Yesterday was my birthday. I normally like to delve full blown into a day of self indulgence, presents, and self-honoring activities with people i love. Unfortunately this year's birthday coincided with the illness of my husband's husky Tela.
"Chocolate milk face"
Tela was rather old - but only 10. A pure bred husky from a not so reputable doggy farm somewhere in Texas (huskies in TX seems just wrong to me) and apparently her sweet little insides just weren't made for longevity. A few weeks ago Tela got sick. Wamo. Just like that. No more chasing ball. No more trying to eat chickens. After a few visits to the vet and some antibiotics her health improved somewhat. Then we took a walk = her very favorite thing to do EVER. She was an untrained ridiculous beast when i met her 3 or so years ago, but with those years of training with me she turned into the very best little walking partner a person could ask for, complete with sit and wait at the traffic signal skills. Anyhoo, after that walk, she stopped eating, drinking, or wagging her tail.
Very tired camping girl after an exciting visit to Possum Kingdom State Park.
For two days i watched her sit at the back of her house looking out forlornly. The kind of expression that says "i love you, i hate this, i love you, i'm hurting." My doggy of 14 years passed away after apparent weeks of suffering after several strokes. I did not want that to happen to Tela. But what's a human to do when your doggy is suffering and you don't know why?
The afternoon of my birthday, March 3rd, my husband and i brought Tela back to the vet to get a last opinion. She could barely walk to my car. She could get in, with help, but could not get out. We carried her out of the car and she paddled slowly to the vet's office. In the waiting room, she laid on the cool floor while we petted and loved on her. In the smaller patient room, the doctor massaged her, listened to her erratic heart, and puzzled over what could be wrong with her. Andy gave her a drink of water from his own cup and she kissed him on the face one last time. We watched as the doctors lead her, slowly, to the back room for an ultrasound. I didn't want her poked and prodded any longer, and apparently neither did she.
On her walk to the table she simply collapsed and rested. Sweet Tela died almost exactly at noon - the very same time i was born 28 years ago. An unfortunate coincidence - perhaps the ole girl was getting back at me for yelling at her attempts to eat the chickens or dig the compost. Or perhaps she wanted me to know she loved me too. She was a daddy's girl, Andy was her whole world.
My husband lost his first woman yesterday. I lost a great friend and walking buddy. I had no idea how much her loss would affect me, but my swollen eyes are proof i loved her too. A yard without a dog is a difficult thing to face. Why are we humans so connected to our beasts? We've been trying to convince ourselves to be happy for her - she's no longer suffering, she was tired and ready to go. We should be happy for her, and we are. But we're sad for us. We miss our friend.
My brain just can't stick on the realization of it. I'm stuck in dream space. The facts and the memory of her sweet, lifeless body are just too discordant for my mind to fully wrap around. Too sudden. Too awful. Death is part of life - and it is a relief for those who've passed. It's just so darned difficult for those of us left alive.
Sweet girl: now you can finally run in a straight line, with no leash, for as long as you'd like.
Go chase as many chickens as you want to - i promise i won't yell at you for it.