Our companion animals teach us the most important life lessons, which is why we should always revere them. Love and take care of them.
So it is with a heavy, grieving heart that I tell you I lost my most precious teacher of all. A week ago, we saw Roxy safely to the other side. Though she had an ultrasound just days before I left for 5-days, a new mass was discovered just a couple of days after I returned. Tests confirmed carcinoma. Then her left rear leg swelled up. She only moved to relieve herself. Sleep was fitful.
Her body looked uncomfortable. Yet her eyes still shone with love and joy, which made the decision that much more painful. My boyfriend and I stayed with her, talking to her, petting her and holding her through the end.
Just before I left, I wrote a blog about choosing to trust life’s course. I had been worried about leaving her for a week, but I had signed up for this camp before her diagnosis.
I wrote about the choice between using energy to fight the endless flow of fearful, negative thoughts — in my case, all of the things that could go wrong while I was away — or just going with the flow of life.
I went with the flow, thinking everything would be fine. I guess that depends on whose definition of “fine” we’re using. Clearly not mine.
Life doesn’t owe us a favor in return for trusting it. Putting our faith in life isn’t a quid pro quo to getting what we want. It is a way to ensure we get what we need, even if it’s a bitter pill.
Beyond this first hard lesson, I’ve started seeing more glimmers of wisdom in this experience. Roxy’s death will not be in vain. But the film of pain is still too sticky and thick. Her wise gifts haven’t come into clear focus yet, though Rico has been helping me see them. As they do, we will continue to share them here.
Thank you to everyone who has ever had a kind thought about Roxy. When looking to add a dog to your family, please do consider adopting a pit bull. Both that I have been lucky enough to call mine added immeasurable warmth, color, and hilarity to my life. The world is much grayer without them.