The entire week of our cruise vacation, Amelia was a little homesick and missing her best friend, Annabelle - her big, clumsy, Australian Shepherd-looking best friend that we rescued from the local animal shelter two years ago. On Friday evening, before we were to begin the return home on Saturday, she and Matthew were giving us all the scoop about their plans for Annabelle when we got home. They were going to be playing cruise, and Annabelle would be given the role of passenger. Amelia was so happy the cruise was almost over so she could get home to her.
Saturday morning, we had arrived back in port several hours earlier but were not allowed to leave the boat until our regularly scheduled time. During that time, Brad had turned his phone on to see what he had missed for the week, and it was at that point that he saw the message from Layne - Cari's boyfriend who had been caring for our animals all week.
He had gone to feed Annabelle on Thursday and had noticed that she was not moving. As he got closer, he realized that she was not alive.
(She had seemed lazy and wasn't eating as much before we left, but we really didn't think that much about it. We just assumed the warmer outside temperature was to blame for that.)
We both immediately thought about Amelia and Matthew and the conversation from the night before. We decided to not tell everyone until we got to the van, but when we saw our visibly upset teenagers, it was clear they already knew. We were able to keep with the plan for Amelia and Matthew, and it was quite a sad ride home for all of us.
When we arrived home, we saw where Layne and his mom had buried her for us and had made it a special area for her and her things. What a sweet blessing that was.
I didn't realize how much I liked Annabelle until that point. I had assumed she would be the dog that would be driving me crazy for years to come! If you've ever seen the movie Marley and Me, she was our Marley. Clumsy and always getting into trouble but full of life and personality. (In fact, we've wondered if she may have had the same stomach issue that Marley had.)
Amelia and Matthew still haven't quit talking about her, and we all miss her, including Missy, our other rescued, long-haired, Dachshund-looking little dog. It's been an adjustment for her as well. But, we're thankful she was a part of our family for the past two years. Before we got her, I had prayed for God to send the perfect dog for our family. I often questioned if that prayer was answered as I had prayed it (LOL!), but now I can see that it was - even if she was only to be with us for a short time. And of course, I know she'll always be a fond childhood memory that all my children will keep in their hearts and minds for years to come.