Tag Archives: love

My Best Friend: 2 Days and 22 Hours

It is almost one month since I put Claddagh down.

That phrase is so gross to me; “Put them down.”

My dog was already a submissive… she was “put down” in many ways in her early life.  I am still disgusted at it all.

But, you know what?  I will only talk about it here.  I bombarded FB for the first two weeks with my pain… and now in modern decorum I will pretend it doesn’t rip me apart on the inside.  Oh, geez, am I following the steps of my forefathers, who chose to sweep inconvenient truths under the proverbial rug?

People don’t know how to mourn, these days.  Our fast paced society urges us to “get over it and move on” as quickly as possible.  We treat ourselves like processed food with defined expiration dates that serve as suggestions.  You might be cool eating an out of date yogurt at your own house, but if a host of some other house offers the same thing, you cringe.

“Keep it in house.”

See, I don’t feel like I am allowed to mourn my dog companion for more than a couple of weeks.  It isn’t allowed to break me, because their life expectancy is so much shorter than ours, and I should have known better.

I don’t feel like I can allow Claddagh to be the portal in which my previous pain, loss and suffering is filtered through.  I just don’t feel like I have permission to fully feel, even though people say “take your time” and “feel it fully.”

I don’t feel permission because I am always trying to integrate and get along, and no one likes a Debby Downer, or a Miserable Mandie.  I don’t feel permission because the extent of the pain is mine, alone to bare.

After day three, I told myself, “You HAVE to stop crying.  You HAVE to buck up.  No one cares as much as you do about it, and no one wants to hear about it.”

If you make it a mantra, I guess it makes it easier to adhere to, just through repetition.

If left to my own devices, I look out the door and say “All I really want is my dog.”  And I imagine what that looks like, only to further upset the state of my heart.

Honestly, I don’t care if I upset you if I end up crying in reminiscence of my dog; but because I am empathetic, and I know you don’t want to hear it, I will self censor.  I am not looking for your pity or sympathy…. I know you don’t know exactly what to say and it may be uncomfortable for you, that every topic you excavate leads back to me and my dog.

I am sure it is annoying, or at least uncomfortable.

I’m sorry, but I’m not.

I suppose if you don’t know what to do in the awkwardness, just smile.  Know that I experienced a facet of love in life that I would have otherwise avoided, and that in and of itself, is bound to make me a better person in the long run.

I know she wasn’t as interesting to you, as she was meaningful and profound to me, and that is okay… but try not to sweep her memory away in your urgency to bring me back to whatever you feel is your self perceived center.  I will take my time, and I require no rush on your end, for it will not bring any benefit.

She was “my girl”, ya know?  I don’t even know if I am allowed to use the same distinct whistle if I find a new dog friend… I feel bad for chiding my cats with her same belly rub rhyme.   Things are flowing into each other with my other animal friends,  where it once was distinct and individual.

And I liked that, ya know?  When her whistle was our whistle and not like any of the other whistles that were common for the other animals we mutually knew.

I kinda wish I got a Chilton manual on how to deal with this,or a “When your Dog Dies for Dummies” book,  even though I know, internally all I need to know.

Life cycles are beautiful, until you see the shame in loss.  My dog should have lived forever… I mean, that is how I feel. I never thought about getting another one, even though at times I thought about re-homing her due to my own personality flaws.

I’m looking at rescue dogs, trying to find a face I recognize.  Not Claddaghs’ face, per say… just a face that feels familiar in the rustic part of my being that is perfectly adapted to animal companionship.  I know it will happen when it is meant to… if it is meant to.

No worries here.  I just miss her so damn much and rightly so.

 

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My Best Friend: Just When I Was Getting Comfortable

I felt sick as a dog on the night of September 11th.  I was waking up hourly to empty my liquid bowels.  Standing up made me nauseous and I was afraid I was going to shit down my own legs.  I figured maybe it was one of the eggs I put into my dinner omelet.

The cats weren’t helping.  They wanted to lay on my stomach, causing me more discomfort.  I just wanted to sleep it off.

The 11th rolled into the 12, and I tried to go about my normal routine, but I wasn’t feeling normal at all.  My uncle came over to help out my grandma and I tried to sleep the day away, but was reawakened every hour or two by demanding felines.

