Another one of my friends over at Red Pine Mountain needs your prayers for her faithful companion, Faeden.
Please read the story below and thank you again for visiting.
September 21, 2010
If you don’t consider animals a part of your family, this post will make no sense to you. That’s okay. My Mother isn’t crazy about animals either but Mountain Man and I are and our dogs are an integral part of our family; our children really and they mean the world to us.
A little over 14 years ago, I brought home an 8 week old bouncing baby boy golden retriever. I was interested in competing in obedience trials back then and I wanted to work with a golden retriever, a breed known for their willingness and capacity to excel at any task. I found the perfect puppy, a bundle of red, wiggly fluff and our journey began.
We went to puppy kindergarten together. Faeden was so wild the instructor came up to me and said “There, there dear, at least he’s a good looking puppy.” She doubted the ability of my squirming, always barking pup to manage the simplest challenge but I knew better.
Time passed and we went on to compete in obedience trials and he never let me down. He was a joy; always willing to try what I asked and always happy.
After we left the competitive obedience world, I began to teach obedience; puppy class mostly, and Faeden always accompanied me as my demo dog and partner. I told my students not to give up on their wild puppies because they would mature into remarkable dogs if given the chance and there was Faeden showing them just how a wild puppy can turn into a wonderful, mature dog.
When that chapter in our lives ended, we started visiting nursing homes and he brought joy to everyone he met as he seemed to know what each person needed. Maybe a wag of the tail or perhaps just some quiet time.
When my husband was killed, it was Faeden who kept me going. He slept with me in my big, empty bed, sat quietly with me for hours consoling me while I cried nonstop into his silky fur. He was my rock.
Then came Mountain Man and Faeden found a new dad who loved him as much as I did. “Old men together.” Mountain Man would always say to him as they’d sit by the wood stove or on the deck relaxing.
Age 14 came and Faeden was still going strong; a little slower and a little whiter but happy and healthy. Early this summer, he started to limp and I took him to the vet. The diagnosis was a little arthritis and the treatment was rest and some short walks and no more stairs. Mountain Man put in ramps everywhere and Faeden improved.
Last week was his 15th birthday and time for his physical. “I want to x-ray that shoulder.” the vet said. “Just to see what’s going on.” I suspected nothing. I was thinking the worst I’d hear was the arthritis was progressing. But the vet suspected something else.
The next day, she called me into her office, picked up the x-rays and showed me the bad news. There on the x-ray, clear as day, bone cancer. Six months left to live if we’re lucky, probably only a couple. A rapid moving, painful cancer that will travel into the lungs. Options? Not much for a dog his age. Amputation of the limb and chemotherapy but neither option will increase his life span.
I left in shock. How could my healthy appearing dog be dying? I couldn’t grasp the concept. I spent the day crying and the night throwing up from crying so much and then I cried some more the next day. I am not ready to let go. I’m not ready to lose my best friend.
But it’s not about me. It’s about Faeden. And saying goodbye to the best friend I’ve ever had who has always been there for me. I have gathered my strength and with the help of Mountain Man, we shall make these last days he is with us special and happy and when he tells us he is ready to leave, I will do all in my power to ease his final journey. He would do it for me. He’s my best friend.
That is why my dear friends I’ve been sad. Thank you for all your support and comments. They mean so much to me.