I have a sick pup. Jolene had been lethargic for a couple of days, but yesterday when she refused breakfast, I took her to the vet. I was worried because she was not her usual enthusiastic self that jumps with joy as I carry a cup of kibble to her bowl. Sick pups are especially tough because they cannot tell you what hurts. The vet found that she was running a temperature and the blood work indicated an infection somewhere.
All morning I have felt like crying even though I could tell Jolene was feeling better. I could not name the emotion, but I did what my yoga and spiritual practices have taught me, I allowed the feeling. I did not create a story or try to figure it out, I just noticed the feeling and allowed it rather than trying to push it away or mask it. As I was pouring my tea, the answer came, I was feeling fear and grief.
In the last five years I have had four dogs leave this world:
Sweet Atty had cancer. She deteriorated quickly in her last month. The vet feared that the tumor on her spleen was about to rupture, so I peacefully let her go. For 12 years she was my sweet and steady companion.
Within a month of losing Atty, I had a Plott Hound rescue for 46 hours. Durning our first night together I recognized that he should not have been placed anywhere. The rescue group would not listen to my concerns and kept offering basic training tips. I was begging them to come get him, but they were putting me off and avoiding the issue. The dog flipped out and viscously attacked my neighbor. I wrestled him into my house and his cage. After sending photos of the damage he inflicted on my neighbor and threatening to call animal control, someone came to get him. He was held for two days before he was put down. I got more of his story after he was gone. The rescue group knew he was vicious and out of control. He had bitten before. While it was an awful bite, my neighbor did not have serious, lasting injuries. It is a miracle that he did not damage a tendon.
Riva Ridge died at three and a half when a tumor ruptured. I had no idea she had cancer or was in pain. She was a sensitive, crazy, wild child that only a mother could love. She was my second Border Collie/Heeler mix with cancer.
Stella the beagle was a true character that had a large fan club. I found her as a puppy. She had been left or dumped in the woods. I paid the bills and fed her, but she was Atty’s dog. Stella knew all of the neighbors in our condo complex and would patiently sit at the patio door of select homes until her demand for a treat was met. At the farm she spent hours working our fields to flush rabbits. Her bay was a joyous sound. Her 14-year-old body was failing, she was in pain, so I put her down last October. I like to think she is with our Atty.
I see my loss and some trauma in a short amount of time. I fear losing another fur baby. I fear cancer in my two-year-old Heeler. I fear she could be my fifth loss in as many years. I still grieve Atty and Stella. I remember the trauma of the rescue dog. I wonder what I could have done differently with Riva. Yeah, I think I’ll just cry and allow myself to grieve.