Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Arya: In Loving Memory


Today we lost our beloved dog Arya. For those of you "non-pet" types...that may seem like no big deal. However, to animal lovers, this is a very emotional event. Arya was 12...a good old age for many dogs. She had been dealing with health issues for a while. We denied it as long as we could, but in the last forty-eight hours we watched her change. We saw the strength leave. She was just too tired to keep going. Up to the very end, I tried to deny that the situation was hopeless. I was certain that the vet, after examining her, would just give me some medication and send me on my way. That was not the case.

So why does a grown man cry like a baby over something like losing a dog? Because, they stop becoming dogs and morph into a family member that we love, and that loves us no matter what anybody else in the world may think. But Arya was Denise's dog. She was a gift from me that I arranged while I was doing time. Arya was not real affectionate towards anybody except Denise...until I came home. And in the year and a half, she and I became attached in a way.


When I decided that I had put on way too much weight to ignore any longer, I started taking her to run with me. She loved it! In fact, she would urge me on days when I didn't feel like it. She became my chubby jogging buddy. 

When she became ill and the tumor in her ear and on her shoulder burst, I actually used my hospice training. I became her caretaker. That made us even closer. Last night, I had to sit and talk with Denise and we knew what had to happen today. She slept with us like she has the past week. You should know that something like that was totally out of her character. She liked the floor beside the bed. She was not what you would call a "cuddle" dog. 


This morning when I returned from the gym, I took her out. She actually trotted to her morning "potty place". I told myself that she was fine. If she was doing this, then she was getting better. But within an hour, she was laboring to breathe again. I made the hardest phone call in my life. I scheduled "the" appointment. Still, all the way there I kept telling myself that she would be okay.


When the vet examined her, she told me that our girl was alive out of pure stubborn determination. Her heart was failing and her lungs were almost full of fluid. I held her when the sedative was given and actually felt her relax. She nestled into my arms and laid her head on me. When it was time for the final shot, Arya passed away before they had finished half of the syringe. I just held her, unable to stop crying, or to let her go. Even as I write this, I have to keep stopping because I can not see to type. 

I have experienced a wide variety of loss during my life. Nut today broke me down in ways I haven't experienced. Maybe I am getting old. Or maybe...after everything, I have placed a new value on love. Whatever the case, our camera shy Arya will be missed.

12 comments:

  1. My heart's breaking for you, brother. She sounds like a sweet girl. I'm glad y'all had each other, though. She was a lucky pup to have such a good home and family. I'm sorry for you loss.

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    1. thank you, Greg. Yesterday was rough. But as tough as it was, I was glag I could hold her at the end.

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  2. So sorry for your loss Todd. Iknow how it feels to lose a beloved pet who is very much a family member. My thoughts are with you all.

    Carol x

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  3. (((Hugs, buddy)))

    We had to put our Angel to sleep in 2011. It hurt my heart like nothing else...even though she was old, so old she was blind and deaf and incontinent. Like you, I held my fur-baby until there was no life left in her. And, like you, I'm still crying over it. My relationship with that dog taught me so many important things. She taught me how to love unconditionally, how to not give up...and how to live up to my end of a bargain, even when it hurts.

    You and your family are in my thoughts tonight. If I lived close, I'd bring you some funeral food.

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    1. Thanks, Catie. So now today is about watching my Border Collie Aoife wander the house. They had only recently begun to play together. It sure makes me even more appreciative of what I had managed to build with Denise's girl. But now I wonder if I will be able to do the same thing when Aoife's time comes. (She is only a year and a half, though. So that is thankfully a good distance away.)

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss, Todd. That is one of the hardest things to have to go through. My heart is breaking for you guys.

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    1. I appreciate the kind thoughts, Rhonda.

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  5. You have me in tears, my heart aches as I know how you feel. I hope Aiofe is snuggling close and not feeling the loss too much either.... take care of you xxxx

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    1. Aoife slept almost on top of me all night. In fact, she is at my feet now, curled up and just staring at where Arya used to lay.

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  6. very sorry for your loss. :-(

    our lives are so much better because of your doggie family members.

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    1. Thank you, April. And yes, our animals do make us better. And they seem to be excellent judges of character.

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