16 March 2018
I don’t consider myself a religious person; I’m agnostic. However, I do believe a higher power exists. I spent most of last year asking how much more are you going to throw at me? Knowing the answer would be I’m giving you all that I know you can handle. And, yet, here I am again asking the question again.
I love my dog to pieces. He’s been the best thing getting through life’s upset last year, and I was so thankful to have him; still am. He really has been my little rock. But now, it’s my turn to be there for him. I think the universe is telling me that I will go through the next transition of my life, sometime in July when I have to move again, without him, and my heart is breaking into tiny little pieces.
Our pets are part of our families. They are our family. For some of us who have never had children (not something I wanted anyways), our little furballs offer the best love there is-unconditional, and it’s a priceless gift. I can walk in the door at any minute and no matter what kind of a day I’ve had, Duke is there wagging his tail, so happy to see me, and I him. Everything melts away as I lean down to pet his forehead and give him a big hug.
He’s been my one constant through everything over the past year. Even when my phone no longer rang, texts no longer came through and Google Hangouts didn’t beep at me─as if the world went completely silent…which kind of did─I had Duke to talk to, to pet, to hug, to walk with (and we did a ton of walking!); and he was always by the couch side as I read three or more books on Mondays and Tuesdays for class (more over the weekends); did my writing from the couch and on the patio. He wasn’t comfortable being near me at all in the entertainment room, where my desk was, so I compromised. It’s always been a comfort knowing he’s always there for me.
And now it’s my turn to be there for him. He was sick in January and February. Over the past six days, I had to take him to a specialist, and he had a CT scan on Wednesday. Although the vet suspected the worst, he didn’t want to confirm anything until the radiologists had time to look at his scans. His brain and heart are fine, but my heart is breaking. The call came in today and cancer is confirmed. He doesn’t display some of the normal signs, so I’m hoping we’ve caught it early, but goddamn it, he’s supposed to be with me a little bit longer.
I’m doing all I can to give him the best. The next step is a biopsy to know how bad it is and what the next step will be. Still, my heart is breaking knowing the clock is ticking and I have a new reality approaching. A Woman and Her Dog. What a story, but not one I can write at this time, and I do have stories. I can’t mention how many times he’s rescued me from the patio at 4:00 a.m. He makes the house seem less quiet. I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but we both noticed the absence of white noise after the ex left. We created our own white noise. We both like music to keep us company, and he continues to find ways to be near me. He has quite the personality, and I can’t help but laugh at times.
And, of course I spoil him! How can I not!?! He’s adorable, lovable, and simply the best companion and friend a woman can ask for. He gets his own cut of filet mignon every so often; not all at once, but in small pieces to complement his food bowl. He gets some great treats; pulled and grilled chicken breast that I process separately from my food; purified water (in gallon jugs) because I lost Sadie to cancer, and I thought the local water was partially to blame. He’s never climbed on furniture, gnawed on my shoes, gone to the bathroom anywhere but outside (unless the medicine was the catalyst and he couldn’t help it); he doesn’t bark but only when he wants to be heard or wants to “tell” me he does not approve of something I’m doing or trying (like getting him to go through a dog door or walking up a new ramp to get into the car); he listens to me -I love the way he cocks his head (always) to the left as if trying to understand new words, yet occasionally tries to test me; I can walk him off the leash and he won’t go very far. He thinks skunks are menaces like cats, yet chooses to wrestle with a skunk (in the middle of the night, I might add) and has been ignoring cats as of late…probably because he thinks a cat is a skunk. HAHA
As a rescue dog, he’s a really good dog. Everyone loves him, and he’s quite the social butterfly. Yet, I recognize moments where I know he’s observing, watching to make sure nothing happens to me. I know in a moment’s notice the little love bug would attack anyone who attempted to bring harm to me.
Once he’s gone, I can’t help but think how quiet and lonely it’s going to be around the house and at nights in the room. I don’t see myself as a lonely person, but you can never be lonely when you have a pet as great as Duke. I’ll have to create a new white noise. I’ll have to keep even busier than I have been.
This also means I’ll be throwing myself deep into writing and back in the gym working out to process. I’ve been trying to process since Wednesday. I’m aware “The voice” is talking, and I’m listening.
I’m willing to spend a little more money to see what’s next. This also means that it’s also time to get my freelance writing going, to get those queries out for my short stories that are polished and ready to go. The time for all things writing is now. My business is officially established; I only need to get the new website up. My to-do list seems lengthy. I believe it’s good that I have something else I can focus on while I’m there for my dog.
The big question I’ve been asked…will I get a new dog. No. I didn’t have plans to replace him. I want to travel, have a little bit of freedom without having to worry about a pet sitter or boarding him. There will be more living options, and I won’t necessarily have to look for a place to accommodate a pet…these thoughts sadden me.
But this is all in the future and I am not making any plans right now but to be with him, give him all sorts of love and hugs; try to take him on some walks where I know he can handle them; let the students give him even more love, and spend as much time as I can with him. No, spend even more time with him as long as I can. Sadie told me when it was her time; I know Duke will do the same.
It’s funny how pets can change our world, and how our interdependency is not complicated. In fact, it’s cozy. I grew up with dogs. Never thought I would own one because my allergies are so bad. I also know I’m not alone in this next journey; my heart isn’t the only one breaking; friends and family are also feeling this ripple effect. I’m in this alone when it comes down to the final hour, but the critical component is knowing I will reach out to friends who understand and will share my tears.
The writing has already begun to spill. I had to distance myself from him to write this, so I’m back in a Hemingway-style mentality to get this out before I go home. Aside from writing, and the business of writing, I will attempt to create a salad garden in containers. I already know how this one is going to go…not well, and it will be well documented. LOL I have more boxes to unpack and repack; boxes to toss out and relabel; a dresser to attempt to build, and a few other things. It’s going to be a busy weekend for Duke and I. There are more walks to be had. We’ll do a coffee run at some point over the weekend when I need to return a few things to the hardware store. Over the last six months, we’ve been taking more car rides together. He’s been to the dog park in Abq twice in the last six days! I think the last time he was there was in 2008??
Yep, lots to do, and I’m going to make sure I’m there for him as much as I can be for as long as it takes. Because in the end, he’s my family, my “perpetual 2 year old,” he’s all I have, and I am blessed he’s been in my life this long. I’m not going to stop spoiling him. He knows, as a dog being rescued nearly 11 years ago, that he’s in a good home and even he is grateful. He knows where he’s been, and happier where he’s at now.
It’s hard to resist the grin of a happy dog. It’s hard to not smile when the tail is wagging and there isn’t anyone else in the world as happy to see you as a dog. There’s a reason dogs are called man’s best friend. We’ve got each other right now and that simply makes everything right in this complicated world. There is a dog story buried deep in me…