The last few days, I have been reminded more than usual of the love I had for my sweet Baby girl.. A friend with that similar deep connection with her dog is also going through the ugly reality of facing cancer in her best friend. In my experience in caring for Baby for those nine months she had an inoperable brain tumor, I did a ton or research on dogs and cancer. One of the things that helped those last few months was Canna Companion. Unfortunately it only became available to us in January 2015 (in her 7th month living with this diagnosis), but my belief is that had she been able to start it sooner, and more in the early stages, it could have helped a whole lot more... it helped tremendously with her seizures the last three months of her life.
I had all kinds of supplements and holistic things that I had tried on Baby. There was absolutely NO medical hope for her condition, so the vet said to try anything. He didn't condone one thing specifically, but he did say at this point, there was nothing he could do more.
It's crazy to me how much a dog can impact your life, and just earlier today, I was speaking to my friend about Baby. Some people will never know that connection with an animal that is so special, you will forever have a little void in your heart that can never be filled with another being's love. I had grown up with animals my life as a child, but Baby was my first dog as an adult - and the one animal that made me completely aware of the connection of hearts between two different species. She came into my life when she was two and a half. She had never been spoiled, loved, the way I was going to spoil her. She had been rehomed a few times, had some major separation anxiety, and I was determined to make this home be THE one she would always have. I even went so far to make arrangements for her if something happened to me and I couldn't care for her. She would never know life on a chain ever again.
I think of her often. She was a big part of the reason I bought this farm house. I made a promise to her years ago, that one day she would have a farm to run around on. No fences, no leashes, just free running.....and for eight months, that is what she did. Her cancer did not stop her from enjoying life on the farm until the last two months. Then we took her out on a leash, but only because of the doctor's recommendations. He was afraid that she might have a 'spell' and run away those last few months, and we did not want to chance that...
....anyway, my point here is that I have always been an animal lover, always appreciated them, but SHE was the one that taught me about that real heart connection, that made me completely aware of the unconditional love that she ALWAYS had for Christian and I, and she never had a bad day where she didn't feel like cuddling, or taking a run in the field. She was always up for anything we wanted to do. Car ride? YES! Go for a walk? YES!
I feel so lucky to have gotten the time with her that I did, and when I came back home from dealing with my dad's estate back in June of last year, I brought my dad's horse and dog with me to the farm. I was really not in a place emotionally (or so I thought) that I would have taken in a dog so soon after Baby passed away, but this was a special situation. It was my dad's dog, Eddie Ray. An old pasture dog that never knew a life inside. Now months later, he is just as spoiled as Baby was, and he has also stolen my heart. He was the cure for my heartbreak..... ;)
I can't imagine what would have happened to him had I not taken him in. No one ever takes in the older dogs... I have become just as connected to Eddie as I was to Baby. She will never be replaced, but the timing was perfect. As much as I wasn't ready to have another dog, the universe had other plans. To show me that I could love another ol' dog the way I loved Baby. Life goes on. We learn lessons, and we learn to love, even after loss. Eddie will NEVER be able to run free on the farm unless I can afford to get it all fenced, because he takes off fast for an old man and enjoys that freedom a little more than I feel comfortable with - ha!
Eddie is also a senior, and I know that one day, he too will be responsible for a little void in my heart, but I cannot imagine my own life without experiencing that love! He has taught me a lesson in all this as well, and that is that after a broken heart from loss, it doesn't make any sense to withhold love for fear of getting heartbroken again and again. There is always gonna be some very appreciative creature in need of some love, and all living things will pass through this physical life eventually. I know now that one day Eddie is gonna leave, that I will always have a dog around, and each one will have a special place in my heart always.