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.