ANSEL AUGUST 2008 (Not happy behind that fence)
Today marks the fourth day since Ansel died. I have been on a roller coaster of emotion since Sunday, having huge moments of grief and then rallying. Today is the first day I awoke without a huge feeling of loss. Every other morning greeted me with a tear in my eye upon waking. My first thought has been of her each and every morning.
Yesterday I had to take a deep breath of air in when I woke up to contain myself. You see, the mornings were always filled with Ansel duty. I had to take her out to pee, then give Ansel her breakfast so I could take her out to poop approximately an hour after eating (that's what worked best), then I had to give her a cocktail of medication for her eyes, a Prenizone eye drop in her right eye and a drop of Imuran in her left eye. Both of these drops had been administered for 7 years. Ever since her retinas detached when she was 1 1/2.
After the laborious job of morning meds were done, I would give her some healthy supplements, concealed in a bit of wet dog food. She was on a doggy vitamin, Glucosamine and Omega 3 fatty acids. Ansel would then go upstairs, but not before I put her dog booties on so she didn't scratch up the hardwood floors. At 8am I'd take her for walk quickly and then she'd begin her day of lounging while my wife and I went to work.
Mornings were perhaps our most involved time with Ansel and it's no wonder the grief has been the worst in the mornings. There is however, one thing that has kept me from completely losing it and that is the knowledge that I had 8 1/2 years with her. She was, as our vet told us when he heard of Ansel's death, the most cared for dog on the planet. And that she was. She cared for us and we cared for her.
I have found myself with memories coming to light that I thought I'd forgotten. Amazing times that I know I couldn't have shared with any other dog. When I think of these memories I am filled with an incredible amount of pleasure and happiness. I wouldn't trade those memories to get rid of the pain I now feel. In fact, I have learned to acknowledge the pain and grief for what it is and then quickly remind myself that although her life was shortened, it was still a great life. And she didn't have to go through the pain of old age that my parents dogs went through. She didn't have to go blind, or battle with incontinence. She didn't get arthritis, or hip pain like many Akitas do. She went out on the top, her body in very good health, still being able to enjoy all the things she loved. For this, I am very happy.
No amount of reasoning will ever convince me that my dogs death was a good thing, but I can look at the moments we shared and the fact that she didn't suffer and I can take great comfort in that.
The rest, time will heal. For now I am going to continue to think about her each and every morning and be very thankful for the time I did have with her.