Manny tells the story of his first meeting with Tilly at a basset-hound rescue in Pennsylvania about six or seven years ago. It was before we’d started dating — back when he was a NYC bachelor. He spoke to the adoption coordinators, surrounded by a sea of adorable bassets waiting for homes. He needed a dog that could handle being alone during the day, who would also play nice with other dogs.
Tilly was neither of these things. She wanted to be with her humans constantly. She detested other dogs. But somehow she was the one he took home. He’s often joked that you don’t always get the dog you want; you get the dog you need.
For my part, no dog has ever impacted me quite like Tilly. She was not an easy dog — in temperament or in terms of care. But she was a total embodiment of the phrase “man’s best friend.” She was somehow, despite all of her quirks, the best dog for us.
She loved adventures. We used to take her hiking in Cold Spring, NY when we were living in Brooklyn — in the spring, in the snow, she didn’t care. She was intrepid. I have the most wonderful memories of her leaping over logs and charging up hills on her little basset-legs. For a dog that slept so much, she could really move when she wanted to.
I remember lazy Sundays cuddling with her in our little studio apartment in the city before we moved to our house in Savannah.
I remember how calm she was in the car the whole time we were driving down to her new home.
I remember her charging through the bungalow at top speed from window to window every time someone walked by until my nerves were frayed from all of the howling and stomping.
I remember when we first learned she was sick — really sick.
We lost our sweet Tilly recently, and it has been so hard. Long story short, we discovered she had cancer about a month after her second enucleation. It was a low blow considering all that she’d been through. When we found out, after multiple visits to her normal vet and a specialist, we were devastated. I remember one of her doctor’s saying something so wonderful, though: “For now, she doesn’t know she’s sick. Everyday she wakes up, she’s a dog. She’s happy.” And somehow — despite losing her eyes to glaucoma and facing increasing frailty, she really was happy until the end.
Our house feels so empty now that’s gone. Putting away her Tilly-things pulled every string in our hearts. But she was very, very loved in her life and we will remember her with utmost affection for the rest of our lives.
Goodnight, sweet Tilly. Your family loves you.