Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Dark Tail

I miss my dog.

This may not seem like an appropriate topic for a weight loss blog, but I assure you that there is a small connection, and – quite frankly – I really just need to get this off my chest.

I had my fabulous canine companion for nearly fifteen years, having received him as a birthday gift when I was a teenager. I moved out and he stayed at my childhood home, but whenever I visited it was obvious that he was my dog. There was a bond between us that only pet owners ever really understand. He rubbed his eyes on my legs to show his affection, and he sneezed when he was happy.

He got old. He was over 100 in ‘dog years’ at the end. He finally stopped eating and we had to put him down. He fell asleep for the last time with his chin resting in my lap and my fingers brushing through the thick, black fur on the top of his head.

I think about him a lot. I thought about him today because I had to go into the local veterinary’s office to ask a question about my cat – another animal with whom I have a deep bond. They brought up my dog and I had to tell them that he has been gone for a few years now. I managed to hold it together.

Then, when I settled in to do a little blog reading earlier tonight, I came across a post at Escape From Obesity that talks about viewing ourselves with the same unconditional love that our pets give to us. It was a touching essay that had me in tears long before its conclusion and, again, my thoughts wandered to my late furry companion.

A little later my husband and I left to go and do the C25K. We pulled into the parking lot at the local track, but were a little thrown off by the fact that there was a group of teenagers gathered. We decided to look at a nearby high school to see if there was an alternative pathway to run around without the audience. As we drove up the main street, away from the park, we slowed to pass by a police car stopped on the side of the road with its lights on.

In front of the vehicle, being protected from oncoming traffic by the gentler arm of the law, was a black dog laying dead in the street.

Almost instantly the tears started running down my face again. I was devastated for the owner of the beautiful canine, heartbroken that an animal had suffered such a fate, and sad for myself that my own wonderful pooch is not still around. It took me a good five minutes to compose myself and then I broke down again when my husband and I were pulled over talking about it. We decided to honour the fallen dog in the only way we could at that moment and we circled back, with a handful of daffodils hastily picked from the side of the road, and laid them next to the head of the noble beast.

So when I wanted to turn around and go home without doing the C25K – because, believe me, the temptation to just throw in the towel for the day was huge – I decided to dedicate my run tonight to my dog and to the one who lost its life this evening. When I jogged through the darkness – and, yes, it took everything inside of me to still go through with that initial plan – I imagined both of those canines running beside me. And when I was fatigued – which was often and considerable given the emotional upheaval I had just put myself through – I thought about how those animals will never be able to feel the earth beneath their own feet again.

Sometimes when we don’t feel like we have the strength to do what needs to be done, we must shift perspective. It is usually enough for me to do something because I can, but – when that construct is not adequate to sustain the spirit I require to continue – I will complete what I must, instead, because there are others who can not.

- 9 glasses of water
- 1 pear
- 3 cups mixed salad with lettuce, shrimp, black olives, red and orange peppers, tomato, mushroom, onion, broccoli, green onion, and fat free Italian dressing
- 2 1/2 cups steamed asparagus with margarine
- 1 nectarine
- 3 cups spinach salad with cubed cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, apple, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free peach yogurt with 1/2 cup granola cereal

- 30 minute walk
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 3 of Week 4)


  1. Ok, you have officially reduced me to a puddle in the floor. My baby Scarlette is a year and a half old. I got her when she was 4 months old. Dwayne gave her to me as a Christmas gift the year before this past one. Sometimes when I'm snuggling with her, the tears just roll, knowing that one day I'll lose her.

    I've had outside pets before, family pets, etc....but never one that lived inside with me full-time and was always under my feet or in my arms....never one that was truly the center of my universe. I try to cherish every single moment with her, enjoy every single kiss from that furry little face, every little gaze from those sweet little loving eyes...and when her time comes, it will be snuggled in Momma's arms and nuzzled under my chin, just like every day that came before that.

  2. oh man, way to make me cry. such a great post. i'm so impressed that you did that run, there is no way i could have. i'm like tammy, too - i have a beagle named Parker, and when i nuzzle up to him i already get sad thinking about when i won't be able to do it anymore. and his muzzle gets more and more white everyday...but he balances it out with all of the puppy that's still in him!

    (ps yum and healthy food too!)

  3. What a tear jerking post! I think it is great that you went thru with your exercise anyway. Exercise got me thru the deaths of both my parents. I think some people may have thought it was weird but for me, it got me away from it all & was good for me.


  4. It was a rough night yesterday.

  5. This was quite a post for me to read while sitting at my desk at work (hospital). Took everything I had to hold back the tears. I lost my baby Jessi (Golden Retriever) in October. She was 16 years old. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. Some days I just look outside where she is buried on our property and I cry. I know exactly how you feel.

    What a lovely gesture that you laid flowers at the head of the poor dog on the road. You must be one special lady.


  6. I'm sorry, Heather. It's so hard to lose the amazing animals in our lives.

  7. How we love our pets! I read this post, also in tears, as my beloved dog PJ lay sleeping peacefully in his bed next to me. He's 4 years old now, and my running partner. I don't know what I'll do when his time comes. So many can relate to that strong bond we have with our pets. Thanks for sharing!

    Holly @ Making Over Me

  8. Heart breaking entry this one...

    I so want a dog - a small one, for companionship with living here, but know that I cant firstly we cant have animals where we live in our lease and then I go home often and who will look after the dog, wont be fair on the animal...