Saturday, October 12, 2013

What is precious in your life?

I have had the privilege of spending the last 14 years with a sweet even-tempered yellow labrador that I named Cassiopeia when she came to live with me at 8 weeks old. She has been my best buddy in so many ways for a very long time.

Last week she started having more trouble breathing and walking and we returned to the vet for better pain control. A simple x-ray told us that she has cancer and a huge mass in her chest which was impeding her breathing. She probably also had bone metastasis which was causing nerve pain. Very suddenly, my dog who is always wagging her tail and ready to catch a frisbee or ride in the car, was not happy. She wouldn't eat an apple core, her favorite, (though she did accept a McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese--but who can blame her) and needed help to get up to go to the bathroom. Never in her life had she refused an apple core (or any food really except sometimes spinach) and I knew that things were getting rough for her.

It is hard to lose such a good friend. She loved the most to lay under my loom bench while I was weaving. The photo above was taken last week on her last visit to the studio. She lay there all day only getting up once to greet some visitors before laying down again.

This is the dog that hiked the entire Colorado Trail with me in 2003, Denver to Durango. She walked 500 miles with a pack on and while she did need some encouragement to get going in the morning for the last 200 miles, she still wanted to play frisbee at the end of the day. She carried her own gear the whole way.

Here we are at the end of the trail in Durango. I think we all lost about 10 pounds. This is my sister and I and Cassy who was mighty glad to be done walking.

 I knew which photo album had the pictures of her as a puppy because the corner is chewed.
She grew quickly! Learning to heel was a tough one. But for her entire life she loved to go hiking with me. We walked miles almost every single day of her life and I credit this exercise to her long life and good health (and hopefully mine).

She was lucky to get to spend her later years with Emily who lavished her with attention (and salad). Emily is a veteran dog-lover and Cassy was her star recipient.
We had a good run. I miss her horribly. I keep thinking I hear her in the house.
But I am glad she isn't in pain anymore and the lessons I learned from having her in my life are innumerable.

Buen Viaje Cassiopia.

7 comments:

  1. So sorry. Losing a dog is so hard ... she was beautiful

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  2. :( So sorry to hear about her passing. It's hard to loose a friend as faithful as that.

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  3. It is very hard decision to let go of our ailing 4-legged family members. Your Cassiopeia had a very sweet face and I'd say she had a very good life with you. May the good memories ease some of the pain of this separation. Blessings be.

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  4. we lost our dog of 16 years. it is so hard and they are so much a part of the family.
    we totally understand and send our love and thoughts..

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  5. This is a wonderful tribute! Thanks for sharing the photos with us. Trish

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  6. She is on her new journey through the Universe and I am sure she misses you as well. Losing our companion animals is, for me, one of life's hardest agendas. Thank you for sharing the images of her. It is a beautiful tribute to how much you both loved each other!

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  7. Rest assured she is playing with our yellow laid to rest, a couple of years ago, after 14 wonderful years in our life.

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