Chapter 14: Goodbye Abigail
Originally posted February 13, 2022.
A Farewell to an Old Friend
âIt has been a few weeks since I last wrote about our adventures out here in the back woods of Nova Scotia, mostly because Tyler and I lost our girl Abby very abruptly on January 31 to what we suspect was a case of bloat.
Needless to say, losing 1/3 of our trio left us feeling a little demoralized, particularly because the illness came on fast and hard. Abby was a Great Pyrenees and Husky mix who was 13 years old. She had been noticeably slowing down the past couple of years but she still seemed pretty bright eyed and bushy tailed. Bloat is very common, particularly in older dogs with deep chests like Abby. We don't know if it was caused by a tumor or if it was just bad luck. â
Tyler and I had never heard of bloat before we saw it with her. We spent most of the first day after her death running over the scenario trying to understand what happened and decide if there was anything we could have done differently. Everything we did that day was exactly like every other day. We didn't know why she was acting so unusually but we thought we would let her be and take her into the vet in the morning if she still seemed uncomfortable.
In retrospect, I think our course of action was probably the best, as she wouldn't have lasted even the trip up to Halifax to see an emergency vet and we wouldn't have put her into surgery anyways, considering her age and the likelihood that she would have died anyways.
We just provided what comfort we could and we are grateful it was swift. Watching an animal be in extreme pain is exceptionally traumatic and I wish I could have provided her more comfort.
We do miss her immensely, her absence is noted every day. You don't really appreciate how often you talk to your dog, how often you notice the funny quirks they have or notice the comfort their constant presence brings. I don't think we took her for granted, but its hard not to feel that way when they are gone. She was a great companion and friend.
Tyler bought Abby when he was 18 from a farmer near Kemptville. He told me that just one of her ears was bigger than her whole face, so it had the look of two satellites moving around in every which way. She grew into them and grew into being a absolutely gorgeous lady, but her big dorky ears were always a point of laughter with us.
Tyler brought Abby with her to his first job after college in Barrie where he worked as a timber framer. When he moved back to Kemptville, his parents would often take Abby to work with them at the meat shop where she would hang out outside along with her sister Chara (a pure husky). The two of them were often customer favorites, hard not to notice the two beautiful dogs hanging out waiting for scraps. They both ate like kings, getting food hand made for them by Tyler's parents from all the scraps and leftovers.
Abby was Tyler's best friend. He took her everywhere with him. They went camping in all seasons together particularly to Algonquin Park. They went ski skating together, often going as far as Merrickville from Kemtpville. They went hiking in and around Kemptville. She would put on her doggie life jacket and jump along in the canoe with Tyler steering in the back. She was a great adventure pal.
Abby's personality was endearing. She had a lot of sass. True to being a husky, she loved the snow. She was stubborn and chose to ignore us, leading to many altercations with porcupines. She liked to go wander and get lost, something that got worse as she got older (though fortunately we always found her). She was very talkative and you could really get her going if you howled along with her. She liked to be close but not TOO close. She loved to bury her head between your knees for pets and was obsessed with snuggling into microfiber blankets.
Abby and I became fast friends, often making Tyler jealous that I stole his friend away. When Tyler and I met, I was of the mind that I didn't want any pets in the house anymore but Abby won me over. He would help her up onto the bed after he got up for work so she could take his spot (which she did happily) and she would let me hug her. She would always come up to me first to say hi when we got home from work. I am very glad that I got such VIP treatment since I only got two years with her compared to Tyler's 13.
It was very clear that Abby loved to be on the farm and we are very happy to have our first summer of memories with her there. We will be planting her a memorial garden in her favorite nook in the yard in the spring so we can go and sit with her. I am very grateful to a new local friend who very kindly dropped off some sunflower seeds for this garden along with a card. It was a very simple yet kind gesture. â
Tyler and I took a couple of weeks off from anything extra as we said goodbye to Abby. We wanted to thank everyone for all the heartfelt messages we received, it was comforting and we appreciate it.
âThanks for reading 2 Kids Off-Grid! ï»¿Next week I'll be sharing a mid-winter update on what life is like living in a camper in -22 degree weather with about four feet of snow. Subscribe to get new chapters weekly by signing up for our newsletter below.
Just two working class kids living off-grid. Follow us on our journey building a sustainable farm and butcher shop in the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada.