My one and only male dog Xander fainted today. He was sitting on the picnic table at my dog park (his favorite place to lounge), and he just stood up with a glazed look on his face, then proceeded to fall off the table. Luckily, he hit the bench on the way down, somewhat breaking his fall. It looked almost cartoonish, but it scared the life out of me. Two seconds later, he was walking around as if nothing had happened, just enjoying the extra attention he was getting from us. As of right now he seems completely fine - no issues whatsoever.
That got me thinking about all the other dogs that we have taken care off over the years and how many of them have passed. When a dog that I have taken care of for years dies, it feels like I've lost a friend, a piece of my life. I find myself going through all the memories we had together - the walks, the playgroups, the fun times hanging out with the gang. A chapter has ended in my life. Things are different - my schedule changes, I come up with a new driving route - real-world reminders of the loss.
Each time I have to say goodbye to one of the dogs in my care, it hurts. It leaves me with a sense of guilt for my own dogs. Could I spend more time with them? Could I feed them better? Could I take them on longer walks? The guilt consumes me for days.
I love my dogs, and I care for them intensely. They rarely get left alone (even then, are 4 dogs being left together really alone?) I feed them the best raw food I can find. I don't take vacations unless they are short weekends and we can bring the dogs with us. I have my own dog park, and the gang gets to spend 3 or 4 hours a day there. So I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do.
When we make the decision to share our lives with dogs, we know going into the relationship that we will most likely outlive them. Even being prepared with this knowledge, the end is still difficult. But the rewards of sharing your life are worth the heartache.
Anyway, not trying to be a downer. Just sharing my thoughts after Xander gave me such a scare.