Me, My Dog & I

Crystal & Jackie   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 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.

 When she left us, Jackie and I both were emotionally distraught. But we drew together. We walked Jackietogether, cried together and found a completely new relationship with one another.

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!


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6 thoughts on “Me, My Dog & I

  1. Oh Terrie, I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. You are so right. I hear the love you have for your girls every time you talk about them. I’m so sorry that you and Jackie are going through this right now and my thoughts and prayers are with you both. You are amazing to be sharing this with us, so that we can learn to appreciate those in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xx

  2. Thank you Heather. That means alot. Especially sinc this a.m. she won't eat again. So, the slight encouragement I had last night when I wrote this post is diminished a bit.

    Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


  3. What a wonderful story. You are so right about our relationships and how we can easily take them for granted. Let the ones close to you know how much they mean to you and that relationship will grow closer and stronger. Don't wait, tell them today!!!

  4. Thanks David,
    you are so right. we take way too many things for granted.I think our shyness and fear of rejection carries over even into close relationships but especially in relationships that aren't intimate and as such we don't really express what we feel. It's hard to change but it's much better to do that before you "have" to.


  5. So sorry to hear of your anguish and loss, and, like Heather, my eyes welled with tears. It was a siamese cat in our case that had been part of the family for over 11 years. He was such a character and very attached to us. It was only when he had to be put down that we really knew what an important part of the family this little soul had been. Not only that, but I've been aware of his spirit more than once since his passing. My husband and I were looking at a house to rent while living and working in Scotland, and I knew we'd found the right place, although a bit pricey, when I came across a siamese cat notepad in the kitchen draw – the only thing left in any of the draws and cupboards! I also felt his forgiving presence when I was feeling guilty when recalling my anger with him for walking in on my newly shampooed carpet.
    I feel for your loss and your current anxiety, and take heed from the lessons they give us. While I get glimpses of being fully awake and fully alive, and therefore appreciative of my loved ones, and everything around me,….. I wonder if we are truly able to feel this on a continuous basis, given our 'humanness' and the 'surface' demands of life …?
    My thoughts are with you

  6. Thanks so much Trish! Your insights are great and yes you will be able to feel love on a continuous basis. It's important that we keep our antennae tuned for our attitudes.