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About Me

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Follower of Jesus Christ. Lover of people. Lover of animals. High Point University graduate. Appalachian State graduate. High school English teacher. AXΩ.

A Chapter Ended

In March of 2001, a Beagle puppy came into our home. We didn't know it yet, but she would change our lives forever.
 
One month ago, that puppy left us quietly to be with Jesus. 
There is no way I could possibly adequately tell her story or put into words the joy she brought to our lives.
However, I will do my best.
 

 
We are not sure how old Honeygirl was when she came to us. My cousin and her friend found the pup at a gas station. She was hungry and had possibly been abused. They knew my brother had been BEGGING for a dog, and so they brought her to us.
 
I had never seen a cuter animal in my LIFE.
 
This tiny Beagle ran around our living room and captured our hearts immediately.
Needless to say, she became the newest member of our family.
 
My brother, 10, was ECSTATIC to FINALLY have a dog, after begging for years. My sister was two years old and intrigued by this crazy creature that we had named "Honey," but Granny kept saying, "Here, Girl!" ...Ashley got confused and started calling her Honeygirl. The name stuck. We let the toddler name our dog.
 
I liked the idea of her. But she didn't smell very good (Beagles usually have a certain... smell. Haha).
We had just lost our cat, Missy, a year earlier, when I was in fifth grade. Missy was a little older than me. We grew up together. We also had two other cats who were still living. We had only had cats as pets, and I only really liked cats (I've always been scared of dogs!!)
We don't have many pictures of me and Honeygirl from when she was a puppy because it took me forever to actually warm up to her. And when I say forever, I mean at least a couple years (That's one thing I regret, but I feel like I made up for it).
 
Life with Honeygirl got off to a crazy start. Honeygirl, being a Beagle and a runner, would bolt out the front door every time it opened. She would run down the street at about 45 MPH, into the woods, and be gone for the entire day. The first few times it happened, we were sure she wasn't coming back, and came to terms with the fact that we were once again dog-less.
 
I remember the first time Honeygirl ran off, I went into sixth grade that morning at Wesleyan Academy heavy-hearted. When it was time for prayer requests, I asked the class to pray that our dog would come back home.
Well, after hours of Granny and Ashley standing at the front door whistling and calling for her, Honeygirl found her way back home. Boy, were we happy to see her! She had spent the day exploring and came back home, tongue wagging, ready for supper.
 
Honeygirl ran off so many times, but always either came back voluntarily, or was captured by a neighbor and brought back.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honeygirl was with us for 13 years. That's a long time. For me, that's half of my life. 
For Ashley, that's almost her entire life. She and Honeygirl grew up together.
 
 
In 13 years, Honeygirl saw me through it all. She was there for everything.
That dog comforted me through the roller-coaster of middle and high school. She met my college friends. She watched me pack up and leave for Boone every week for the past year.
 
Thirteen years.
So much happened in 13 years.
 
Honeygirl was there when I started all over at a new school - Southwest Middle.
She heard me crying after my terrible first day there.
 
Honeygirl was there when I had ear surgery at 13 years old.
 
Honeygirl was there when I had my first real heartbreak in tenth grade.
 
 
 
 
Honeygirl sat with me when I had a bad case of the flu and laid on the couch for three days on Super Bowl Weekend my senior year in high school.
 
Honeygirl was our rock when Matt Bullis passed away in January of 2010. She laid there and let us hug and love and cry on her, providing silent comfort in the purest form.
 
Honeygirl was always there to share my food with me after school when I was at Southwest or after I got off at Libby Hill when I worked there. Michael and I would take leftovers from LH specifically to give to Honeygirl and she'd go crazy when she smelled us coming in with them.
One night she intercepted an oyster that I had, on its way into my mouth!
 
 
 
 
Honeygirl was there for my 8th grade year and my birthday parties and the best days of my life so far. She was there when I got my first Elvis CD for my 14th birthday and played it for her.
 
 
 
She was there before my high school proms and through all my breakups and when I flooded my Jeep.
My first day of high school, the day I got my permit, the day I got my license.
 
She was there when Ashley lost her first tooth and she was there when Michael started middle and high school as well.
 
She was there when Ashley went to kindergarten and when Granny fell and broke her hip and when my dad lost his job and she kept him company all day long.
 
She was there when my mother retired and when my brother started college.
 