I slipped in and out of dream space.

The woman accuses me of being an escort because I have a stack of cash.  I tell her I just sold my truck.  She also accuses me of having fake “air inflated” breasts.  I tell her that “that isn’t at all true.  I got fat and lost some weight and now I have stretch marks.”

Other strange thoughts invade my mind as I toss and turn.

I just don’t want to feel this way anymore.  I just want to sleep for 24 hours straight.  I just want to be taken care of because I don’t have the energy right now to care at all. 

I wake up early on September 13th.  I go to my Facebook feed.  There she is in my memories.  My fur buddy’s 10th Doggaversary.  Today would have been our 11th.

See just when I was settling into the idea that I no longer have to fill her water and food bowls, I am reminded of how far we went, and how close we came to 11.  I think about how, we would celebrate together since my birthday is so close to the day we found each other.

I realize, it wasn’t the eggs that made me sick; it was knowing that I would have to wake up on the 13th and deal with a new slew of emotions.  And that settling into emotions is much like the settling of sand which can be moved by a breeze, or a wash of water, dried out by the sun and stepped on, only to be encrusted into the indentations of some passerby’s shoes and transported to places unseen.

I’d like to not have to do anything for a while, so that I can just sleep if I want to sleep and dream these weird dreams, hoping we eventually reunite in that dreamspace for a little bit.  And, see I know I can’t tarry there long, but I would still like the opportunity, nonetheless.

 

My Best Friend: Lessons In Commitment and Loyalty

I’m not much different than most other females who grew up around the same time I did.  We all watched the same Disney movies and obsessed over Wesley in Princess Bride.  We actively consumed the fairy tales of Princess’ being swept off their feet.  Add in some religion, and there was always some illusory man who was suppose to show up and sweep us off our feet.

By the age of twenty-five, if it hasn’t happened yet, the internal worry mixes with the biological clock and things start to get a little weird.

I didn’t start building strong female relationships until about that age.  I started to embrace the feminine in myself and with that came a new feminine energy.  At times I would think that I was the most “girly” out of the group, even though I considered myself far less “girly” than my cohorts.

I’m certain when I went for a dog, I didn’t care what gender it was, but for the first time in my life I was starting to really make female friends and I am sure that played a role in how everything unfolded.

During this time I was becoming very aware of the emotional pain many women carry with them.  It was a suffering that would come from competing with other women more as an unspoken way of being than a logical reaction.   I was going out of my way to express appreciation for women, even ones who I interacted with just in passing.  It could be as simple as saying “You look fantastic in that shade of blue.”  or ” I really love your hair, it looks so soft!”

I could see that women on the daily were not only trying to meet the world with some beauty, but they were trying to convince themselves that they were worthy of love and attention and the most basic way we are taught to seek that out, is by outward expressions of self care.

I knew I wasn’t out there trying to steal anyone’s boyfriend.  I was trying to find some loyal female friends while seeking love, and if you want to get a lady’s attention, give her a sincere complement.

When Claddagh came into my life, it wasn’t complements that won her over.  In fact it wasn’t complements that kept her around.  But while I was trying to figure out how to bring more love into my life via friends, she was sitting right beside me as I hashed things out.

In February of 2009 I received an art commission to paint a mural on the inside of a pump house at a tree farm.  For a week, Claddagh and I camped out while I painted the mural.  In the evenings I would sit by the fire with a headlamp writing about the various musings I may have had over the day.

Here are my scribbles about “What the fuck the roller coaster of love is”;

