that they had to shave her hair completely off. She was covered in fleas, had worms, and was severely underweight. She’d never been spayed, had immunizations, nor had any teeth care. She ended up having teeth pulled due to gum issues caused by malnutrition.
Because of her abuse, she was wary of everyone, except me. I called her Missy Missy or Messy Missy because she was always getting dirty. She wasn’t house trained, and although I worked on it daily, it became an issue between my husband and myself. He wasn’t fond of the dog, and I couldn’t live without her. I had so much guilt about that, but I was confident that with time, she’d become house trained and he would find a way to accept her.
Unfortunately, she left us before that could happen. On a beautiful and sunny September day in 2007, she was with my husband in the driveway, saying goodbye to me as I left for work. My husband called Missy as I prepared to back out of the driveway. She turned and ran towards him and the house. I was so proud of her; it was the first time she’d obeyed him. That was my last thought as I drove my 7-passenger van off.
Just minutes later, my husband called my cell phone and told me to come home. He said I’d run over Missy and we needed to get her to the hospital. That mile home was the worst. I drove up, and there was my sweet husband, holding Missy in his arms like she was a priceless piece of art. She was broken, he knew, because my back tires had run over her hips. I was devastated. She was obviously in shock, and I was so worried. We took her to the nearest vet who took X-rays and confirmed she was severely injured. They gave her fluids and had us take her to an emergency pet hospital.
After more tests, fluids, and finally pain killers, we had to make the worst decision ever – we had to decide to put her to sleep or put her through a surgery that might paralyze her and would most certainly be a painful recovery that may or may not have been successful. We asked the vet what he would do if Missy were his pet. He said the amount of pain she’d be in for the rest of her life would be overwhelming for her and that he would put her to sleep – he said it wasn’t a decision he makes lightly. We trusted him and made the decision to end her life. They unhooked her from all the meds and brought her to us. We held her, talked to her, and let her know how much we loved her, and I let her know how very sorry I was for hurting her. I was so proud of her and loved her so much.
The vet let us bring her home in a small cardboard casket which is against the law in our county, but he could tell it would mean so much to us. My sweet husband wrapped her in a soft, pink faux fur blanket and dressed her in the only outfit we had ever photographer her in (the one in the only picture we have of her) and placed her inside. We said goodbye to her and buried her in our yard. The next week I planted a garden in her memory – bulbs that would bloom all spring long in her honor. Those bulbs are flowering now. It was just a year ago, but the guilt I have is just as fresh.
I was devastated and the fact that I caused her injuries was crushing. I vowed the mistake I made with Missy would not be repeated. Gracie would not be allowed in the front yard without being on a leash. I’m hoping that Missy’s story will remind people to take care of their pets. To expect them to act like dogs and want to be with their master. Missy just wanted to be with me and in the end, it was that love for me that took her life. I miss her so. I love Grace, but I miss Missy.