A week ago, I drafted 2 blog posts. Each just needed a read-through and some pictures, and I’d have a post ready for the next 2 weeks! I was going to publish the first one this past week, but I was derailed–bigtime.
I got a phone call from my vet Monday morning to let us know that our first dog, Abigail, has kidney disease.
She had a high reading on some tests, and then we had an ultrasound done. We knew the result could be cancer (thank goodness, it’s not), an infection (the best case scenario, which it also was not), or kidney disease.
I’m coming to learn the diagnosis is not uncommon and that there’s plenty we can do to slow the progression down. Plus my Abigail is not showing any symptoms.
But, man, I lost it.
I was done for. I spent the week crying and feeling crappy. I didn’t feel well enough to finish up either blog post.
Though I grew up with a dog, I never had a pet of my own before Abigail. One reason I avoided adopting a dog is that I know they don’t live as long as we do. I also didn’t want the extra work or to have to be home as much as a pet requires.
I always felt lucky that I had been out of the house for years before the laborador I grew up with passed. I remember being struck with sadness coming into my parents’ house without being greeted by our black lab. Those moments were few, though, and my parents had it much harder than I had.
I chose not to ask the vet very much other than what we need to do now to keep my black and tan coonhound Abigail as healthy as she can be for now. I don’t really want to think of a timeline at this point.
But that’s where I went. I started thinking about a time without her and it’s just too hard.
I get so much from my dogs, and I love caring for them. So for the rest of this post, I’m going to focus on why my Abigial and is so awesome. My Scarlet is equally awesome. More about her in another post though.
Abigail follows me everywhere. She’s in her bed in my office behind me right now. If I leave to go to the living room, she’ll likely follow in 5 minutes or so. If she’s comphy enough, though, she’ll stay in the office. Sometimes when I am cleaning the house, she will follow me from room to room. I tell her I’ll be right back, but I have to close the door so she stays.
When I get the leashes out for our twice daily walk, she jumps on me, just about every time. I have learned to step back and catch her front paws so I don’t get scratched up by her unkempt nails (which are my fault). She also jumps all over me and does a little scoot where her but is low to the ground when I have been gone for a day or so. I don’t need to be gone for but an hour or so to get a more subdued greeting. Whereas Scarlet may stay in bed when I am walking into the front door, Abigail will be right there, on the front room couch or chair waiting for me.
Abigail is so soft. Like, really, I have never known a dog as soft as she is. She’s got short, sleek fur and she’s always nice and warm. Though she doesn’t like to be hugged for too long, she’ll let me snuggle her just a bit. I stuff my face into her fir and sniff her doggy smell. She also lets me kiss her snout. It’s a long snout so it’s hard to miss it.
Abigail is not always an easy dog. She’s so attached to me that she tries to ward off my Scarlet and my husband–not to mention guests I welcome into my home. She’ll bark and growl and that’s not really fun. Another struggle I have with her is that she is afraid of thunder and she will not be comforted by anything other than going into a corner. I can hug her and tell her it’s ok. I try to tell her I hear the thunder too so she doesn’t just think I’m oblivious to the danger. I’m not sure she gets it though. (Smiley face emoji).
Finally, I enjoy the joy I see in her when I take the dogs hiking or to the dog park. When we hike, she pulls and pulls and sniffs everything. When at the dog park, she goes around and sniffs the dogs and then she walks around a bit. She’s the designated greeter, and by that I mean she barks her head off at the dogs that are coming in. It drives me a bit nuts, but once the dogs are in the gate, she sniffs them and comes to check in with me to make sure everything is ok.
My dogs give me so much emotionally, it’s realy amazing. They calm me and give me energy. Caring for them is part of the fun. And instead of me feeling guilty because I am away from them, I want to be home with them.
We’ve had our Abigail for 7 years now and I could not have guessed how much I would love her. If love was all she needed to live, she’d be with my the rest of my life. All I can promise her, though, is to be with her the rest of her life, and that is going to have to be enough.
Peace Out (and In),
Deb2 years ago
Beautiful pictures of your dogs! Your post reminds me how dogs are experts at living in the moment. I can learn from them.
Julie2 years ago AUTHOR
Anne2 years ago
Thanks for sharing your feelings about Abigail’s diagnosis and who she is to you. Beautiful.
Julie2 years ago AUTHOR
Jeanette2 years ago
Abigail loves you so very much! These are beautiful pictures, and this post honors your love for each other. Enjoy each day with her and Scarlett!
Julie2 years ago AUTHOR
Lisa2 years ago