there are reminders of her. This place is entirely steeped in her beautiful, joyful presence. In each room, places to rest or to play. Her toys are here and there, her beloved bed, and her stroller is parked by the front door. The stillness of that alone is terrible; I will spare you more than to imagine it empty.
Here, on a much better day …
Happy used her stroller often in the past year – and daily in the last month – because she was getting on in years. And there was heart trouble, kidney disease, an ulcer. Still, she was a dog who lived to ramble, to amble, to run and run. And to ride! Oh yes.
I know, I take too many pictures with the silly phone; only 1.3 megapixels and the exposure usually sucks. Here are a bunch of better ones.
I guess those who read this blog but don’t follow the blogroll link to Happy’s Trials may not know what’s been going on. That’s our dog’s blog, where she posted her final entry Wednesday 7/8, just hours before her gentle veterinarian came to send her ahead to the Rainbow Bridge.
Happy was diagnosed with “renal insufficiency,” meaning early kidney failure, in April. She got a few fluid treatments and seemed to do better until late May. Then we thought she had a stroke, because she was staggering and stumbling. That turned out to be a thyroid imbalance and she rallied again, until an ulcer was diagnosed in early June. Then followed a course of acupuncture, herbs, etc., with a holistic veterinarian.
Throughout June, Happy had ups and downs, challenges with energy and appetite, longer naps … but there were good days, you know? Here’s a little video of Happy running through the yard and around the deck, on June 20.
We thought she was doing pretty well until this last week, around the 4th of July. The ulcer seemed to have healed, her heart was beating strong. But she got more tired, lethargic, weak. So on Tuesday she went for lab work and x-rays. I prayed that it was just a little something with her heart, because in the past we’ve been able to adjust heart meds and make her feel good. But the news was very bad. Complete kidney failure. Nothing could be done. The vet said, “you wouldn’t be wrong to let her go,” and “she’s suffering.”
Well, when you hear that, you have to do what you have to do, right? I mean the difficult and devastating thing, the brave and loving, almost impossible thing.
Now it’s Friday and she’s been gone for two days, and the house has come unstuck from earth. It seems to rise and fall, adrift on a sea of her absence. The silence, without her barking at birds or for cookies, is infinite.
This is not a tribute for my friend; I’ll post one to my Web site when the time is ripe. Because with this sorrow there is a life so much to celebrate, and gratitude for a wonderful, enduring gift. Just thought you’d want to know the strange weather, now the wind has turned.
If you have a fuzzy little friend, remember: time flees.
Lord, at the ending of my life
the sun which You have made
will shine. The road will rise to
meet me, and so Thy Kingdom
come. Please send this dog to
lead me, Lord, who stood
beside me long on windy
bluffs to guard against despair.
She loved to walk and in her years
she learned to let the binding
leash hang loose. And since she
always barked for love, would in
Thy songful Heaven sing so well.
© 2000, 2005 by Kyle Kimberlin