Last night, unexpectedly, our 11-year-old beagle Abbey passed away. She joined our family six years ago, adopted from a shelter in Brooklyn before our Foreign Service life.
We don’t know much about her life before us other than that it was not a completely happy one. She brought some neuroses along as a result, like jumping up for “Abbey hugs” and trying to guilt you out of walking out the door.
She lived with us in our tiny apartment, hiding under our coffee table and howling most of the day while we were away at work, but by some miracle our neighbors never complained. She loved dog parks and chasing pigeons. She did not love the snow.
She helped out as a dirty diaper detector.
She did not like the long plane ride to Benin, but once we got there she loved her huge yard filled with lizards. Much to her regret, she never did catch one.
As her baby owner grew a little older she realized he could be of use, dropping food from his high chair and even helping take a birthday cake from the table.
That baby owner was also not a bad playmate. And most importantly, he came with a dog loving nanny which meant Abbey never had to spend another day howling at home alone.
That little boy grew to love Abbey so much that she inspired his Halloween costume two years later.
Abbey came with our family back to DC, and then on to Mexico, and along the way welcomed a second little boy owner into the fold.
And now, just after he learned to say her name, she’s gone.
We’re sad and in shock. We still instinctively hurry picking up keys or putting on shoes, trying to keep her barking at our departure to a minimum. Flynn still carries his snacks high in the air to try to keep her from getting them. We’re still vacuuming up dog hair. And there will be a beagle shaped hole in our bed tonight, and for many nights to come.
She was a handful, but we loved her.