There is always light through a tunnel, a down-time, as if a door closes it is a time of opportunity as a window will open and if you can get through it there are new opportunities ahead.

What? I’m the glass half-full gal? Yep. Better than half-empty.

I’ve a herding dog who is 14 and follows me everywhere within two minutes. I take her to the grocery store because she loves being in the car on her 4″ orthopedic mattress in back of her cargo gate and next to her water. She awakens on highways on off-ramps and gas stations, and on the road to the farm house my husband’s parents built 40 years ago in Texas. They have to give it up for a lake to make water for the Dallas Metroplex, so moved the cattle this week to a new home. I don’t know that Zoe will ever learn the smells of that new road and home away from home.

Today she did not awaken when I left her on the bed. I kept checking her breathing while I left her to write, and when I touched her to wake up The Hip-less Wonder jumped down on her own and had a great time with folks outside. She is losing her hearing, and her sight due to cataracts. She reminds me of my little brother and sister’s dog Nike who was catatonic at home but raised her tail to meet everyone on a walk.

I see light in her future and also a time to let her go. If you’ve a pup or grown dog learn broad hand signals for come, sit, stay, down and heel. I can touch her head and say “come” without saying a word and we go out. She eats as a chow hound, will eat any visiting dog’s food, so I don’t let her eat that, and has no problems on the other end.

Let’s let her faculties decline without major problems or the need for anesthesia. I will know when it is time and be with her until the end. My husband is tall and strong and has been a pallbearer many times. He doesn’t wish to be there to see our Zoe die but I made him promise 14 years ago to be there for her in life and death. I have to be there for her until the end of her, and our, light. She found her way to the office and is lying beside me. I need to assure final arrangements. She’s been staring at me so I took her for a second walk and everything was OK.

We decided on no anesthesia, no surgeries, no heroic means to keep her with us. Palliative care is OK but we never want her to suffer. She has passed tests to show she’s good physically and I know she’s way too smart mentally as she plays us all the time! She is just losing her senses of sight and sound for now. Again, broad movements for five basic tasks. She remembers all of them (plus turn around, roll over and high-five) for 14 years.

I dread the day that light goes out. Dee


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