Even though dogs can't communicate on a human level, they still share and experience the same great memories with their owners - which creates a special bond. They're here for us during the worst times of sorrow and hardship by snuggling up with us and providing a sense of relief, making them completely selfless beings full of compassion.
Unfortunately like all things in this world, their lives eventually come to an end. In one of the hardest things I've had to do, I had to put my dog down last month.
Emma Rose was a chubby nearly-nine year old Corgi, who loved snuggling up and being wacky. We've shared countless memories together, spanning thousands of miles from my hometown Sequim, WA all the way down to Southern California and back. She would follow me around everywhere, and shared the same quiet, lazy and calm personality that I do - well most of the time. Occasionally she'd go nuts as she barked and chased at cars, or waves on the beach.
Oh, and she loved getting dirty: one time I gave her a bath and about 5 minutes later, she came inside the house completely covered in dirt. It really ticked me off at the time, but now I smile as I look back at the memories we shared together. What really makes a dog special is that they don't create many, if at all, bad memories. Sure, they make messes in the house and ocassionally scratch you, but they never divorce or break up with you. I think this makes them, or any pet for that matter, special.
Over the years, Emma had started to show normal signs of age, as her hair started to lose color and activeness dropped. I knew she would only have a few more years left, but wasn't expecting things to worsen so quickly. Then within the last couple of weeks, she started acting weird by not eating regularly and as things worsened, she lost her appetite for water as I closely monitored her. Things weren't looking up for her and she eventually suffered what looked to be a seizure followed by incontinence. I quickly took her to the vet and started to seriously worry.
A visit to the vet showed that Emma wasn't experiencing any chronic or acute pain, but they needed to take blood tests to make sure everything checked out OK. Bad news followed. The next morning I discovered that she had 1/3 her normal blood cell count, and was told to take her into the vet immediately if she had any chance of surviving. At this point she was unable to get off the floor, as I had to rush and carry her into the car in panic.
I found out the news a few hours later that her spleen had been bleeding from a tumor - and that it had been going on for awhile, but is the kind of illness that goes undetectable until the last minute. They could have done major surgery on her, but it would have cost thousands of dollars with no promises. My heart was broken and I had to no choice but to put her down.
My family and I got together to say one last goodbye to Emma, as she was clearly suffering and barely holding onto dear life at this point. Everything hadn't really hit me, and I didn't know what to think - but I knew that being by her side the whole time was the best I could do. I held her close, kissed and pet her like I used to, and memories of her and I flashed before my eyes as the needle was injected into her arm. Then a followed a quick jump in her pulse, and a few seconds later her eyes rolled back as she fell asleep for eternity. My body was trembling, and I couldn't believe what had happened.
I went home and quickly resumed work, to try and get my mind off of things. I had time to collect my thoughts the following day, and knew that the least I could to for her is write something about how important she's been in my life.. and here we are. I broke down several times writing this, as I looked at old photos of Emma and reminisced about all of the memories we've shared together. I dedicate this blog post to her, and she'll forever remain in my heart and memories until the day I die. I know she's in Doggy Heaven where she no longer has to suffer - and that alone brings sort of a bitter-sweet ending.
I love you, Emma Rose. 2004-2012