  • Doesn’t know what love is but aches for it, due to fairy tales and day time drama.
  • Meet someone who likes you and you couldn’t care less for as an individual.  Sometimes it matters not, for the first timer. It’s the wanting of love so badly that most novices force it based on lame criteria.
  • Settle into that “like-ness.”  For some this happens faster than others.
  • Grow personally or experience partners growth.   Get annoyed with everything you previously adored as “quirky.”
  • Jump knee deep into the dramatic experience of separating ways and the fucked up boomerang that always brings you back.
  • Wrestle with emotions vs. a need to get laid, enduring attitudes turn into pet peeves and the struggle to stay seemingly sane through the process.
  • Question life; it’s meanings and what could possibly be next.
  • Waste a few months feeling bad for yourself and procrastinating making a big decision.
  • Finally settle on something, perhaps the easiest thing….
  • And just when you think you are on the money…..
  • The Universe says “I’m sorry, actually you are going to do this ____.”  Which was your least favorite option from the options you initially had to choose from.
  • Just when you resign to your new circumstance, this new, interesting and attractive person comes in and because you haven’t lost all your hormones yet, your body says “HELLO!”
  • Knowing that you just experienced “love” and you have a lot to deal with, your mind says, “OH NO!”
  • Undoubtedly you spend time with this new stranger and your hormones won’t quit screaming “OH YES! PLEASE, PLEASE!”
  • Since you realize we are all animals who are most responsible to responding to our physical instincts,
  • Consciousness takes a back seat in decision making
  • Cave in and let hands graze nameless places- get high on pheromones.
  • Act like sad orphans literally dying to experience affection.  Once is never enough.
  • Realize that all of a sudden this indulgence and connection produces a a desire to satisfy something primal.
  •  Intimacy becomes a third party to rugged and animalistic behavior.
  • Start feeling things for a stranger while temporarily avoiding the recent void of failure, hoping to be re-filled.

Claddagh sat there as a silent bystander as I purged what could be seen as the worst flow chart for “love” to ever exist.  But what do I learn from this when I go back through it with that knowing?

My views on love have been quite askew.  Claddagh showed me another way to love, and it wasn’t based off of some unrealistic script that we are fed through entertainment.  This is why it hurts so badly.  We didn’t follow predictive programming in the unfolding of our friendship.  Even up into the minute I had to choose to let her go, I had no idea what I was doing and I was simply hoping for the best for both of us.   There was an undeniable trust that we were doing the best we could.

I learned that I need to further listen to my instincts.  Love doesn’t really exist in one-sided affairs and one sided affairs have seemed safe.  It’s easier to reject than to be rejected.   But what does it look like when both parties love?  It is harder to walk away, and I have been good at walking away… but I couldn’t walk away from Claddagh.  She made me look at the worst parts of myself, and she could have disappeared at any point in time to find a new home, and she didn’t.  She pushed through my wreckage.

Thanks to her, I can sift through it, and see more of what she was showing but I was only recording in passing. Thanks to her I can see love outside of that wreckage.

 

My Best Friend: Psychic Bonds

When you can’t rely on language to have a connection, a psychic bond is the answer.  It is a heart and head connection requiring no audible noise.  Claddagh in the early days was a bit of an escape artist, but she always seemed to have a reason to go where ever it was that she would end up.

In 2008 in the hours leading up to the 48 Hour Film Festival debut, Claddagh disappeared out of my friends yard.   His dog stayed within the fence, and Claddagh was no where to be found.  Knowing that I had a bunch of shit to do in a short period of time, looking for my dog was last on the list.  As I washed up in the shower, in my mind I said “Claddagh, if you don’t get back here in the next five minutes, don’t bother coming home.  You are stressing me out right now.”

A few seconds later my friend hollered through the bathroom door that he found her.  After finishing up, I came out and asked him where she had been and he says “You’re never going to believe it… She was just over at this guys house down the block.  He said that he saw her at the fence and she took one look at him, jumped the fence and ran over to him and just started loving on him.  He told me that he had just lost his mother and his dog in the last 24 hours, and it was like she came over to console him.  He volunteered to watch her while we go to the film festival.”

WOW!  I was floored.  My dog had sensed this man’s deep despair, and she broke the rules in order to go give him some much needed affection.  I couldn’t be mad anymore.  I was proud of her, and I hoped that she looked both ways before crossing the street.  They neighbor watched her for a few hours without incident, and I was able to enjoy the film festival without stressing about my dog.

Claddagh had two run in’s with getting put into Doggy Jail.  The first time was probably around 2010.  Some friends invited me to go to Breitenbush hot springs with them; but Breintenbush is a dog free zone.   I asked another friend to watch Claddagh for the day, as we would be leaving early morning and wouldn’t be back until later in the evening.

It ended up that the person who was going to watch her, flaked out; and I wasn’t sure what we could do with her.  I wasn’t familiar with the roommate that would be home, and I knew that their backyard fence was low enough for Claddagh to escape.   I told the group, “I can’t go.”  And they assured me that Claddagh would be fine.  Despite having a feeling of uncertainty, I was cajoled into going on the trip.