She was there during our darkest and best days - she saw us through it all.
She just quietly watched as our lives changed and evolved and she supported us through everything.





 
A couple years ago, Honeygirl got a Twitter and became even more internet-famous than she already was.


 




 


 
 
Honeygirl was the only reason I didn't go crazy when Grandma passed away. She was a furry source of comfort and innocent joy when, at 22, I watched my Grandma and one of the best friends I've ever had, slowly deteriorate and eventually pass away in Hospice.
While Grandma was in the nursing home and hospital, we would constantly lift her spirits by showing her pictures of Honeygirl in bathing suits and bows. Grandma's face would light up upon seeing the pictures of the last doggie she ever knew. It would spark conversations reminiscing on the dogs she had had throughout her life - how they ate ice cream or liked sitting in certain chairs in the house. Honeygirl provided joy for Grandma in her difficult but cherished last days of life.
 
 
Honeygirl was there when Libby Hill closed down last April, and I struggled so much with that, but I just hugged on her on Friday nights when I would've otherwise been working, and her carefree spirit helped me greatly.
 
 
 
 
Honeygirl was there to greet me after any bad day I'd had, and I knew that seeing her would instantly make me feel better.
Honeygirl was there to greet me on the good days and bring even more joy to my life.
 
Every single time I came home from being out, I'd immediately look at the side of the house when I pulled up to see if she was sitting there in her favorite spot. If she was, she'd start barking like crazy when she saw my car pull up and I'd go see her.
 
Honeygirl was there when I sat up for hours typing papers, sometimes even pulling all-nighters.
Sometimes she would sleep and the sweet sound of her little snores would comfort me as a stressed-out English major.
Sometimes she would just stare at me with her dark chocolate brown eyes that melted my heart in the best way possible and made me remember how wonderful life is.
On particularly stressful days, I'd look at that innocent thing and say, "Honeygirl is SO LUCKY. She doesn't have to do anything at all. She can do whatever she wants to all day long. She doesn't have to pay bills or go to school or work or write papers."
I would hug her and feel the stress leave my body, replaced by joy.
 
 
 
 
When I graduated from HPU, I had a little more free time, so Honeygirl and I started walking every single morning and shared so much bonding time. I loved walking her so much. I loved how she stopped at the same spots every time to sniff around and how much she loved looking at the geese at the neighborhood pond. We got so close over the past few years, and I loved every single minute of it. I wouldn't change a thing.


 
 
 
We did so many fun things over the years. 
 
 
We took Honeygirl through Cookout and got her milkshakes to drink.
 
 
 
We had a birthday party for her last summer, complete with doggie frozen yogurt.
(Looking back, I am SO glad we had this party.)

 


 
Honeygirl and I spent lots of time together at HPU, meeting my friends, walking around, etc. She got SO much attention, and everyone that met her loved her instantly.
 
Usually we'd go to Sonic after a long hot afternoon on campus and I'd get her a chicken sandwich, and she'd try to bury it under my car floor mat to save for later.

 
 
 
 
We went to Bark in the Park at the Grasshoppers game this past summer with my friends and their doggies.


Honeygirl's last Christmas was special and wonderful. She got to go to the Jamestown Christmas parade and dress up in a tutu on Christmas Eve.




 
 
We had so many fun times together, and I will forever be thankful for everything we got to do together and the simple, pure joy she brought to our lives. We have hundreds of pictures. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
 






 


 
 
 
 
 
 
Right around Christmastime this past year, I noticed a tumor-like thing under Honeygirl's arm. I didn't think much of it. The doctors gave us medicine for her to take, hoping it would go down. It didn't. The vet concluded that she could have Lymphoma, but they weren't sure, and we didn't know that til just a couple of days before she passed away.
 
Honeygirl's last few days were spent resting in the presence of the people that had loved her fiercely and immensely for her whole time on this earth. The people that had cared for her and enjoyed her and loved on her with all their might. She got to meet Emery, my puppy. She got to rest and enjoy lots of loving pats and words. She got to lay her weary bones on her soft bed with her fuzzy blanket by her own personal heater and sleep in the dim Christmas lights.
 
 
On Monday, January 13th, I took my last picture with Honeygirl, and it is something I will always cherish and hold dear.
 
