Perspective for the Journey of the Human-Canine Team: When Love Isn't Enough
You’ll notice we changed themes on the blog this week, away from rehab and massage to a much more heartbreaking, worst-fear topic. My clients would walk barefoot across the hottest lava if it meant bettering their dogs’ lives. They notice when a solid weave performance turns into missing pole 10, or when a turn in one direction starts becoming wider.
We fear the worst with our beloved. What if I miss an injury, and my dog becomes worse? What if we can’t ever play agility again? It is a display of the most raw and vulnerable love in this world. Because deep down, the fear stems from an insecure, fragile place. It’s not really about running around a dirt ring for a $2 ribbon (for which we pay much more). It’s about the partnership. It’s about the vital connection we share with a being who, in the end, will break our hearts. Our vulnerability becomes exposed with every change we notice, chipping away at our guarded bliss.
We know the end is looming. We know that the day we bring them home. Does that mean we should panic about their impending death each time we notice a change? No. It does mean, though, that you should cut yourself some slack. You will never regret going the extra mile for your dog. So, you spend a little more on maintenance or treats or toys or whatever than your significant other or society deem acceptable. Do it. You sign up for a weekend seminar after spending the last three weekends engulfed in dog activities. Do it. You infiltrate your phone with dog selfies and seemingly insignificant photos of your dog sniffing a blade of grass. Do it. You make the non-dog people around you question your sanity. Do it. We spend so much time agonizing over decisions about what we do with our dogs. Should I enter that trial? Do I have time for that walk? Just do the things. In the end, you won’t regret what you did. You’ll feel a visceral ache for the things you didn’t do. I’m not really even talking sports by the way, I’m talking about the daily life stuff, the enrichment activities, the decompression walks, the nights we decide to stay home on the couch with our dogs instead of going out with friends. I know this to be true because I’m living it now. My sweet Brew, my heart and soul, the motivation for my entire life shift into massage, made his journey to the other side this past week. I slept on the hospital floor with my comatose best friend for two and a half days (and some nights). I didn’t lay there worrying about the times I poorly executed a front cross or didn't get a 'Q'. I stroked his velvet ears. I kissed the brown and black freckles atop his nose. I said I Love You more times than I can count. I felt a longing for last summer when he broke his toe. Yes, that, which at the time, started as a worry, became one of the times for which I’m most nostalgic. For six weeks, I pushed Brew’s happy little self around in a wagon on our walks. My back hurt and I stopped many a person in their tracks as they processed the sight of a girl pushing a dog around in a wagon in public. But my best boy didn’t miss out on an adventure.
And I will take those cherished memories to my grave.
"They" say life is short and they are right. I say love the heck out of your dog and focus on that.
I thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. This post is in honor of Camas Creek's Cowboy Coffee. 7/09/2011-1/10/2019. A cherished life gone much too soon and without any notice. A few more things we want to share with our friends:
1. My sincerest thank you to those who have reached out to help. Our dearest friends set up a Go Fund Me for Brew's unexpected and dramatic vet bills. The GFM also has the details of his passing explained very clearly. For those who would prefer, you may also donate directly to "Brew Powell's" bill at Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle. Their number is 425-697-6106.
2. Please insure your pets, even if there's a preexisting condition or two. With Brew's epilepsy and his already high care expenses, I chose not to spend additional money on insurance in an effort to pinch my pennies (I was a single dog mom with two special needs' dogs). I realized post-broken toe that insurance is still wise. I had just gotten a quote for his insurance before this tragedy, and I am left in a much harder position than if I had him insured. I authorized his emergency care regardless, knowing the financial tragedy this would cause as I would do anything for Brew, but others can learn from my mistake. Check out this previous post for more information on insurance.
3. Choose joy. Brew was happy until the moment he was comatose. He never had a bad moment. That is a life well lived.