Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Mornings are the Hardest

I feel mornings are always the hardest time of day when things are tough.

When I say I can't remember my life before she came into it, I truly have no recollection.

Every morning I wake up knowing in my heart she is there, has to be there, has always been there... and then the realization that I am wrong clouds over me. It's as if I have been dreaming of her all night, only to have her slip out of my grasp as I regain consciousness, even though I don't remember any dreams.

Life just feels weird in her absence. Walking one dog feels alien. Feeding one dog without having to worry about who would steal the other's food. I need to toss her beds - my other dog won't use them, and doesn't even sniff them anymore. He knows as well as I do that she's gone. I don't know why I am still holding on to them.

I never realized that losing her would affect me this much.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Emotional Eating (or Lack Thereof)

I'm still following the Beck Diet Solution, and I meant to blog along the way. Obviously, losing my dog took precedent over everything else when it came to my energy and focus.

Right now I'm in the section of the book that deals with emotional eating. I have been guilty of eating with my emotions in the past. Comfort food in the form of mac and cheese or pasta with butter was my norm when I was feeling bad. When I lost my pregnancy, I ate an entire pan of cheese enchiladas. By myself. In one day.

But when I'm really upset, I stop eating altogether. I know this is no more healthy than overeating, but forcing yourself to eat when you physically feel sick seems harder to do than stopping yourself from eating until you feel sick. Food just doesn't sound good. I'm eating, but just enough. I haven't been hungry since Sunday. It's almost as though eating to fill an emotional void only works when the void doesn't feel so vast.

I wonder how long it will take to feel better. I miss her so much.

Monday, March 4, 2013

RIP Baby Girl

15 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks ago I met my first baby. She was sitting in the back of a cage at the Orange County Animal Shelter. While all the other dogs were barking and wagging and vying for the attention of the people walking the aisles, she sat in the back, worried and shy. I walked up to her cage, and she slowly came over and leaned against the chain link. I scratched her head and she whined ever so softly. I was in the market for a puppy, and she was approximately two. But she made an impression on me, so I put my name on the wait list to get her. Two days later, when she was available for adoption, work made me late. I thought I would lose her, but nobody else wanted her. I have no idea why so many overlooked her, but that was the luckiest day of my life.

She was my child and I devoted so much of my life to her. I took her to the beach whenever we could go, I traveled with her, I sought out dog friendly restaurants so we could dine together. I baked for her, took her hiking, took her swimming.We moved to to the mountains, and we went snowshoeing in the winter, chased chipmunks and squirrels in the summer. She slept in my bed for almost 10 years, until she began to prefer her own.

About 10 years ago, she started to go blind and her days of chasing rodents was over, but she was still happy - she loved her walks and liked to play. Then her back and hips started to give her trouble. A few years ago she went deaf, but was still happy. About a year ago, she started to get urinary tract infections. Shortly after she was diagnosed with renal failure. I knew that was the beginning of the end, but her slow, gradual deterioration went mostly unnoticed until she got an infection that couldn't be knocked out. I looked at her with new eyes, and realized she doesn't play anymore. Her tail no longer wags. She falls down almost every day. For a couple days, she needed help getting out of bed. It got better in recent days, but she's not really getting better.

I hated having to make this decision, but she was 17 years old, sick and unhappy. Euthanizing an animal is so incredibly difficult, more difficult than I imagined. Just thinking about it made me feel guilty. I had to keep reminding myself that I gave her a good life. I saved her life and she saved mine. She was there for me when I was sad, when I needed her. We shared good times and bad. She was there for me through several breakups. She was there when my husband was in the hospital. She was there when I lost my one and only pregnancy. How many nights I cried into her fur, I couldn't begin to count. I miss hugging her. I miss snuggling with her. She was my best friend, and after 15 years, I can't imagine life without her, but it would be unfair of me to keep her around longer. She's not the same dog she used to be. She doesn't look the same, she doesn't act the same. She lost her confidence with her eyesight, and lost her personality with old age. She doesn't even like to be touched as much - only head scratches and light petting on her back. Hugging her makes her uncomfortable. So in some ways, I lost her years ago. At least now her pain is gone.

Rest in peace my dear friend. I hope you're back to chasing chipmunks in the forest, pain free and happy once again.


The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

-Author unknown