 

 When I left for Boone on Wednesday, January 15th, I considered saying goodbye to Honeygirl in case something happened while I was gone, because I just had a feeling... But being the optimist I try to be, I thought that would be silly. So I gave her a hug and told her I'd see her in a few days.
That was the last time I'd feel her sweet breath on my face.

 
 
On the morning of January 17, 2014, Honeygirl was ready to leave this earth. My mother called me that morning. I was in Boone, and Mama told me I should probably come home because Honeygirl seemed pretty bad off. I wasn't too worried because of the scares we had had before and how she'd always been okay. So I did a few things at the apartment - finished a blog, packed, read a passage out of Ezekiel - and then headed home, praying that Honeygirl was okay and if she wasn't that she would hold out til I got there.
 
I was too late.
 
I had just gotten to HP and was about to pull into Arby's to get Honeygirl a sandwich because my mom couldn't get her to eat, but I knew how much she loved roast beef sandwiches and thought I'd give it a try. Right before I pulled in, I got a text from my brother, who was 30 minutes behind me on his way home from Boone. The text said "She's in heaven."
 
I never believe things like that, and somehow thought that if it was true, I could bring her back to life, maybe. Driving those last two minutes home were the longest two minutes of my life, it seems. I sped through the neighborhood, skid into the driveway, my car parked sideways, and ran inside, dropping my keys at the door.
 
As long as I live, I will never forget what I saw when I ran into the living room.
The blanket I bought Honeygirl for Christmas not even a month earlier covered her whole body, like usual, because that's how she liked to sleep. But I could tell this time was different. I could tell there was no life under the blanket this time.
 
 I tore the blanket off to reveal what I'd always dreaded and never ever wanted to see.
My puppy. My friend. My companion of 13 years.
The one thing that had always offered me unconditional love...
lifeless. Void of breath.
 
Sobbing, I kept shaking her, yelling "Honeygirl, wake up!!"
I had always said I didn't know what I would do when this day came, and now I was faced with it.
I was so angry with myself for not making it home in time to hold her and comfort her as she passed.
 
I laid down beside her cold, limp body and stroked her fur for as long as I possibly could, knowing that I had to while I could, for this would be the very last time.



I'm not sure why, but I did feel at peace. I felt like somehow, her life had been accomplished and that her little life had brought such an abundance of joy to our lives that we wouldn't have otherwise had, and in that moment, I just thanked God so much for her life and that He had created her with us in mind.

I felt like her outer shell was with me, but her sweet spirit was somewhere above me, way high up.
I knew she had left us while no one was home because she knew we wouldn't be able to handle watching her go, and I felt comfort in knowing she had been called up peacefully, when she was ready.




If you ask us how we're doing, we would say we're doing fine.


We won't say how much we miss coming home and seeing her waiting for us.

We won't say that every time we pull up to the house, we don't look for her, out of habit, only to remember that she isn't there.

I won't say that I don't go downstairs to drink my morning coffee with her and then remember.

We won't say that we tear up every time we hear Bruno Mars' "Treasure" out somewhere because that was our song for her.

We won't say that our hearts ache every time we glance at her empty spot in the den.

We won't say that we feel selfish using her heater or giving her leftover dog food to Emery.

I won't say that out of habit, I always save a little bit from each meal to take home to her before I remember.

And we won't tell you how empty the house feels and how we don't usually look out into the back yard anymore. There's no reason to.
 


We will tell you that we were blessed to own the greatest and sweetest dog that ever lived and we don't know why God chose to send her to us, but boy are we glad He did.

We will tell you that the chapter of our lives that she was a part of was indescribably memorable, and that for 13 years, she was a constant source of unconditional love and endless enjoyment.
That she loved us and depended on us no matter what.

That she didn't care what we had done - her love for us never changed.

We will tell you that a part of her will forever be with us.


And we will tell you that we now imagine her running free in fields and down streets of gold, in a red tutu, free of cancer, and enjoying the glory of the One who created her.

We will tell you that she was perfect, and we cannot wait to see her again one day when she greets us on the golden stairs.



A chapter has ended. A wonderful, special, sweet chapter. A chapter of our book that we will cherish and remember forever. Honeygirl's little life made the biggest difference in ours. She never knew how much she taught us or helped us, and I just hope that we did well in accomplishing giving her the life that she deserved.
 

 
 
 Come home, come home
You who are weary, come home
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa

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