I always thought there was something unusual about this. Most 14-year-old dogs do not have the exercise capacity, strength or agility of a four year old. But Misty had.
In March I observed as she approached a three foot high wire fence, saw no way under or through it, and launched herself into the most beautiful, graceful leap, clearing the top of it with ease, and landing gently in the grass, to spin round and ask for the frisbee to be thrown.
I watched her all through that night, waiting -as advised- for her internal bleeding to stop. It might have done. It had stopped before, and recovering her strength, she had got on with life.
She had a great will to live.
She was an outdoor dog, never happier than when ranging for miles through fields and woods, and as her years advanced, she showed no signs of slowing-down.
For those who read Misty's Blog-you will know that on June 5th 2012 she succumbed to Hemangiosarcoma. This fit, happy, almost supernormally-strong dog, who defied all signs of aging (she was nearly 15) -lay down on her bed on the night of the 4th June, and couldn’t get up.
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She lived like that every day, had basic good health, no chronic conditions, and surmounted any odds (two lots of successful breast surgery in the Spring of 2012.) I was convinced she had many years still in her, and hoped she would die an “old lady”, in her bed aged perhaps eighteen. It was feasible.
I had never known a dog like her; a good girl, obedient, sociable, loving, loyal and sweet-natured, with an elegance and grace of character of such an exquisite kind I had never met before in a dog.
She was my Soul Friend. I have no children, but even so, I never felt that she was my "baby". She was never treated as a baby, but as a dog. Yet our close connection was never that of "owner" and "pet". It cut across those boundaries.
There was no species-barrier, she was sister to me, companion, equal, the one I loved. In life it was just the two of us, as friends and most of my family had died.
Yes I was her protector, but equally, she was mine. Thanks to her companionship she restored me to the place I belonged.
However, on that last night, I was the one in charge. At 6 a.m., with no improvement -instead, a sudden worsening of symptoms, and with a dreadful prognosis for her blood cancer, I made the terrible decision protectors often have to make. To have her euthanised.
She passed away quickly and peacefully. The whole procedure took only five seconds. I heard her last breath being taken as I held her gently, whispering to her to go to sleep, that it was alright now.
After that last breath an awful silence started. A silence like no other.
Her body went to the earth, for she had always loved the earth, her feet had always smelled of it. I planted flowers above her, and a little solar light to shine out in the darkness.
And my grieving began. I had never known a devastation like it.