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These souls we love

September 17th, 2009

Last night was a rough one chez Swenson-Tiano. You probably know that Sandra’s been in Edmonton for a few weeks taking care of her family after her mom’s knee surgery, so the boys and I are home alone, living the oh-so-exciting single life. We found a great dog walker to take them for runs in the afternoon, so I’ve been working as usual, getting home between 6 and 6:30 most nights to spend the evening with Cooper and Jackson.

When I got home last night, I thought everything was fine. Cooper and Jackson were both ecstatic to see me, doing little dances around the living room. And, they both enthusiastically devoured dinner, then a post-dinner dessert of frozen organic yogurt. (Lucky dogs, eh?)

Around 8, I noticed that Cooper was acting weird; just sitting in the backyard and staring at me. Sitting. Not laying. Not playing. Not walking around. I tried to call him in, and he still didn’t move. I brought out a dog treat and held it a foot in front of his face and he didn’t move. When I jumped down into the yard (we have no back steps), he came right over and jumped into the house, so I didn’t think much of it.

Until an hour later.

In the middle of the living room, he was just sitting. In the middle. Not doing anything else. Not following me, as usual, when I went to the kitchen for some ice cream. I started to worry.

A little later, he was standing with his tail between his legs and crying softly and I knew we had to rush to the vet. Did he eat something? Was he sick? What happened???

We drove downtown, Cooper on the passenger seat just crying next to me. We waited. And waited. And waited. And then waited some more for xrays to come back. And thankfully, everything looked ok. Thankfully, everything looked like maybe he just felt a little sick from something he picked up in the park.

After the vet reassured me that the xrays would have shown serious problems or Cooper would be vomiting or worse, we went back home and I tried to sleep.

This thing about love is hard. I tend to forget that, inevitably, Cooper and Jackson will get old, will get sick, and will leave me. And so it is with every soul that I love. My family, my friends, these beloved hundred pound drool monsters…. everyone. I tend to forget the natural impending loss that will happen at one point or another. And how much that’s going to hurt. And maybe I also tend to forget to be thankful for the brief time we all have together.

I’m reminded sometimes that love is both a blessing and a curse. It’s so great to care that much, and feel that joy. But it’s always tempered with more than a little fear of loss.

Last night, I lay in bed, Cooper stretched out next to me, worn out from being sick, from being stressed, and from his late-night adventure. And I felt like we dodged a big bullet. He’s two and a half. He’s just a kid, really. But last night, maybe for the first time, I realized that no matter what, some day, I’m going to lose him.

And I’ll never be ready.

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15 Responses to “These souls we love”

  1. CJ Says:

    Nope, you never are. Lovely sentiments.

  2. Kristen Says:

    I’m so relieved to hear that Cooper’s gonna be fine. I feel the same way about my Packet. While she’s a cat, which is SO TOTALLY NOT THE SAME as a dog (she spends much of her day glaring at me rather than trying to impress me), Darren tells me that she goes crazy when I leave the house. I dread the day when I have to say good-bye to her. I realize this is a negative way to look at the short time we have together, so I keep that thought as far away from the surface as I can. I’ve lost pets before, though – both violently and from old age – and it’s the same as losing a family member. In some cases, it’s -exactly- the same.

    So thanks for the update on Cooper. It’s plain from your posts and pictures that Coop and Jackson are Your Boys and that you love them with all your heart.

  3. Adriene Says:

    I’m so relieved he is doing well. I feel the same about my little dog. My heart has the same pangs when I realize he will not be here forever, nor will any of the ones I love. Just a reminder that we should cherish them while we can, with all our hearts.

  4. kristin Says:

    Oh, Amy, I know exactly how you feel. Gracie has always had problems with one of her dewclaws, ripping it off every winter. Now she has two nails coming out of it, and the vet recommended getting the dewclaw removed. We decided to do it, but I am very, very sad and worried. She means the world to me, and sometimes I wonder if I love her too much, you know? Surgery is Tuesday. I am going to be a mess.

    I’m so glad Cooper’s okay. Poor dude. But good for him (and you!) for knowing something was wrong.

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    So true, we really never are ready to say goodbye to the ones we love. One of the most beautiful things about dogs is how easy they are to love and how willing they are to share their lives. Unfortunately, those lives are always just too short.

    I’m glad he’s feeling better.

  6. Melanie Says:

    you have a knack with words, my girl. i couldn’t agree with your thoughts more. cherish every moment.

  7. Dana Says:

    I’m happy to hear Cooper is okay. I can’t even imagine what life will be like without the pets I love! (Or rather, I don’t even want to imagine it– the thought makes me sad.) 🙁

  8. judi Says:

    oh my! I am so glad Cooper is fine. I love that dog. Judi

  9. Lorraine Says:

    I’ve been reading for a while. But felt compelled to comment today.

    So glad to hear he’s going to be ok. I too have a furry child. He’s 10 this year. And I notice the changes in him. I’ve lost pets in the past, but I know this boy is different. He was adopted… abused when I got him. But he clung to me from the very beginning. And it took years to get him comfortable and for the nightmares to go away. Now I can’t imagine life without him. May it be MANY years before you have to face their loss.

  10. marnie Says:

    So Glad Cooper is OK. I look at Ginger and her snout is gray, her little paws are turning white. She’ll be 11 this fall and I know she’s in her senior years… but I can’t imagine not having her. Loving is risky business… but it’s worth it isn’t it?

  11. Deirdre Says:

    So glad he’s okay!! I think that’s the hardest things about bringing animals into your world, is knowing that there is an inevitable end – my dogs are both 8, and with every groan while stretching and stumble up stairs, I am reminded of it –

  12. Karen Says:

    Poor Cooper! I he’s feeling better soon. I am very lucky to have an animal specialty center right around the corner from me. They are wonderful and compassionate! When Tinycat was ill, they took as good care of me as they took of her.

  13. Shell Says:

    I hope Cooper is feeling better. I’ve only ever seen him at full gallop so I would be worried too if he just sat there. Luckily they are resilient.

    After losing one dog to cancer, another to old age (both at 18 yrs of age) and my lovebird to egg binding in the past 3 years, nothing can prepare you for their loss, but I would have done it all again and with the addition of more Cockatiels and a new dog (1.5years already) I try to remind myself how truly blessed I am.

  14. Christiane Says:

    So glad Cooper is okay. I completely understand what you mean – I’m fairly sure I’d be lost without my little furry Gracie to keep me going.
    Took her to a friend’s house yesterday to be watched while I had other plans and when I picked her up, discovered she had thrown up all night. I was a hot mess driving back to my house and promptly snuggled with her for most of the night.
    What would we ever do without these 4-leggers in our lives?

  15. Judy G. Says:

    I am so glad Cooper’s feeling better. did the vet mention the possibility of a petit-mal seizure? Our Dalmatian had several- never actually diagnosed with epilepsy, and he didn’t seem any the worse for wear after, but it was hard on all of us. thank heavens the vet didn’t mind the 2 am phone calls…

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