A year ago this Friday, I was outside doing my regular horse-pen manure mucking chore using my shoulder to hold the phone to my ear talking to the new Caledonia Patch editor, Denise Lockwood. We talked about life in Caledonia, about how we each came to be here, etc. and then our conversation shifted to that of animals...
During this conversation, I learned of Denise's love for animals, while she learned of my love to write. I told her that I could talk all day and night about animals of varying kinds, so her "editor brain" decided that a blog about animals would be right up my avenue. I agreed to think about it and she sent me the information the very next day.
What I didn't share with Denise that evening was that while I was outside my house on the phone with her, my "rescue Rottie" Roxy lay on my living room couch dying slowly of the bone cancer that was eating her bones from the inside out. I didn't share this heartbreak because I had a hard enough time talking to family and friends about the daily pain that had become my life while I watched her spirit drift away from us. I didn't share because I felt hopeless and helpless, and didn't want anyone to join in my sadness. I didn't share because I didn't want anyone to judge me or pretend they knew how I felt at that time.
The very next morning (a year ago this Saturday), I woke up to a dog whose condition had deteriorated significantly once again. I helped her walk to go to the bathroom, tried to get her to eat, and cried the entire time I was getting ready for work. My heart was broken while I made that dreaded call to the vet later that morning. That evening, I said my final good-byes and she went from a "rescue Rottie" to my "angel Rottie." I struggled through each day thereafter, as you do when a loved one passes away, feeling like no one could truly understand what I was going through. I snuggled my remaining dog, while watching him morph from the one-half of a duo to that of the lone dog of our residence. If you check my blog history, you will see that I blogged (as I had told Denise I would) but only once....after that, my heart just wasn't in it.
Over the course of this past year, I find myself thinking of Roxy often. After all, her picture remains sitting on our coffee table and on my desk at work. But those moments when I think of her have gone from that of sadness over her loss to that of gratefulness of having known her. Like a person, I learned so much about myself from her, without ever truly realizing it until after she was gone.
She taught me that you can love even after you have been hurt....vet tests revealed she had been badly abused by a previous owner. She taught me that you can overcome your fears if you open your eyes and allow it to happen...she was afraid of any human male for the first few months we had her leading us to believe it was a male that did the abusing. She taught me that you are never too old to try/learn new things...she lost use of one of her front legs toward the end, but this never stopped her from walking to be close by her human-mom. She also taught me that sometimes what you need is not really what you want...because at first I wasn't so sure about our choice to adopt a female Rottie from the humane society with an unknown history.
Each time I look at her picture and stop to think, I realize something that I learned from having the opportunity to "rescue" this little timid girl from the humane society and have her as a part of our family for her final years (just 2 months shy of 5 years). I learned that she chose me long before I chose her.
With a mixture of happinesss and sadness as these anniversary dates draw near, I write this blog as a way of honoring my "princess" Roxy while thanking Denise for listening to me talk excessively of my love for animals on the eve of a day that neither of us knew was coming at that moment. Those memories will never fade from my heart.