Your Paw, My Heart
As your 9th birthday approaches, I don’t want to be sad. I want to celebrate but I’m torn. So for tonight, I will let myself feel what I feel as we prepare to celebrate a birthday I wasn’t sure we would get this year.
I think life’s biggest tragedy is that dog’s have such short lives.
I celebrate but at the same time I have a deep knowing that we don’t have endless time together. I have always known this, of course, but I’d push those thoughts away. I couldn’t change the outcome, so why engage? I’d choke up a little but push it away, not letting those thoughts infringe on the moments we had together.
But everything changed a few months ago when you were hit by a car. No one could believe it – not Tetley! So smart, so intelligent, traffic trained. But you did everything right. The car left the road, impacting your hip and my heart.
Everything went in slow motion as I saw your little body flip through the air, one yelp, and you returned to a sitting position, your eyes connecting with mine, never leaving them as I mobilized, getting you home and then to the vets.
I didn’t collapse until they took you from me.
I just kept asking over and over again “she’ll be ok right?” “she’s not gonna die right?” “you can save her right?”
Life without you had become a very real possibility.
“We have so much living left to do. She’s only 8” I told the staff. They’ve known her since she was 6 months old.
You not only survived, you thrived! Watching you face each day with the biggest smile, rolling around in the snow and showing off for me, makes my day every day. As you prepare to turn 9 next week, I can’t help but smile at how fortunate we are to have the chance to celebrate.
Yet some of that sadness creeps in too. One day I will have to face this life without you in it. I’m not ready for that. I’ll never be ready for that.
I don’t want fear of losing you interfere with our time together, but I will let the awareness of a limited time together keep me grounded and present in each day as we take our adventures together, filled with love, fun and excitement for just being alive.
No matter how many years we get it will never be enough.
You were never just a dog to me. From the minute I held you in my arms at 8 weeks old, I knew you were my soul mate. Your personality was always larger than life, you were “trainable” but you sure as heck weren’t tameable, with a glint in your eye, pushing the boundaries, knowing right from wrong and choosing fun anyway, you taught me far more about being wild than I could ever imagine.
You taught me presence and love for cold winter mornings watching you shove your face into a snow bank and look back with a HUGE grin on your face, then a complete roll around for good measure. How could I hate winter mornings when you loved them so much?
You taught me faith, too. When you were in the hospital recovering I prayed everyday but I also knew that something bigger than us had been watching out for us. 1 inch either way and you wouldn’t be here with us today.
When I was sick, you lay in bed with me for days, kept my secrets when I had no one else to could talk to and dried my tears when your neck was the only place I could cry.
When I needed a hand, your paw was there. The days I couldn’t get out of bed, you made me. The days I wanted to give up, you pushed me outside to walk in nature. I got up for you. I wasn’t always happy about it, but now I see it, and you, were all a part of the master plan.
You were never an easy dog, not like Lexie Lou. She’s an easy dog. She’s cuddly and easy and doesn’t care if we do anything other than eat and cuddle. Don’t get me wrong, I love her with my whole heart and soul too. But you and I have something that words cannot explain. Easy wouldn’t have gotten through to me the way you did. I needed you far more than you’ve ever needed me.
Faced with the possibility of life without cracked my very soul wide open. For the first time in my life I didn’t know if I could survive something. That opening showed me how much I still held parts of me back, parts that didn’t live fully, parts that weren’t touchable, by anything.
But you managed to help me find those parts.
You’re the kind of soul mate that comes into a life for a bigger purpose than we can even know. You taught you me more about myself and life than I could ever teach you. Oh the adventures we’ve been on from seedy motels to swanky hotels, boat rides, cabins, tents, shopping days, hiking, running, training, emergency vet visits (you really like those!), you faking sick to get your own way and the million other experiences we’ve had together, my forever sidekick and badass Wild Woman.
I don’t know how much time we have together. I hope it’s even more years than we’ve had already. I’ll never be ready to face this life without you, even though one day I will have to. Until then, I will take a page out of your book, live life to the fullest never taking a moment for granted.
We really do have a lot of living to do. And you’ve helped me actually be able to live it fully, heart and soul wide open to life, adventure, deep love and experiences.
You’ve never been just a dog. You’ve been a sidekick, a confidante, a best friend, up for anything, a true Wild Soul and today I’m grateful that you got to mine.
Here’s to turning 9 like a fucking rockstar and living each day full out.