We got up to Breitenbush and spent several hours hanging out in the hot pools.  Sometime around 3 pm, two of us decided to take a hike in the lush forest surrounding the area.  While hiking I made the observation out loud, that it seemed wrong of us to be hiking in such a beautiful place without our dogs.  Right around that time I felt a panic set in, and I just wanted to get home.

I think it was probably 10:30 or so in the evening when we returned to Corvallis.  Sure enough when we get to my friends house, Claddagh is nowhere to be found.  Two friends head out on foot, and I drive around hoping she is still in the neighborhood.   No luck.   The roommate that was home said he let her out around 3pm when he left for work.  So she was left unattended in a backyard with a fence low enough to scale.

Here is where things lay over into the psychic world.  These friends lived very close to the only park in Corvallis where it is a dog free zone.  Claddagh had jumped the fence and went straight over to that park and was picked up by animal control and taken to the shelter.  The following day was a holiday and the shelter was closed, I couldn’t be with out her for another night so I knocked on the employee door because I knew there must be someone there to feed them.

I could hear Claddagh barking from outside the building as I walked around looking for the employee entrance.  A kindly little old lady answered the door, and I told her that I could hear my dog crying and that I really wanted to get her back today.   The lady led me back, and she could tell that my dog was who I said she was.   She told me “You are a good doggy parent, I’m just going to let you take her home today.”   She waived the fee, and sent Claddagh home.

I told Claddagh “if it is a no dog zone, you might want to avoid hanging out near there.”   She seemed a bit shaken with her time in lock up.

A few months later Claddagh would escape again, but differently.  I had plans for us to go to the Corvallis farmers market, and before we got down there I stopped into a convenience store, in the time it took me to purchase a cold coffee and a pack of cigarettes, she had jumped out of the back window.  Now, mybad, because I didn’t notice she wasn’t back there until I got to the farmers market… and low and behold, an empty back seat.

I got back into the car, and drove back to Philomath where the C-Store is.  I start walking the blocks, calling for Claddagh.  I see some kids on skateboards and I ask if they have seen a friendly, red and black dog wandering around.   They say ‘yes’ and I ask them to show me which direction she went.  They lead me toward a boarding house where we had a friend who was living there, so I definitely felt like they had seen my dog.

Now, Philomath is about eleven miles from the farm we were living at in Wren.  I spent an hour looking for Claddagh and then I had to get on with my day, so again, silently in my head I called out to her and said ” I don’t know where you are or what you are doing, but you better not be anywhere near the highway.  I have shit I have to do today, you are stressing me out.”

It was a long day, and I by the time I got home, I had been gone for about twelve hours.

As I pulled into the driveway, there was Claddagh, cowering, but happy to see me.  After talking to her I got the sense that she followed the rail road tracks home.  She had walked that entire way back to the farm.  Needless to say, I was quite impressed with her fortitude and sense of direction.  I am sure she followed the smell of the sheep all the way home.

Last month would signify Claddagh’s last foray into Doggy Jail.  So far as I can tell, she was out in the front yard, unattended, which is very unusual.  She had her collar off, which was normal.  And someone thought she was lost so they took her in for the night.  When I came out and realized she was gone, I went into full panic mode.   It was pretty late at night so I walked the streets with a flash light calling her name.   No luck, so I laid a sleeping bag under the tree in the front yard, and slept there until the sun came up, hoping she would smell me and wander back home.

No such luck. The shelter opened at 11am,  and though it was my intention to be there before they opened, I got lost while trying to find the building.  I arrived at about a quarter after 11, to find my dad waiting in line to see if she had been dropped off.  Sure enough, someone had dropped her off, right at a 11.  If I would have been there early I could have saved myself the $55.00 they charged me for keeping her all of 24 minutes.  She got a couple of shots out of it.

This time when I went back to identify her, she looked on top of the world.  She had gone on her own adventure and she was high on it. I couldn’t be mad at her, it just stirred the part of me that didn’t know what I was going to do when she was actually gone for good.

See, even that event last month seems like a psychic precursor to what was going to follow on the night of Aug. 25, 2018.   I was given all these tests over the years to prepare me for the inevitability of losing her.   All I can do is be grateful that she was so gentle with these lessons and tests.

