You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can decide how you’re going to live. Now. ~ Joan Baez
It has been a rough morning around this place I call home. Waking to our very old and sweet dog not doing well. I am able to write now because after making him scrambled eggs, which he ate and then his own dog food, some water, and visited outside, he is lying next to me on his comfy bed and seems for the moment to not be suffering.
He now has a second comfy bed to lie on during the day so that his old bones can have a little rest. He has parathyroid disease and his calcium is very high. During this past year his breathing has become more labored, he can no longer hike with me, and he takes Rimadyl every day for the pain in his hips.
His name is Chesky. We got him in 2004 after a friend suggested the Goldendoodle breed to our family. My husband finally agreed we could get this very expensive “mutt” as long as he could name him. I immediately conceded on the name, although I always thought he picked funny dog names. He came up with Cesky Krumlov after the city in the Czech Republic, one of our favorites and in our family if it was Czech it was the best! My husband was Czech.
My step-son got married that summer to a Czech girl (of course), in the Czech Republic. It was a wonderful 2-week European vacation with family and friends. In the late summer, specifically Labor Day weekend, the newlyweds came to the United States for a wedding party in Minnesota for extended family. After the party, my son and I returned home to Colorado, and my husband went on a business trip. We picked up our new puppy on the way home from the airport! What fun it was to see this little guy curled up on my son’s lap. We were ready for this dog, and going to train him correctly this time around! We had a crate, I read all kinds of training manuals and he was going to be raised to be a well-behaved dog.
I was just about to begin group classes for Chesky in early November when one morning I awoke to my husband saying he did not feel well. Turns out he wasn’t well, his aorta tore and he died within a few hours. There went the dog training. To be honest, I almost got rid of the dog a few months later as it was all too much to embrace, taking care of all that needed to be done with a very complicated Estate (to say the least), trying to raise a 12-year-old boy, and a new puppy. I will never forget sitting on the kitchen floor crying and telling my son we had to get rid of the dog, and my son consoling me saying we couldn’t, we needed him. Turns out he was right, we did need this beautiful soul to nurture us through the rough road that lie ahead. Every day this sweet gentle soul greeted us with love, was mostly nonjudgmental . . . okay, he hates it when anyone raises their voice, or cries for no reason. He actually goes to the door and rings his bell to go outside. So, he did keep us in line over the years, whenever things got heated and my son and I started to verbally get into it, the dog always brought us back to reality.
Today I am sitting on the floor again, nurturing and loving this beautiful soul. I am blessed to have had such a wonderful dog, perhaps a once in a lifetime dog. My son has long since left the nest and lives on the other side of the world in New Zealand. He hopes to come home at the end of the year for a visit, and we are praying our sweet dog lives that long. My guess is he may not, and I won’t let him suffer. He has given so much love, joy, guidance, and more to the both of us that I can never thank him enough. Today I made him scrambled eggs to get him to eat, and I will do the same every day that I remain blessed to have him by my side, and this is how I choose to live . . . in loving kindness, with gratitude for all that sweet Chesky has given to our family.