This has been a tough week in my season of healing. I spent part of the beautiful weekend sick with a flu and woke up Monday morning with a fever and throwing up as soon as I got out of bed.
That begat Tuesday, which started innocuously enough.
In fact, it was my sister Emilie’s birthday on Tuesday. Please join me in wishing her and her family – her awesome husband Scott and my nephew Max, and my niece Maddie -- the very best for her next year of life. I hope she gets all that she deserves because she is a wonderful person who loves all that she comes in contact with.
That said, I’m glad I started with joy, because life got awful dark, awful fast.
Yeah. And it wasn’t a great day.
If we have met in real life, you have heard about my dogs. My half-Newfoundlander/ half-lab Diesel and his little sister, a half Great Pyrenees/half Saint Bernard named Bear have given me such joy and unconditional love over the years that dogs have melted my heart and I never want to be without one again.
Diesel turned 10 earlier this year, and that’s a big anniversary for a bigger dog. The bigger the dog, often the shorter the lifespan and this is something I’m kind of used to by now.
Kind of, anyway.
But as it turns out, Diesel, who had been showing signs of aging in the last few months, had been very, very sick.
My wonderful, special boy’s kidneys were failing, and he had no way to tell us. He just slowly started eating less and less over the last few months and having less and less energy.
‘No problem,’ I thought. ‘He’s just getting old.’
He wasn’t just getting old.
The vet informed us during his appointment Tuesday afternoon that my wonderful, loyal boy who had shown me nothing but unconditional love and acceptance no matter my state of mind or my mood and who could be counted on for a cuddle when times were tough was not coming home from the vet.
By 3 p.m. we were gathered in a waiting room in the Sherwood Animal Hospital saying our last goodbyes to one of the most amazing dogs I have ever met.
We rescued Diesel in March 2014, when he was 10 months old. He had already been sent away from two homes by that age due to his natural excitability and his massive tail, which tended to sweep drinks and items off side tables when he got excited, which was pretty much all the time.
That first year was a challenge, but we got to know each other and his relentless, loving nature won me over. Since 2016, he has been the second in command in our pack and he filled his role with aplomb and a lot of tail-wagging. He loved running off the leash in Angell Woods and in the snow -- and he always, always came srpinting when he was called.
He loved to lie on his stomach in mud puddles, and he loved barking at the street so much I thought he should maybe make it a career. He was bouncy, wonderful, stupid, smart and a part of our family.
Now, he’s gone forever.
But the love he gave me lives on and I hope to pay it forward one day at a time. I have a placard in my house that has ‘Dog Wisdom’ written on top, with such tips as ‘Play outside’ and ‘Love unconditionally’ on it. I think of Diesel every time I look at it and even now, I tear up a little because he embodied every one of those traits without even a moment’s hesitation.
As my year without sugar continues, I was careful last night to avoid the pitfalls of emotional eating, but I had absolutely no appetite. None. It wasn't even a little hard to go to sleep and think about that sweet boy and all he brought to my life.
I know now that he isn’t in any more pain and my sincere hope is that as he crossed that rainbow bridge, he is surrounded by lush grassy fields for sniffing, eating grass and chasing squirrels.
God, he hated squirrels. So much.
I miss you, Diesel. I will love you always. Goodbye, my special boy.