It isn't out of the blue. She has had a few slides and at one point we thought we were down to a few days with her. She made a turn around, at least partially, and gave us confidence she could make it another year or two. It is so hard to say with dogs because they cannot tell you what ALL is going on. We know she has some pressure on her spine or brain as well as several large lumps that press on her abdomen and throat.
I got her when she was six months old. I drove through a snowstorm to pick her up from the shelter because they said she was ready to come to her forever home. I couldn't bear the thought of her having to wait any more nights to be snuggled and loved.
She is fourteen years old now. She has been my family, my baby for well over a decade. When I actually pause to let myself think about life without her it is heartbreaking.
At the same time I know she is uncomfortable. I know she misses our other dog. Our other dog helped pick her out at the shelter and was with us until two years ago. Those two years have brought her separation anxiety, sadness, and even less attention as a second human baby entered the family nearly sixteen months ago. I can hear it in her breathing; she is tired. I can see it on her face; she is torn between feeling better and loving us too much to give in.
Maybe she will make a little improvement again and give us hope for one more year. Maybe this is truly the beginning of goodbye. Either way I hope I can be strong enough to be there for her in her final months, days, or hours. I hope I can give her the same unconditional love she has always shown me. I hope I can give her the patience she bestows on my girls. I hope I can give her the attention she deserves that was so easy to do before children.
I'm so grateful for this beautiful dog. I'm grateful for all the laughs she gave me over the years. I'm grateful for her intelligence and her gentleness. I'm grateful for her unconditional love. I'm grateful to get to sit next to her and stroke her fur for a while longer. I'm grateful for my husband who stayed with her last night when I needed to tend to the kids. I'm grateful for the love my girls have for sweet Pippin. I'm grateful they got the opportunity to have a dog and love her so much. I'm grateful to know someday, when the kids are a little more self-sufficient, that we will be blessed with another dog and another beautiful journey.
What do you do to help yourself come to terms with loss? What do you do to help prepare yourself and young kids when you know loss is coming? What are some ways you have given or received unconditional love?
May today bless us all with the experience of unconditional love. May we hold our loved ones tightly. Have a beautiful day!