Where to begin…..
True has been my best friend since the first day I met her. She was 8 weeks old and had the biggest, brightest eyes I could have imagined. Weimaraner puppies are famously adorable and True was doubly so. She is a blue Weim and every bit the beautiful William Wegman model you would imagine.
She was always active and extremely energetic. She pushed me to play and exercise just so we could get her wound down enough to sleep at night. On hikes she would cover 4 times the trail length by running way ahead and then looking back (and most times trotting back) to see what was taking me so long before running on ahead again. She pestered everyone to play fetch, dropping a slobbery ball in your lap until you had to throw it before it soaked through your clothes. My Dad loved his granddog immensely and like any doting grandparent indulged her every request. He would throw her tennis ball or frisbee (or stick or whatever the toy of the day was) for hours each evening until she would collapse from exhaustion. But that would only last a few seconds as she refused to quit when she had a willing thrower in her midst. I often thought she might die of a heart attack during one of her OCD fetch sessions with my Dad.
At the end of some evenings she would be limping, but soon recover. I always thought she’d pulled a muscle or stepped on something in the reeds, creek or tall grass while looking for her prize. It never lasted long and she seemed to ignore it so I did too.
But in October 2008 when she was 6 1/2 years old I took her to the vet to see why she couldn’t shake this limp that had been lingering the past few weeks. I’d lightened up on hikes and forced Dad to limit their daily fetch sessions but the limp wouldn’t clear up completely.
The vet diagnosed her with hip dysplasia. My heart sank. How long? – was my first reaction. He said that with meds and weight and exercise control we could try to keep her comfortable for 2 years. That was 4 years and 8 months ago.
A combination of arthritis meds, nerve blockers, pain meds, tummy meds to control nausea caused by other meds, moving to the basement so she could avoid stairs, orthopedic beds, hip treats, supplements and more have been part of our life this past 4 years and 8 months. And while the end result may be the same, I can’t help but be grateful for “extra” time I’ve gotten with her. It’s hard to keep that perspective but I know its true.
The past few weeks have been a fast decline for my girl. And it’s ironic that as I sit here a few feet from her waiting for the vet to arrive in a few hours to help her to a peaceful end, I look back on how worried I’ve been about how to care for her in the midst of me taking a big bike trip. Even though the vet told me just a month ago that she may not make the summer, a night just 10 days ago was the first real sign of the end that I was willing to see.
The past 3 days have been a fast downhill slide for True (aka “Boo”). And though my friend Rachel said I’d know when it was time, I’m not sure I believed her until tonight. Watching her stumble over carpet fibers and rug edges and grass with every step and fold up and collapse has been more than I can bear. It’s time. I am completely sure.
I’ve been carefully working toward leaving a 20+ year job, selling my home, selling a rental property (and the hundreds of details that come with each of those major changes) and preparing for a big motorcycle adventure. I’ve had a few offers from people to take care of True. But none of them have ever felt right. And for whatever reason everything has happened all at once. Heather says the stars have aligned for me to leave my job and sell two homes within weeks of each other. And now True has chosen this time as her time too. It’s the Universe telling us its time to move on for a while until we can be together again later. It’s the Universe telling me it’s time to let her go, and to go out on my own and be unburdened and untethered.
It’s not convenient or happy or a relief. It’s gut wrenchingly sad and heartbreaking. But it’s how it’s all worked out. She and I won’t have to miss each other while I’m gone. I won’t have to worry and wonder about her. And this way she can come along with me, in spirit. In fact I’m betting when she’s finally free that she’ll be miles ahead and turning to look back and make sure I keep up.
I love you, True. You’ve been the best friend a girl could ever ask for. And I hope I’ve made you feel loved…..because you were and are.