March 28, 2012


Carry: definition of:
  to move while supporting 
  to convey by direct communication 
  to influence by mental or emotional appeal
  to transfer from one place to another

The first time I met Marley was in the back of ACO Armsworthy's official vehicle. She was bringing her to Angels of Assisi for medical care, the hope of getting better, and the chance of living out her remaining time comfortable and cared for.

I helped carry Marley from the truck to the clinic that morning, then carried her to my car for the ride home.

Over the next few weeks, Marley often needed extra help and was carried up and down steps to go outside, to the car for Vet appointments, and to the back deck to catch some afternoon rays. Each time I had her in my arms, I knew that one day I would be carrying her for the last time. However, as she held her head high and scrambled to find her footing, we were both grateful that today was not that day.

When she made these jaunts on her own four legs, I was always ridiculously proud of her, and, judging by her tail wag and perky ears, she knew it and was proud of herself as well.

Last Saturday, Marley stopped eating. She had to be carried all the way outside, not just up the steps. Early Sunday morning she still had no desire to eat, and was even weaker. I called Emergency Vet Services and told them we were on our way. As I picked up Marley to carry her to the car, she rested her head on my shoulder. This was new, and I got her message loud and clear. She was tired, it was time, and, as always, she trusted me.

I carried her to the back of my car, and headed towards Roanoke. This sounds really crazy, but halfway there I pulled off the highway and carried her from the back seat to the front, because I did not want her to be alone on her last car ride. For the remaining trip Marley kept her eyes on me, and together we enjoyed the quiet with my hand on her head.

When we finally arrived at EVS, I carried her into the clinic and rested her on the exam table. We discussed the options, and decided an x-ray would put my mind at ease. Someone besides me
carried Marley to the back for the diagnostic test and IV insertion.

It was determined she was full of cancer, and it was time to let her go.

As they prepared syringes and blankets, I kept wondering where her family of 12 years was, and if, given the choice, would they want to be with her right now? It kept crossing my mind that, ironically, I was not the last person to carry her like I always thought I would be.

As Marley lay on the table, and before the IV sedation was administered, her eyes locked into mine. Tears flowed and the EVS staff took their time and remained wonderful.

As she got sleepy and her breathing stopped, Marley carried herself from this world and into my heart. And I was never so ridiculously proud of her as she did it with grace and dignity.

Rest in peace, sweet girl. You will be always be carried in our hearts, and you will always be an integral part of carrying out the mission. 

A special thank you to ACO Armsworthy, Dr. Spangler, Dr. Phillips, Trish, Deb, the wonderful EVS staff, and especially to those who understand the unspoken, and remain steadfast and true.


  1. Oh Lisa, I am so sorry. What a wonderful tribute you wrote to her though, I can feel her lovely spirit in your words. She was very blessed to be in your arms. love you.

  2. I have 4 seniors and as they grow older I dread the day that each one will take that last step or I help them one last time. These characters have been my trustworthy and steadfast family, two have been with me 16 years. It is true what they say that they love you more than they love themselves. They prove that every single day. RIP Marley!

  3. You did a great service to Marley. Giving her continuing medical care, comfort, a second chance at life. But most importantly--showing her love and compassion for an old worn out soul. I'm sure she knew you cared deeply for her and was appreciative of your kindness. I applaud your good work.

    (I would also like to add that the kind staff at Roanoke Animal Hospital provided medical care after I picked Marley up from EVS)

    Thanks so much for all that you do!

    R Armsworthy

  4. My heart aches with you. God bless you for making Marley's end of life loving.

  5. Bless her heart...may she rest in peace !

  6. Thank you for loving Marley so much to let her go! She is no longer in pain and got to go with Grace and Dignity! Isn't that what we all wish we all could go with? Thank you! You truly are Angels on Earth. She truly was blessed to have fallen in your hands on Earth. Thank you!