This week’s theme has been about relationships. And although we don’t often think of the topic as referring to animals, that is one of the most important relationships we can have. For me, the last 10 years has been very special.
10 years ago after losing my two Siberian Huskies to age and illness, I agreed to serve as a “temporary” home (1-2 weeks) for two other Siberians that were two years old. Well, anyone who is a dog lover can figure out how that went. After a week I was hooked. In fact, it was so eerie because these two seemed to take on the personalities of the two who had departed. Thus, although I had sworn not to do this, Crystal and Jackie entered my life.
I had no other family at that time (my brother didn’t re-enter the picture until 2005 or 2006) so these 2 year olds were my family. And they were just like any other two year olds. Rambunctious, always getting into trouble, but so very loving and lovable. When I had a bad day they would do their best to cheer me up and take care of me. And they did a very fine job of that!
The years pass so quickly when you have established a day to day routine. And our years did. Even when I retired and moved from Virginia to Texas and bought my current vehicle because it was “the one” that they would be able to travel the 1700 miles in, they were prominent in my thoughts. I would try to ease their anxiety when the house had so many people in it for my two garage sales and my friends helping to remove things so I could “downsize” for my move. Then there was the night the house was completely empty and we slept on the floor in sleeping bags. They were right there by my side.
They made it across the states better than I did although I was the one most excited. But they benefited when I got lost in a gigantic national park - we stopped and they got to investigate and were quite happy with all the smells.
Things weren’t so great when I first got here though. The fence that I had had put up allowed the neighboring dogs to growl through and I thought I was going to have to move. But I was able to have the fence fixed (most expensive fence in San Antonio I think).
Anyway, we got settled and the years went by. And as usual I took everything for granted even their love. They were the center of my attention but I am not sure that I showed them that enough.
Crystal was a trouble maker but she was always so proud of her trouble making - the birds she brought in and the possum she killed in the house. She just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t as ecstatic as she was. She chewed up my books, got things off the tables and counter and on and on. She was a 2 year old in an 11 year old body.
Then one day she started coughing. A week later she passed over the “rainbow bridge”. What a tumultuous week that was.
I found that she was such a well behaved dog. I didn’t have to “doggy-proof” the house every time I left. I could leave doors open to the rooms, I didn’t have to worry that she’d eat my books - nothing. She was perfect. And I hadn’t known it all these years. I had not been able to see her for the two of them. So, I feel I hadn’t treated her the right way and I know I had not had the benefits of the fantastic relationship we’ve had this past year.
She’s been sick for the past 2 months and we’ve been trying to get a handle on it. But, Tuesday, my vet said she might have to be euthanized because she had stopped eating. I was simply crushed. Although I have seen her in such pain over the past two months, there have been great times too.
My emotions were mixed - did I want her to suffer any more? Could I stand to see her suffer any more? But then there was the selfish part of me that simply said “What am I going to do without her?” and that was when reality set in. I really have no family that’s close (my brother just came back into my life and there’s no one else). My neighbors and coworkers are very close but they have their own lives. Every single day for 10 years it’s been me and the girls or me and Jackie.
Wednesday fortunately, the specialist vet said he wasn’t ready to give up on her yet and wanted to try some other treatments. I was ecstatic. Especially since I got her to eat salmon and some boiled potatoes finally. We’re not out of the woods yet but I feel a whole lot better.
And I can tell you one thing. She is going to know that I love her every minute that I’m around her.
So what’s the point to all this? Take stock of your relationships. Are you neglecting to express your thoughts and feelings in any one of them “just because”? Don’t wait until it’s too late and then try to make up lost ground like I’m trying to do with Jackie.
Do it today. Take stock and ACT!