Tonight I get ready for everything to change in my life tomorrow morning.
Most people would think that is such an odd statement and it probably is. I mean, it's just a dog, right?
It's so much more than that.
At least, for me it is and since this is my blog and my life, I get to choose what to do with it and how I feel.
Since deciding to adopt Blue under a difficult situation, I guess I should have known that some people would give unsolicited advice and opinions.
It is a rare day in hell when I ask for someone's opinion and adopting Blue was not one of them. It wasn't so much of a decision as that moment when you know you have to - and want to - do the right thing.
I have always had dogs. They were in the house when I was brought home from the hospital as an infant. At one time, I had 4 dogs.
I have never gone longer than a month or two without one.
Until the last one was put down.
Maverick. Shadow. Renegade. Moppett the cat.
He was the 3rd dog I had lost in 3 years, along with 2 cats. It was a long and painful ordeal as he was dying from cancer. Three times I scheduled with the vet to put him down and three times I cancelled.
I couldn't do it. He was still eating, walking slowly and still had his goofy grin. I talked extensively with the vet. I was assured that he was not in pain and would continue to have bursts of energy. She told me I would know when to do it and I wouldn't hesitate.
She was right.
Towards the end, I had him with me 24/7. I brought him to work. He could not be left alone for a moment. He had a tumor that could rupture at anytime. All I did during those last few weeks was sleep (with him in my bed), eat, work and go home. If I had to go to the store, his Dad would stay with him. My life was centered around him and his needs.
Then one night it happened. He wouldn't eat. He refused chicken. He refused steak. He wouldn't drink any water. He wouldn't stop walking.
It was late. I gently picked him up and put him on the bed. I wrapped a blanket around him and soothed him. He was shaking. Every time I petted him and talked to him, he would stop. I held him like that for 8 hours. All night I rocked him and tried not to cry. He would only sleep if I held him very tight. I talked to him and told him it was time. He sighed and wagged his tail.
I held him so tight and for so long that my entire body ached for days afterwards.
We said our goodbye's and in the morning, I took him to the vet, along with his Dad. It was quiet and peaceful.
I cried for 3 weeks.
All my dogs were gone.
I vowed to never go through it again.
I meant it. The thought of going through that much pain again was too much.
I had my cats. I had more freedom. I didn't have vet bills. I didn't have to worry about being gone for a few days. It no longer mattered when I got home at night.
And that suited me just fine.
And then Blue arrived. I helped with him. I adored him. I cried when he had to leave his foster dad. But he was OK and loved his mom.
Then I heard he needed a new home and they were taking him to the shelter.
And here we are.
And I've heard the opinions of some that I might not know what I'm doing.
"Remember what you said after Maverick died? Remember how devastated you were?"
I wanted to slap her. Hard. Across her face.
"No. I don't remember anything about that," I said and rolled my eyes.
She looked at me for a second.
"You honestly think I don't recall any of it? You really think that?"
"Well, what I mean is..."
"What you MEAN is that YOU don't approve of this for some reason. What you THINK is that your opinion means something to me and that's where you're wrong. I never asked what you thought. I don't give a damn what you or anyone else thinks and I don't recall asking you for your opinion!"
I walked away. I was furious. I reminded myself, once again, to never talk about animals to someone who doesn't understand.
I remember every single moment of every death of my pets. It is etched and burned into my mind forever. I have the back seat of my car covered in a blanket to hide the blood stains from Maverick. I remember every moan, every yelp and every sad and painful look each of them gave me as we did the "Death Walk" into the vet.
I recall every second of taking Shadow in for a check-up and expecting to get some medicine for him but instead putting him down. There isn't anything about that that has left my mind or what it was like to leave without him, to come home and cry for hours while I looked at his empty bed.
I know I can't afford to do this.
But I'm doing it anyway.
I know as a renter this can cause me lots of problems in the future.
But I'm doing it anyway.
I know that there will be vet bills that I won't know how to pay.
So what? Been there and done that and my pets never went without proper care. I always manage to figure it out.
I know that there will be a time when Blue will be gone.
And I know that 99% of the time, things will be good.
It's not about adopting a dog.
It's about saving a life and having the courage to do so.
I can't save all of them, but I can save this one.
It's about having a companion to be with and thumbing my nose at all the humans who have rejected me prior.
It's about having someone to love and having that love returned.
It's about loneliness so deep that it makes you cry at night and knowing that this dog understands it.
It's about healing each other and moving on with our lives.