September 20, 2009
My friend Carni moved onto that big fluffy dog bed in the sky yesterday. She was 17 years old, but it was still very difficult for all of us to say goodbye to her – Especially her mom and dad.
As a human being, dog lover, and as a veterinarian, one of the saddest things anyone has ever said to me was “At the end of the day it’s just a dog”. In the heartbreaking days and nights before I put my beloved Carni girl to sleep I thought a lot about this comment and what “just a dog” meant to me.
To My Sweet Carni:
Because you are “just a dog” you never learned to hold a grudge. You never complained when I hauled you back and forth between California, Oregon, Washington, Oregon and California again. You were happy as long as you were with me. (and we played Frisbee at all the rest stops).
Because you are “just a dog” you never learned anger. You just curled up next to me when we had to sleep in the car because we were “between homes”. It was cold and snowy those few nights, but you kept me warm in the back of that Isuzu Trooper.
Because you are “just a dog” you never learned what “moderation” meant. You ate motor oil, my tulip bulbs, sprinkler heads, chocolate and half my spice rack.
Because you are “just a dog” you only knew how to live in the moment. You swam with abandon in every lake, river, ocean and stream from here to Washington. And even made me go in after you with my clothes on. (To the delight of everyone watching on the shore).
Because you are “just a dog” you loved me ever single second of every single hour of every single day of your almost 17 years. Because you are “just a dog” you taught me that we only need 3 things in life…food, shelter and love. And that is what I gave you and you gave me your heart. You gave me joy, you gave me love. And because you are my oldest friend-I am giving you peace.
Because you are a light that has guided me through almost half my life I won’t watch you just “exist”. You have put me first for 17 years and now because you are “just a dog” and my best friend, I am putting you first. Your quality of life is more important than the heartache I will forever feel when you are gone. You are more important than the piece of me that will forever be missing when I can’t see your sweet face or watch your tail wag at the site of me.
Because, at the end of MY day…just a dog, named Carni, was all I ever needed.
I love you Carni girl.