Hunter was the best dog in the world.
She died last year at the age of 9.
She was such a good friend of mine.
I learned a lot through her life
I learned a lot through her death.
We can learn so much through the dark times.
But many of us don’t want to.
In the summer of 2011 just under a year before she passed I sat on the back step with her at my side as usual.
I knew that day she was not going to live much longer. ”
“She has about a year” I told some family and friends.
They just looked at me no one really ever says anything to me when I have premonitions.
I did not want to believe it. There was nothing wrong with her she was a gorgeous Golden Retriever who had stolen my heart the second I lay eyes on her.
When I was pregnant with my youngest child Hunter never left my side.
I had to sleep on an air mattress on the floor because my back and legs were so painful.
I would go to sleep with my arm draped over her and wake up with her face next to me a priceless grin on her face as she wiggled with a glee that can only come from Golden Retriever.
When I suffered a miscarriage of one of my twins my Hunter laid her head on my lap while I wept bitterly.
Her long eyelashes flickering at each sob.
She never left me she never told me to stop or be strong she just comforted me.
Every morning she greeted me the same way,face scrunched up with her Goden grin her butt wiggling “YOU ARE THE BEST PERSON EVER ” her body screamed!!
If I had trouble standing up Hunter would stand next to me and I would hold onto her collar steadying myself.
She was never trained for anything she just did those kinds of things as if the love she possessed inherently taught her to do them.
When I gardened she sat at my side well she sat on my side through it all.
Digging happily away as I weeded being ever so helpful.
She was always next to me.
The comfort she gave me was tangible.
A month before she died she started to have trouble breathing.
I noticed lumps on her chest they had appeared so quickly.
I was immediately alarmed.
The Vet told us she had an infection and gave us anti-biotics and some pain medication.
She would seem better for a few days then she would start to huff and puff when she breathed.
We went back to the Vet 5 times in one month, they did numerous x-rays took numerous vials of blood and urine.
They claimed nothing was wrong save for some type of infection.
300 400 dollars each visit~
At one of her last visits we saw a different Vet.
She took her for a a series of scans then brought a bedrazzled Hunter back to the exam room she was shaking as she walked.
I held onto her quivering form, poor girl.
She licked my face.
We were asked to come into the Vet’s office
I did not like to leave my Hunter in the exam room but went anyway the lump in my throat rising.
it’s times like these I don’t want to be a grown up.
“It’s not good news” the vet told us darkly.
“it is cancer it has spread through her whole chest and stomach”
“It’s going into her lungs”.
“How long” I asked.
“A month if she is lucky” was the answer.
“But wait” I sort of wailed “how did the other Vet not see the cancer last month?”
“It was not showing in the scan” She told me.
It was not showing in the scan?
The dog had her stomach and lungs covered with cancer and it was not showing.
There was no answer.
I did not wait for one.
I wanted to get back to my friend..maybe there was something I could do.
Maybe a different vet?
Maybe more tests?
My heart was breaking my mind screamed at me a series of unanswerable questions.
When I came back into the exam room there she was waiting sitting on the floor leaning against the cabinet breathing heavily.
There was nothing left to do.
The tears finally came.
Flowing down my face like they did when I was 5 and not concerned about it.
Hunter began to wag her tail as soon as she saw me.
She was having the worst time breathing and was clearly in pain but yet she still had the love and loyalty to greet me in such a spectacular way.
They asked if I wanted her to die at home with pain medications or did I want her to be put to sleep there that day.
“well she can’t suffer anymore I don’t want her to suffer anymore” was my answer
“She’s not breathing very well now and it will not get better” I was told.
This was true the night before she had laid on the floor half on the couch cushion struggling for breath it was unnecessary suffering.
So…she died in my arms that day.
Snuggled up together one last time.
She was calm and wagging her tail right before she left me.
Making sure we were always comforted.
My tears dropped on her fur making it glisten.
I whispered to her softly and gently stroked her head.
“Thank you so much” I said over and over.
“Thank you so much for being the best dog I ever had.You are such sweet girl”
I pray she understood.
I think she did.
She had slipped quietly away.
I held her and looked in her eyes and talked to her for 20 minutes after she passed.
I buried my face in her fur and I wept like a baby.
“It’s ok to go now sweetheart you can go play now”
I whispered in her ear.
“Such a great dog you are”
A tech came in to the room asked if I was done I said I was not.
I guess she thought she was out of earshot but I heard her.
“Its only a dog” she complained,”what is she going to do have a service in there?”
You know I am a pretty strong woman fairly opinionated.
I am known to open my mouth and speak my mind from time to time but that day I said nothing.
Not one word.
I hugged my Hunter one last time and left.
That day I learned so much through the death of my dog.
I learned the this world is in bad shape.
It is happening slowly but it is happening.
It is insidious like a virus.
People are getting ugly.
Comments on youtube videos , comments and posts on Facebook social media has taught me a lot about the true colors of people.
The anonymity of the internet allows people to be less inhibited like when they drink.
It all hangs out on the internet and much of it is ugly.
I learned that many of us do not realize what we have.
Life is under appreciated these days.
Much is overlooked or not even looked at.
People take so much for granted.
Their kids their spouses their friends.
So many of us are in competition to see who can get the most ‘things”
So many are jealous over their neighbors successes.
So many fail to see what they truly have.
Sometimes it takes one moment in time to see the big picture sometimes it takes only one loss of a precious friend to realize what treasures we have.
What treasure we have taken for granted.
What was “only a dog” to some was a creature who had been blessed with the loving spirit of God our creator who shown through her in her love and loyalty.
I learned that day to never take for granted what I have.
Who is in my life.
And that things do not last but love does.
And that God in God’s infinite humility can and will use creatures like a Golden retriever to teach us.
You can learn a lot from a dog.