Two very good friends passed away. My story about Jean Cotton is told at
http://www.davidapope.com/2/post/2013/11/in-memory-of-jean-cotton-dvm.html, but the story about my other friend has not been told.
Maggie was a rescue bull terrier. She was taken from her owners in LaJunta and placed with us by the Mile High Bull Terrier Club (milehighbullterrierclub.com) after they picked her up from the animal shelter in Pueblo, Colorado. When she came to us, she had a scar and partially open wound that ran the length of her snout. Her hocks were swollen, bruised and there were several open wounds. She also had an odd skin condition that manifested itself in bumps on her side.
We were told that she refused to go through doors and that she really didn't like food. Also that she would keep to herself and not really be a part of the group.
Well, after we picked her up, Missy and I stayed the night at a hotel with her and our male bull terrier, Twinkie. We picked up fast food, sat down to eat and looked over to see Maggie with drool just pouring our of her mouth. So much for not being interested in food. She also had no issues with doors and wanted to be right next to us (especially Missy) wherever we went.
Maggie became the truest of friends and our constant companion for five years. She helped me through my illness in 2008 when I almost died and she was always there to talk to when we needed a good listener.
Maggie also passed away last week. She passed away in my arms as we were rushing her to the vets when she stopped breathing. I performed canine CPR the whole way, but it was too late by the time the vets were able to start their work. It was one of the toughest things I have ever done to let go of her and stop the CPR when I was told she was gone. I kept trying long after I should have, but she would not wake up.
We will miss Maggie terribly. But as in all things, we had to let her go.
Every career comes to an end. Every phase in our lives passes into a new phase. The question isn't whether or not it will happen. The question is when.
For some of us, the endings come with retirement. For some of us, the ending is the final passing from this world to the next. Again, it's not if, but when.
Jean Cotton dedicated her life to her girls and to the animals she so loved. The world lost a true jewel this week when it lost her. Maggie burrowed her way into our hearts and left a hole as wide as the Grand Canyon when she left. And the world is a little less whole than it was with her in it.
There is no class on when to hold on and when to let go. We do not take training courses on it and there is nothing that adequately prepares us for the inevitability of death or other sudden and drastic changes. We just have to somehow assimilate the changes into our lives. I heard a line from a song one time that said that as we get older there are "too many goodbye's and too few hello's".
Where am I going with this? What business purpose do I have for writing this? I am not sure there is one. I suppose some genius consultant out there can give you his "awesome super 10 step program for dealing with sudden change or tragedy". But I can tell you I do not have the answers. I think maybe this blog is just a way for me to hold onto the memories and to my anger and fear for just a few minutes longer in the hopes that I will achieve some sort of revelation or epiphany that will help me to deal with the inevitable finality of change. Or maybe writing about it will just help me to let go.
I am in many ways happy for Maggie. She is no longer in pain and she gets to be with Twinkie again - he passed away in 2009. Maybe someday we will see them again. That is a hope I can hold on to.