Say­ing good­bye to Sully

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“Go tell Sully bye,” I in­structed Mr. Carter. Sully could barely hold her head up, so Mr. Carter squat­ted un­til they were eye-to­eye and told her good­bye while wav­ing at her. Katie Jo and I teared at the mo­ment, know­ing it may be the last time our son would ever see his dog again.

Katie and I got Sully early in our re­la­tion­ship, be­fore we lived to­gether, making her our first real com­mit­ment to one an­other. We had just been on the same cruise as the Indigo Girls, and got to know their su­per cool gui­tar tech, a woman known as Sully. Upon our re­turn and search for a gold­en­doo­dle puppy, we de­cided Sully was a great name for our new furry girl. Lit­tle did we know we’d spend the rest of her life cor­rect­ing every­one who as­sumed by her name and size she was a male.

I al­ready had my beloved golden re­triever, Toby, so I took a backseat to Katie as Sully’s pri­mary mom. Those two bonded as any­one would hope a dog and hu­man would, and Sully was Katie’s con­stant com­pan­ion and adored her master. When we adopted a spe­cial needs dog, GiGi, af­ter Toby’s pass­ing, Sully was the one who re­ha­bil­i­tated her scared sis­ter and in­spired her health. When Katie and I fos­tered two dogs dur­ing the course of our re­la­tion­ship, it was Sully who led the way for the ca­nines to re­lax and play. And when our son was born, it was Sully who served as teething toy, bed, stuffed an­i­mal to hug, horse and ski boat who pulled a tod­dler with her tail.

When Katie and I split, we at­tempted to sep­a­rate the dogs, as Sully was con­nected to Katie and GiGi was my sweet com­pan­ion. But, af­ter each went on a food strike with­out the other, we brought Sully back to the house and her yard, and Katie took her pe­ri­od­i­cally on long road trips as well as beauty ap­point­ments with the groomer.

Sully had never been sick in her life, but I no­ticed she had an ac­ci­dent in the house a “When Katie and I fos­tered two dogs dur­ing the course of our re­la­tion­ship, it was Sully who led the way for the ca­nines to re­lax and play. And when our son was born, it was Sully who served as teething toy, bed, stuffed an­i­mal to hug, horse and ski boat who pulled a tod­dler with her tail.” cou­ple months ago and I knew some­thing wasn’t right. Katie also no­ticed some swelling on her back and took her to the vet, who found an in­fec­tion, and at Sully’s age of 10, hoped that’s all it was. We treated it first to see if symp­toms im­proved, which they did for a few weeks, but then one night she seemed to pant ab­nor­mally.

I asked Mr. Carter to say good­bye be­fore Katie took Sully to an emer­gency clinic. Not 20 min­utes later, Katie called, cry­ing, “We have to put her down.” He­man­giosar­coma of the spleen, a malig­nant form of can­cer.

For Sully it had spread, and the vet nearly begged Katie to put her down that very mo­ment. I stayed home to en­ter­tain Mr. Carter, sneak­ing in the hall and kitchen ev­ery now and again to cry as Katie sat on the vet’s floor with her best friend and helped her leave this world.

Thank you, Sully, for be­ing part of such an im­por­tant part of our lives. I hope you and Toby are hav­ing a good time, and look for­ward to play­ing fetch again some­day with you two. Your moms love you and re­ally miss you.

Melissa Carter is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and has been heard over the years on B98.5 and Q100. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. Follow her on Twitter @Melis­saCarter.

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