Monday, 12 August 2013

The long goodbye.

I started this blog with a goal in mind. I was going to show the joys of adopting older dogs. Maybe encourage or convince other people to adopt elderly dogs. I was going to make one post, no matter how small, every day. Then, I figured maybe I'd make a post once a week. This got reduced to the idea that perhaps I'd just post photos once in a while. Life, work, dogs, chickens, kids, hockey, gardens and now pigs kind of got in the way. Blogging is much like exercise - you have to MAKE the time.
But I didn't and now here I am a little over a year later writing this my letter of goodbye to my beautiful girl.

When exactly did you stop meeting me at the gate outside? I can't remember the exact day. One day you were there jumping up and down on your front legs, joyful to see me. The next day you got up from your bed when I came in the door; shoving your head between my knees; looking for an ear rub worthy of a happy moan. Of all 3 dogs, you were the eldest yet the one with the most energy, life and joy. 

Two weeks ago, you had a seizure. It was incredibly terrifying for both of us. Your vision dimmed a little afterwards but otherwise you seemed fine. The vet prescribed a wait and see treatment. For the first few days every time you moved, I went a little crazy. 

But you were otherwise fine. You were happy. You were eating less and sleeping more but you were happy, always making sure you had an eye on me and I had an eye on you, wherever we were.

As I watched you today, I realized you had slowed down even more than usual. You're tired my sweet girl and I can feel you slipping from me. It makes me sad. It makes me teary. I don't want to make you stay longer than you should, but I don't want you to go. I knew when you came to us, you wouldn't be with us for many years. We knew we'd be lucky to get 2 years, possibly 3. Here we are, a year and a bit later and you're leaving us. Our time together has been a gift, despite the fact that it's been so short. 

I'm stealing as much time with you as I can, knowing it's the last little bit of time I have left. I get up from my desk and touch you as often as I can; burying my fingers into that soft, furry loose, coonhound skin around your neck. Sometimes I lie on your bed beside you and inhale the smell that is Nikko. You sniff at me, confused about why I'm lying on the floor with you but not really caring too much because it means ear rubs to your heart's content.

You've decided you're no longer interested in dog food. I've decided you can have as many dried liver treats as you want. Who needs a dog food dinner when you can have whole, raw milk - cream included, mixed with dried liver bits or cooked liver mush? I don't care if you never eat "dog food" again. I'll keep cooking up liver and running it through the food processor into a nice gravy forever if that's what keeps you here.

My girl, how do I explain how much I've grown to love you. How do I explain how you've filled this hole in our lives we didn't even know was there. I hope that we've given you joy in this final time of your life. I hope that all of our adventures through the bush, all of the smells, the deer, rabbits and the swamp you so love to wade through has brought joy to a life that was once so solitary and lonely. 

Your boy will miss you. He'll miss making you moan with his superior ear rubs. He'll miss throwing sticks for you in the swamp. He'll miss sneaking you liver treats when he thought no one was looking.

My girl, I only have one final request for you. Please wait for me. Please don't leave us on your own. You spent so much of your life alone in that garage, let me be there for you when you leave this world. You deserve to go in someone's loving arms. I would be honored to be the one to hold your head, rub your neck and ears, ease your passing any way I can.

Nikko watching me while I make dinner tonight, waiting for anything to drop on the floor

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