My Best Friend: You Definitely Have My Attention

You know how your best friend can usually pull you out of a funk?  They know a master way to get you to chuckle, or look at things differently, and the world will shift a little bit.

I am certain Claddagh understood how I would get fixated on things that would engage my attention to strong levels. And depending on where I was fixated, my mood would be effected to some degree.  As an empath I tend to be drawn to topics that are deeply rooted in the suffering of humanity.  I have a strong desire to uncover that which plagues humanity while at the same time trying to heal the Universal Feeling of Broken that is a template we live in.

When I lived in the mountains, I didn’t spend as much time or attention on those things the way I do now in large town. I didn’t have consistent internet and I could already just see pain existing around me to one degree or another, so it was an unspoken understanding that having a dog in nature helps all wounds.  I mean obviously it doesn’t make all of the pain go away, but it helps in certain terms of longevity and understanding.

I seriously started writing about my experiences in life at the age of twelve.  I’ve averaged 2.5 journals of various lengths per year for about twenty-six years.  I have no idea how many things I have published on this blog page alone, and this series, in this moment has my full attention. So much so, that I am pulling out the paper journals from the time Claddagh was in my life, because I am so interested in her chronology because it is inevitably tell me more about myself and how I will need to precede further.

My writing has always spoken my own code, to myself.  It is always in retrospect that I can tell if I listened or not.

What I can tell already, I’ve already mentioned a bit.  This feeling of intangible loss versus tangible loss and a feeling of loneliness or “godforsaken.”

I’ve been writing about death and loneliness my whole life, but it was sort of intangible.  I didn’t really know what I was missing, it was then easier to disconnect from the feeling of loss, by becoming callus.  When I lost my mom I was four years old.  What did I know?  I had not the experience yet to comprehend the impact of imagination when it came to comparing my experience in life to those who had yet to experience such an impacting circumstance.

Thirty-four years ago I didn’t have the ability to fully encompass what that initial loss would mean to my future relationships and my perceptions of death and loss of relationships to those still living.

I’ve written many things down about my life and perception.  In my opinion it is a treasure trove but obviously I am biased.  I haven’t written everyday, but I have written in cycles, and when I find myself in that cycle I tend to write a lot.   Perhaps it is because I feel both significant and insignificant in the world all at the same time, and the desire to record this life, outweighs the amount of words or paper I consume and collect in order to prove or assert my existence in the world.

I never thought I would have kids, and Claddagh was my “baby.”  Which leads me to the thought that if you feel lonely, the permanent solution does not exist in having a baby.  Which to some degree is exactly what I tried to do by acquiring a dog.  I’m not saying it was a bad decision, it was (what I am realizing in this moment) a temporary fix to a bigger issue that will still call for some resolution. I suspect that it’s going to take some uncomfortable work to get there. I am literally being forced to see the world with new eyes and I need some sunglasses because I am being blinded by the light.

My love for Claddagh was not only infinite but it was infant.  It was an infant kind of love that no words can express because it is too pure for complicated expressions.   The world could be expressed in a look or a gesture.  Looking at pictures of Claddagh, reflects what I must look like most of the time; deep in some thought far from joyful.  I never stopped searching for the origin of the intangible pain beyond my mother.

It too, comes in cycles.  All these cycles compress and unfold as time moves in the trajectory that we call forward future while simultaneously existing in a past that is added to by the awareness of its existence.

What is the ultimate lesson of Dog God?  “Love yourself as I love you. ”

How can we conceptualize this in reality through the filters of guilt, grief, and distraction?  New Age people talk about it all of the time but I don’t think many of them really get what that means because they live in a “do what thou wilt” kind of belief system.  I don’t think that I will be able to encapsulate it here because the seed of it’s awareness is just starting to sprout in my consciousness due to the new light shining on it, the conditions have just started to become ripe for its awakening.

The awareness happens with my focus while raking through old weeds.  If you read the journals in reverse you see the story unfolding from the beginning.  Everything we needed to know was there all along.  It is the knot in the rope during tug of war.

If we pay attention close enough, we realize we are never alone.  There are things begging our attention all of the time.  As I was writing this, I noticed at timed intervals that crab apples were hitting the hood of my car.  The branch above the garage door was shaking, and another group of leaves and berries would crash down, causing me to pause my typing.

