I left off trying to comfort my ailing dog. I hung on with her a bit longer. But we took our last walk together on August 20th. She was trying to hold on, but that morning I knew it was time to make my most difficult decision. On the car ride to the vet. the Ed Sheeran “Photograph” song played. I again believe Lucky chose to communicate through the synchronicity of the radio:
Loving can heal Loving can mend your soul And it’s the only thing that I know I swear it will get easier Remember that with every piece of ya And it’s the only thing we take with us when we die
We keep this love in this photograph We made these memories for ourselves Where our eyes are never closing Our hearts were never broken Times forever frozen still
So you can keep me Inside the pocket Of your ripped jeans Holdin’ me closer ‘Til our eyes meet You won’t ever be alone….
She was absolutely the best and it really hurts to have lost her, but a part of her will always remain with our family. When we returned from the veterinarian’s there was a feather laying in the spot outside the garage door where Lucky always waited for me. She earned her “wings” and I know she is always and forever with me….
This week I am camping in Minnesota with my daughter, helping her move into a new apartment and spending some quality mom/adult daughter time. I wish I had my Lucky with me again. She loved camping, hiking and generally being wherever the family was. This is her on a family camping trip in her “prime” in August of 2009. I think this is a perfect photograph to keep in the pocket of my ripped jeans. Thank you Lucky for the kind of love that heals the soul. “It’s the only thing we take with us when we die.”
Ooh, Summer. With all your distractions. Some Good. Some Challenging. Where have I been? In avoidance? Or, in A Void Dance? Probably a little of both. (more on that later).
But today I am in the midst of one of life’s little challenges. Dealing with the illness of an aging pet. Our Dog showed up in early 2002 as a young pup. She was found by a neighborhood friend just running along the side of a Chicago city street. No collar, skinny, sun-faded fur. She was about 2 months old. That put her birthdate at about 1-1-2002. She was adorable, but what would she turn into? We had no idea of her breed or origins. Could she be a menacing, agitated fighting dog in a few months? She sure seemed sweet.
You see, the summer and autumn of 2001 were particularly challenging for our family. We lost our first dog, Molly to illness at 11 years that July. I learned much from my relationship with Molly. She was supposed to be our “practice child” to see if my husband and I were ready for parenthood. But, I mostly learned from her that you can struggle with the personalily of someone in your life and still really love and miss them when they are gone. This was an important lesson for me at that time. She was a “high-strung” border collie/belgian sheepdog mix who liked to bark (a lot) and as we got her a few years before having our children, she always seemed a bit jealous when they came along. Not really the “family pet”. Then a few weeks after we said a sad good-bye to our Molly my husband’s grandmother passed away. And in August the death of my father-in-law was a huge blow to our family. Followed of course, by the event of September 11th of that year that rocked the reality of the entire nation. Yes 2001 was a tough year for many (most) of us.
So then that following spring, some brightness and joy bounced into our life. Was I ready for another puppy? My kids ages 7 & 9 at the time were ready. They named her Lucky aftera story they had read about a stray dog, but we were truly the lucky ones. She has been the ideal dog (well if you don’t mind a lot of shedding fur). She is calm, patient, great with the kids and topped out at 40 pounds, just like we like! She has been lucky several times over the years too. Once, when she was young she bounded out of our back gate as my son left it open just a moment too long. She ran into the street and bounced off the bumper of a passing car. She was stunned, but nothing more. And she never did that again! And 2 1/2 years ago at the end of 2013 we noticed a change in her behavior. She quit jumping up on the bed, and seemed a bit off. This again came at a very difficult time for us, just 2 weeks after we lost my mother-in-law to cancer. A trip to the vet and an x-ray revealed a tumor on her spleen. We were willing to do whatever we could for our Lucky. We had the tumor removed, all 5+ pounds of it! (a stitch in time saved!!!) And she recovered to be as active as she had always been.
I realized today that at 14 1/2 years, sleeping next to my side of the bed, and under my feet everyday, I have spent more of my “life minutes” with her, than with any other being. Probably more than with my husband of almost 29 years. And now the last couple of weeks she has been struggling to walk up and down our stairs. She is just not “herself”. We went to the Vet a few days ago and they gave her an anti-infammatory that seemed to improve her movement, but she has been “up and down” every day this week. I can’t tell which direction this is going. And at her age, I’m not sure what to do. So, I’ve been bringing her into my work studio the last couple of days with me. I want to spend as much time as possible with this sweet baby, and I want to watch how she is feeling. This morning she was in the backseat, trying to lay down for the ride. As I turned on the radio this song came on the radio. I believe she was singing it to me.