I've always called her, “my best birthday present ever” and tomorrow is my birthday! …What are the chances she dies on my birthday???
These are my thoughts. I've been bawling my face off all day.
I'm alone here at the cottage. Just me and my aged, dying, birthday present. My husband is gone up north fishing with his brother. It was supposed to be a chance for me to get lots of work done on creating and fine-tuning my online Self -Confidence courses – with no distractions.
Like a “retreat”!
This afternoon, I carried K.C. and carefully plopped her on the ground near me while I picked a gallon of Nan King Cherries to make into fresh jam. Her breathing is very weak and shallow. She has refused to eat all day. She looks like she's drunk when she stands, and she can't walk at all today. She is very old and on her last days.
15 years ago, when our kids were quite young we decided to get a small dog. The kids named her K.C (the ‘K' for my husband's name Kelly, and the ‘C' for my name Cyndie). Since K.C. was born on the 4th of July and we got her shortly after, this was near my own birthday so I've always claimed her as MY “best birthday present ever!”
She's super smart and well behaved and I do take credit for training her! In fact, whenever my husband has fed her food from the table, (something I am strictly opposed to) I would tell him to stop “ruining my birthday present”.
He said, “She deserves a good life!” and continued to feed her ‘human food' while we were eating. She soon began to staaaare at him at the dinner table… then if that didn't get his attention, she would make kind of a sneezing sound… or paw at the water dispenser and eventually growl or bark.
Of course, I would say something like, “See what you've trained her to do.”
So, tonight, I TRIED to get her to eat something. Since no one else is here to see me go against my own long standing beliefs, I even broke down and tried to feed her “human food” – from the table!
It's just her and me alone here. It's her last few moments on this Earth so we can bend the “rules” if we want to, right? She's so weak, and she hasn't eaten anything at ALL today.
Nope… she wasn't interested. She just turned her face away.
K.C has been a huge part of our family.
She has her own lifejacket and has always loved going for boat rides, feeling that fresh wind in her face. She's even gone for rides on the tube behind the boat, but I'd be stretching it if I said she “loved” that! Too scary for her.
What she DID love was being near her family!
Today, as I picked Nan King Cherries with my “best birthday present EVER” laying right beside me, her breathing so shallow, my tears making it hard to see the berries on the branches, this was the perfect time to reflect on what she has taught me over the 15 years that she's been such a huge part of our lives.
Here are The 10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog:
1) Drop whatever you're doing when someone comes home… rush over to them and show them how HAPPY you are to see them!
Really notice them! Ask how their day was and actually listen.
I'm still working on this one.
Just imagine if a person in your life did that for you each day! How wonderful would that make you feel. Let's try it!
I HAVE gotten it almost without fail, when one of my people is about to LEAVE the house! I've made a conscious effort to run over to them, give them a long hug – at least 20 seconds – (count it out 'til you get used to that duration!) and wish them an awesome day!
This has been absolutely wonderful … for all of us. Hugs are good for your health! They increase your Oxytocin and leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling, and this positively impacts your entire day.
The next big Life Lesson I've learned from my dog is,
2) Do what makes you happy!
That could even mean rolling around in a pile of bat guano when no one's looking (if you have one handy!) You can deal with the consequences. It's never as bad as you think it's going to be!
3) When you make a mistake, it's ok to feel bad…for about 30 seconds!
If you have an accident on the floor, for example, hang your head, hide under the table briefly. Go ahead, feel really bad!
And then quickly get OVER it and get on with your life – like as if nothing ever happened! There's no point in wasting THIS moment beating yourself up about THAT moment that's passed.
4) Be friendly!
Greet EVERYONE with enthusiasm! Huge smile. Sometimes your whole body might wiggle with excitement!
Always stop and greet others. No matter what you've got going on in your day, you are never “too busy” to stop and happily greet others that you meet along your path.
5) Enjoy getting outside for walks!
Look forward to it ever single day. Look around! Enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the smells in your environment.
6) Get lots of sleep!
If you're tired, take a nap. Rest helps you to replenish your energy and reframe your perspective.
7) Get frisky! Play.
Don't be afraid of looking silly or of “not acting your age.” Life is meant to be fun! Do what makes you feel good.
K.C. loved to play with balloons! She would chase then, find the knot, grab it and shake it, and bump the balloon with her paws or nose! Sometimes the balloon would pop and this only startled her briefly.
Whenever someone came to our home she would run and get a toy from her toy bin and bring it over to them at the door so they could throw it for her.
People are People. There's no point in being shy or reserved!
Put yourself out there, and others will respond positively to you and your efforts.
8) Physical contact is really nice.
K.C. has always loved being “near” someone. Near… as in physically touching. You need to feel the warmth and touch of another living being She loved to be stroked, and loved just laying right alongside someone.
We all need more physical contact.
In a time where it's becoming taboo to touch others for fear of it being misconstrued as “inappropriate”, and worrying about the other person's “intentions,” we just might have gone too far to the other side. We are too “hooked up” to our cold, impersonal electronic devices and not in physical “contact” with others enough.
Loving, caring, “appropriate” touch is welcome and required for our well-being. If it doesn't feel good to you, it's simple. Do what K.C. would do, let that person know, and move away.
9) Don't be afraid to get dirty!
Staying clean and “proper” and trying to look “perfect” just stifles your creativity and your overall life enjoyment!
Who cares what anyone else thinks of you? The people that matter will ultimately accept you for who you are.
Dig right into messy situations, swim in the muck. You will be able to get “cleaned back up” after it's all over with.
And finally, here's something that's a bit ‘out there” for you to consider…?
10) Be open to the concept of “Spirit.”
You know, I didn't really consider this much until today…. A lot of ancient religeons believe in reincarnation. Of animals, humans, of all living things!
What if we are. And every living being IS a ‘Spirit' – in a physical body. And each ‘Spirit' is eternal and never dies, it simply moves on from one physical body to another body… human… animal… tree?
Just because you or I might not “believe” in this, doesn't mean it isn't real…or possible!
So…Today, as I held the little face of my frail and fragile K.C. and looked into her eyes, I said to her, (with tears filling my own eyes, my voice cracking, hardly able to say these words out loud)
Thank you for 15 wonderful years of love, and fun times! Thank you for the amazing family memories! You have blessed and enriched my life and the lives of my entire family.
IF your spirit DOES come back, reincarnated as something else, I DO hope to meet you again because it's been absolutely glorious spending time with you this time around!
I love you so much!
And so to sum it all up:
K.C. has mostly taught me about unconditional love.
Not to judge myself or others.
Just know that everyone is doing their best.
Enjoy life. Play. Have fun! Get dirty.
Get over it! Don't beat yourself up!
Love others, exactly as they are!
The circle of life does involve death.
Don't let the potential Pain of Loss stop you from deeply loving.
… And possibly? Move on.
all over again…
It “IS” better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all.
I knew she wasn't going to live forever. We are so fortunate to have 15 years of wonderful memories.
K.C. did die on the night of my birth-day. That makes this day even more special.
She will always be “My Best Birthday Present EVER!”
I got a phone call yesterday and the lady on the phone said, “KC is ready to be picked up.” (It sounded sooo nice… just like the call I used to get when KC was ready to be picked up from the groomers.
I said, “Wow, that was fast!” (I had just dropped her off the day before.) And the lady said, “We try to get your loved ones back home to you as soon as possible.” (That also sounded so nice…)
She rode home on my lap… just like old times…