Today I am not writing about overcoming medical adversity; but about loss. For I have lost someone very dear to me.
Heidi came to us having been a puppy mill dog that had been bred 10 times in 5 years. Scared and scarred from abuse, she nevertheless learned how to be potty trained,walk on a leash and most of all that she was loved and that people could be loving. While she didn’t quite understand toys and playing with other dogs, she did enjoy her noon time chew stick and cuddling on the couch between Thad and I. She was to be Thad’s dog but because of her history, she was never very comfortable with him or men in general. She became my side-kick and I adored her.
She was with us for 9 years and at 14, we had to make the decision that everyone who loves their dog hates to make – continue to fight off the bladder tumors and the congestive heart failure or allow her to go to greener pastures. In the last week eating had become an effort and going outside required a herculean effort and a long nap after. You could hear and see her labored breathing and her coughing told us she was drowning in fluid. But most of all she was trying to live her life for me.
And while making the decision to let her go is causing such pain right now, I know that true loves means letting your loved one go so they no longer suffer. But it’s hard. And because we lost our other senior citizen dog in October, the scab has just been ripped off and the hole feels even larger.
Oh, how it hurts. But it hurt even more to watch how she was suffering.
I can still hear her dog tags clanging and her tiny paws on the tile and wood floors. I still look to make sure there is water in the water bowl even though I have taken it away. I look for her in her bed by the couch and her bed by my desk even as I know those items have gone on to serve those dogs in need. I long to just rub her satin ears and warm belly.
I miss how she would get in her little bed by my desk and “Doxie-power” my blog. I loved how she followed me where ever I went and even sat in the bathroom while I showered or did my business. OK, that was a bit annoying, mildly creepy and smacks of voyeurism but now it seems cute. I loved how she waited patiently until I finished my bowl of cereal or yogurt or whatever and then gave me the death stare till I let her lick it out.
I miss how she would join us in bed at 5:30 am to crawl under the covers for some “big bed time”. I even miss how one mini dachshund could take up so much space that two of us were hugging the edge of the mattress.
I remember when she chewed on the computer cable lines and we wondered why the printer wasn’t working (It’s amazing she didn’t get electrocuted).
Or how when she was excited and happy she would get on our bed and run around in circles, sometimes narrowly miss falling off the bed. One time she was doing this and ran full throttle into my hand causing her to be stunned for a moment or two (with a “what did you do that for?” look) and sending me to the walk in clinic for a sprain.
How she never quite overcame her fear of Thad -“Shrek” but would only walk around the entire block if he was along as her “bodyguard”
How excited she always was when we came home from being out and how the house felt more like a home because of her.
The silence is deafening.
I could mourn her and wallow in what I have lost. Or I can choose to live with the memories to see them as gifts of time spent together. I choose the memories – the wonderful, funny, wacky, sometimes frustrating and challenging times that would never have happened if she had not been a part of our lives.
I truly believe that one day, when the good Lord says its time, I will join Heidi and all the dogs and cats we have loved and have loved us; welcoming me “home”. For this, to me, would be Heaven.
And it is this thought that gives me comfort: that I will see her again. And she will be well. And so will I.