Finally, I got up to see who wanted my attention.  A squirrel… of course.  The squirrels and Claddagh had their own daily camaraderie.  They would banter back and forth, and Claddagh would chase them up trees and power lines. They definitely had a relationship of sorts that never missed a day.

I felt the squirrel was saying “Hey, I notice your buddy is missing.”  And I spoke out loud and told the squirrel what was up, but he could come around as much as he wants and eat all the crab apples his little heart pleases.   See, sometimes even the nameless fur balls in your yard, can make it into the amazing story of life.

In the last day, I’ve noticed the bunnies are coming closer to the house as they realize their greatest terrestrial threat has been absent.  I noticed there were many more birds in the yard when I came to open the door.  Nature is trying to speak to me and right now it’s telling me that I should probably take old Brody for a walk.

My Best Friend: Introductions Part 1- The Folks

I’ve made some unconventional decisions in my adulthood.  Getting a dog when I didn’t know where I was going to live next is probably pretty high on that list.

It’s kind of strange to talk about living by Faith, but I do, and I have.  The decision was more of a calling that I had to have faith in.  It was diving headfirst into something that I really had no first hand knowledge on.  I was fiscally pretty poor.  I was bad at making regular appointments for various check ups on myself unless urgent.  I had no savings.

My parents, I am sure, were well aware of this.  And though they say nothing about it, I am sure they have questioned why I do things the way I do.  Shortly after Claddagh came into my life, I decided to drive up to Wyoming for a visit.  I called home and told them that I would be up for the weekend, and that I met someone and fell in love.  I told them I was sure they were going to “love her” and to make sure the bed was set for two.

I’m pretty sure my parents thought I was a lesbian and that I was coming home to “come out.”  They were in for a surprise.

I left Claddagh in the car, and I approached my parent’s front door and rang the bell.  My stepmom opened the door, looked out and asked “Where is your friend?”

I said “in the car.”  My step mom couldn’t see her, so I ran down the steps and opened the car door and Claddagh bounded out and rushed up to meet Karen.  I chuckled at how shocked my folks looked.  “You got a dog?”  They inquire.  “Yeah, I got a dog, I am 27 I think I am old enough to have a dog.”

I am certain my parents did not get what they were expecting on that visit.  And Claddagh, unlike other dogs that have lived in that house, slept in bed with me.

My folks always had “outside” dogs, with the exception of Buffy.  Buffy was a mini schnauzer and couldn’t handle the wild Wyoming winters without a coat.  Dogs over the years would be invited inside for a little bit of human love, but mostly they stayed outdoors.  If I were to guess, it would be because of the hair issue.  My stepmom was mentored by Martha Steward and her house is proof.  She thinks a “dirty house” is when you leave yesterdays mail on an otherwise spotless counter top.   She is the reason I learned what a lint roller is.

My folks embraced Claddagh.  I think they saw just how much she meant to me and they wanted to support that.  Claddagh had a hard time getting along with their less socialized dogs, and spent every moment with me when I was in the house.  On Claddagh’s first Christmas, my parents gave her, her own presents.  Dog treats, and a toy.  This was her first real toy.  It was a stuffed squeaky moose.  She had it up until about two years ago.  She would decimate every other toy, but she prolonged the decimation of her first gift.

At first she chewed off the tuft of hair on the head of the moose.  Over the years she nibbled down it’s antlers.  She put a few holes in it’s legs.  She matted down it’s stuffing by gnawing on it, but she DID NOT harm the squeaker.  This moose was battered and bruised, but in exceptional condition for being nine years old.  I finally threw it away after it was left in the yard all winter through the snow.

I truly believe my parents loved Claddagh, even though they didn’t spend a lot of time with her.   If you love dogs at all, Claddagh was sure to make you feel like she was all about you. She was so playful and gentle.  She had been hurt in her earlier life and had no desire to hurt or be hurt, herself.   She was passively protective. Mostly, I think my parents saw her as the closest I would ever get to having a kid or getting married (which probably isn’t far off, but I guess anything is possible).  Every year, without fail, Claddagh would continue to get her own Christmas presents.  And every year she loved them, just never as much as that first silly moose. She took it over at least four states until it reached its ends.

