Goodbye Melba

Girl kissing a small, one-eyed dog

Dear Readers,

Today’s post is a sad one. If you need happy reading, or don’t have a box of tissues handy, I suggest you read elsewhere.

Chiweenie asleep on a lime green blanket
Melba sleeping on her favorite blanket.

On July 28, I said goodbye to Melba forever.

The best, sweetest little dog had been carrying around a tumor for over a year, and at the end of July, it decided it was going to take her over.

Chihuahua mutt with one eye in the back of a car.
Old dog, one eye. Found near 7th Ave and Roosevelt. Go pick him up at the County shelter.

Since shortly after I found her, she had toughed out a variety of ailments. She spent a lot of time with the wonderful people at the Blue Cross Veterinary clinic, and they were her fan club. She was no stranger to the Cone of Shame.

But then she would come back.

Small brown dog wearing a clear plastic cone.

She helped me move into my apartment.

Chiweenie asleep in a partially assembled bookcase

She modeled in photoshoots.

Chiweenie in a coat begging to be picked up

Girl carrying a smal dog.
When modeling a sweater, bring the dog. If the sweater’s horribly wrong, the dog will salvage the whole thing.
Girl kissing a small, one-eyed dog
Kisses for the best photo prop ever!

Melba was not the dog you took running. She was a lap dog. When we were together, everything was good. When everything was good, she slept.

She slept on so many projects in progress. Clean laundry was also good. And books, and notebooks, and my laptop…

Melba the chiweenie asleep on a knitted shawl
Priceless knitted heirloom or…puppy blankie.
Ginger dog smelling gray cat hair drying on towels.
After a thorough rinsing in hot water, the fuzzies were clean enough to pass inspection.
Crocheted bath mat with a small ginger dog sleeping on it.
Melba approves of the bath mat.
Small brown dog asleep on a book
Melba exhausted herself tromping around the lawn.

When we first found her, we though someone must be frantically looking for her, so we took her to the humane society, who turned her into the pound (at the time, they were only taking surrenders). As we walked into the humane society lobby, I tucked her under my arm like a football, and she settled right into the crook of my arm. I felt like the worst person in the history of the universe when we handed her over. For the next week, I looked frantically for her on the pound’s website.

After I got her home, she chose me as her person. I like to think she remembered me holding her. If Querido watched her while I was at work, lining a comfy armchair with a blanket for her to sleep in, carrying her out and in, she would be the picture of despondence until I came home. My sister sat for her once: Melba was excited to hear her at the door until she realized it wasn’t me. Then she walked away and lay down pitifully in front of the slider. One of my best friends and her usual dogsitter, the one who would snuggle with her on the couch for hours while they watched TV: Melba gave her a mess on one of my shoes for a welcome.

That much love is a powerful thing. Humans love one another, but they don’t forget so easily, carrying around old hurts and unspoken expectations. If a friend or a family member had a really bad day, I would know it would take a lot more than me just showing up to make them feel better. But when Melba heard me walk in the door, she totally forgot that she’d been abandoned with Querido in her blanket-lined chair. She was ecstatic, crying with joy and tail whipping, and everything was right with the world. I don’t know what I did to earn so much love, but I tried very hard to be worthy it.

She wanted to be with me, and I with her, so she came with me to as many places it is possible to bring a particular little dog who doesn’t like other dogs. Everywhere we went, I carried her around like a football. Up until the very end, when nothing was comfortable, that’s how she liked to be carried.

Woman in a green knitted vest holding a chiweenie in a pink sweater

She came with us on car rides and road trips.

Melba the chiweenie in the driver's seat
Melba drives.

She was no stranger to Flagstaff when we lived in Phoenix, and not only did she make it to Kansas, she made it through a Kansas winter.

In July, when she started to decline, the hardest thing was admitting that this tiny little dog–who walked across a six-lane road in morning rush hour, survived two bouts of cancer, and attempted to fight every large dog in my apartment building–that she could be dying.

Her last two days, I stayed home from work. We sat on the couch together the entire time. The first day, I pretended I was just getting her back on her feet. The second day, I pretended it wasn’t the last. She didn’t eat. Finally, I pulled her too-light body onto my chest, and we took a nice long nap.

Melba the chiweenie asleep
Goodbye Melba

Then I said goodbye.

Getting her clay paw print back was horrible. Getting the box back was worse. I want to have her with me and well, with more years in which I can love her, and make up for whatever put her on the street in Phoenix in 2012.

Oh Melba. Wherever you went, I want to end up there too.

28 responses to “Goodbye Melba”

  1. I am so sorry that the beautiful life you had together was so short. You were meant to care for her and you will be with her again. My sincerest condolences.

  2. Such a touching tribute to Melba – one that I am sure was very difficult to write. Your pictures made me smile and your words made me cry. So glad you were a part of her life and I’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. BIG HUG Allison – you did a lot for Melba, and she gave you a lot of good memories in return. Remember her, and all her ways; she’s no longer suffering, and that’s a plus.

  4. Oh Allison I’m so sorry for your loss!! You are such a wonderful person for giving her such a loving, spoiled, pampered life with you as her Mommy. She knows how lucky she was to be saved by you. Don’t ever doubt that.

  5. I have lost cats who were friends like that, and I agree 100% with everything Lisa and the others said. Thank you for sharing Melba with us. She was blessed to have such a wonderful home with you for her last few years. {{hugs}}

  6. It’s so hard with our companions – the love they give is so rich that the loss is tough. But we can’t imagine living without that love.

    We have 4 rescues and a fifth that we lost last winter. It’s been hard, but at the same time, we know what we saved each of them from. So that helps.

  7. Somehow I missed this. And now I’m shedding a few tears for Melba. As others have said, thank you for sharing her with us. They tear our hearts when they go, these canine best buddies of ours, but perhaps that’s a small price to pay for all the love they give us. Sweet dreams dear Melba. Hugest hugs to you Allison x

  8. Dear Allison,
    a year ago today you wrote about Melba’s death. I just wanted to leave a note saying I still enjoy reading the posts about this great littel dog, that touched my heart. You always wrote in such warm words about her and shared lovely fotos. Thank you for letting us take part and letting us “meet” such a precious little soul. I’m sure she’ll always be by your side and one day you’ll see her again…

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