Thursday, February 13, 2014

Life and death

"This here's the hard part." - John Coffey, The Green Mile

I've started another post with stories from the last few weeks since I last posted.  Tales from the cruise ship, the islands, and the long journey back to Texas.  Meanwhile, I'm sitting in my mom's living room, with the song I mentioned before playing in my head "Say Something" (see previous post).  So, today's story is the story of my sweet dog, Zoey.  In 2007, I had to put my German bred German Shepherd to sleep.  I did not have plans to get another dog.  A friend asked me to come with her when she went to look at cats in the pound, and the rest, as they say, is history.  My friend decided to look at dogs while we were there, and at the back of one of the cages, was a sweet yellow and black lab/husky cross named Zoey.  She had been there 3 months, and had been almost put to sleep several times, but the workers there kept advocating for her, and she was just waiting for me.  Since then, we have moved several times, traveled across the country multiple times, and finally found our place on a beautiful farm outside of Charlottesville, where we occasionally took long hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains in preparation for our hike on the Appalachian Trail this summer/fall..  Dec. 2011, at her checkup, she tested positive for Lyme's and Ehrlichia, but the vet and I discussed the fact that she was not having, nor had she had, any symptoms, so there was really no reason to treat.  Fast forward one year, as I was preparing to leave for my sabbatical.  After discussing with my friend/landlord, it was decided that she would stay on the farm where she would be happy and was most comfortable.  She stopped eating, but that was something she does whenever I was preparing to leave to somewhere, and it had started around the same time as I was packing things up.  She was not having any other symptoms, and would eat when given special treats, and occasionally still her regular food.  She was drinking regularly, and otherwise, running around and playing as usual.  She had a checkup in Dec, and other than being down a little on her weight, the vet said she looked great, and we both agreed that it was likely due to stress from changes.  And so, I left her in the best hands possible, and am so glad that she spent her last days in a place that she loved and was well loved.  For you see, right after I left, she went downhill fast.  Stopped eating altogether, became very lethargic, was not her usual self at all.  They began treatment for Ehrlichia, but her kidneys were already failing, and even with all the love, prayers, and support the people she was with could give her, she lost the fight last Friday morning.  I always miss her when I'm traveling, and it's hard to believe that she won't be there when I get back.  I'm kind of glad that I'm at a point where I'm stopping for a bit to visit with family, to regroup, to rest, and to grieve.  Give me a few days, I'll be back with the other stories, but for now......

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