 

 

 

My Best Friend: The Good-bye, Goodgirl.

Today started like every other day. The cats woke me up and I poured food in their bowls, and Claddagh and I got up and I let her outside. I got myself a glass of water, not really feeling coffee, and did as I usually do; sift through emails, check the updates on social media.

My uncle came out with the trash, as he usually does, and perched himself down by the bins to give Claddagh her morning treat.  That fake bacon stuff she loves.

My uncle made note that she wasn’t acting herself, and looked like she had thrown up.  I figured it was just some stomach upset that she was looking to relieve by eating grass and then throwing it up.   Concerned, I checked her out and over all she seemed normal.

As the day went on I noticed she wasn’t acting as normal.  Our friend Devon stopped by, and usually Claddagh is up and very talkative when he shows up.  She is always excited to tell him something.  Today, she stayed very calm, and didn’t say a word.   I didn’t pay much notice to that but shortly after he left, Brody dog came out and as usual ran at the fence to bark at the neighboring dog.

Usually Claddagh is the ring leader in the barking nonsense.  She waits anxiously for Brody to follow her out and raise a little mayhem.   She didn’t move.  She stayed glued to the ground, watching Brody raise a ruckus.   This was odd enough to give her further inspection.  Her stomach seemed bloated but she wasn’t whining or crying.  She didn’t wince in pain, regardless I found the swelling to be disconcerting.

This of course led me to Google to ask about swelling belly in a dog, which lead me to bloat, which they say is an emergency situation.  Of course it has to be on a Saturday, right?  Claddagh is still getting up and moving around, but she seems so lethargic.  I sit with her in the yard and she pukes up the treats my uncle gave her, and a bunch of bile.

I call the vet, and wait for the emergency on-call to call me back.  He does, and I give him a run down of her symptoms.   He doesn’t think it is bloat but tells me that I can call back.  I tell him I will keep an eye on her.  I do and by the hour her stomach is getting bigger and bigger.  She is finding it harder and harder to walk very far without needing to lay down.  I call the vet two more times.  He still doesn’t sense bloat.   Finally around 9:40pm I decide she has to go in.

I want to hope for the best but I feel sick.

Claddagh uses all her effort to get into the car.  We arrive ahead of the Vet, and sit out side.  Claddagh doesn’t want to sit down because she knows she is going to have to get back up and it’s getting increasingly difficult for her.

I run down the list with the Vet and he takes her for x-rays and blood work.  He says he will call in about an hour.  I drive the two blocks home to wait for the call.

At 10:53 he calls with bad news.  Claddagh has a large heart based tumor.  He gives me three options;  I can go to Ft. Collins tonight for an ultra-sound, he can give me medicine to get her through the night (maybe) and take her for an ultra-sound in the morning, or I could put her down.

The condition she had, and the way the swelling was affecting her; her heart was so big that it was cutting off circulation to the other organs in her chest.

That is so like her, you know?  To have a big heart, so big even that it would work against her longevity.   As much as I wanted her to come home with me, I knew that potentially waking up to her, gone, would be too much for me.   And even though she wasn’t really having a painful condition, her breathing was so labored and her deterioration was happening so quickly, letting her go seemed like the most humane thing to do.

I told her how much I loved her.  How special she was to me in my life.  I gave her all the kisses and told her how hiking would never be the same.

The medicine worked quickly.  Her eyes became quite dilated and then she was gone.

I had to make so many decisions in just hours today, and no matter what, there was not going to be any saving her.

I had walked back to the vet, to put her down.  It was a harsh reality to walk out of there with a leash and a collar and a bill for five hundred dollars.  I wish I was walking home with my best friend, or at least empty handed.

This morning there was no inkling in my mind that today would end up this way.

I have to re-learn how to be “Mandie without Claddagh.”  She was the longest relationship I have ever had in my life.  We spent almost every day together starting on September 13, 2007.  She was my birthday gift to myself, and she did not disappoint.

My heart is broken right now.   I am in a bit of a shock and I can’t imagine what tomorrow looks like without my Dita.  For those of you who knew her, she loved you.  She loved everyone, and always thought you were here to see her.

I couldn’t have asked for a greater love in my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.