A married father of two riding his way through the crazy life of parenthood, trying to balance family, work and training for an upcoming marathon and Half Ironman triathlon. It's a process. It's a gift. It's life. LIVE IT!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Letting Go

Every day, through good times and rough ones, she was there. Never questioning my decisions or paths, never second guessing my choices. Blotches Hamilton was a loyal friend...by my side for nearly half of my life. Yes my world has changed quite a bit in a decade and a half. There have been jobs, moves, my mom's battle with cancer, a marriage, two kids and countless other changes, but she was a constant. Tuesday I was forced to make a decision no one ever wants to make. At 14, the adventures we'd both engaged in had taken a toll on Blotches' body and it was time to say goodbye.

A hard goodbye to be sure, but one that brought up such incredible memories. Blotches was with me as I climbed the highest mountains I've climbed and never left my side at my lowest points. Come to think of it, she knows more about my history than anyone else on earth. And even knowing EVERYTHING she didn't care. She stood by my side. We should all be so lucky to learn a thing or two from that.

The morning I picked her up 14 years ago, I did so under the cover of darkness before rolling out on a 7 ½ hour drive to college. My parents didn't know I was cooking up a scheme to get my first dog, but once they met her, it wouldn't have mattered. I'll never forget the 3 hours of whimpers in the car until Blotches crawled beside me, laid her head on my leg and settled in for a life full of adventure.

Through the raucous college years, to the adventures of hiking and paddling in the eastern and southern U.S., Blotches was always a willing partner. Most times, I trekked out without anyone else... just Blotches. It's not that I disliked having the company of friends on the trails...it's just, with Blotches, I didn't need it.

Fast forward 14 years and the night before going to the vet we spent "camping" in the backyard. Just like we had for hundreds of times before it was just us, outside. Left to remember all of those times together and knowing her fate the next day — as hard as it was to stomach — I realized the price and value of our time and friendship far outweighed the greif and sadness I was about to experience. It doesn't make it any easier, just different.

Someone told me through this ordeal that alleviating the pain of your pet is a true act of love. I hope I find solace in that sentiment soon, but now I only feel a hollow sense of loss. As she slipped away, I did see a peace take away the pain. I will miss her greatly.

11 Comments:

Blogger Myles said...

I saw the title of your post and saw the picture and didn't want to read but had to, wanted to honor your experience. It's hard I know. I had a cat like that named Rum Tum Tugger. I can say from my own experience that Blotches will always be able to make you smile.

9:47 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry.. I was SO SAD to read about Blotches-- she was a GREAT dog and brought a smile to everyone's face who met her. She will be missed a lot.
Ashley A. M.

12:56 PM

 
Blogger Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

Like Myles, I saw the title and the picture and didn't want to read but I had to...My heart breaks for you. I truly do understand how you feel. Bigun thinks I'm a weirdo for keeping my Jakers' ashes. She was with me for 23 years. I am so sorry you had to go through this. After a bit, you do smile more often then feeling the sadness. Keep her pictures out and handy. They do help.

10:58 AM

 
Blogger liz said...

i am so sorry for your loss. i had a spotted dog, her name was casey. i was away from the house when she passed. it was devastating. i've had some good pets in my life. they are members of the family. the unconditional love from dogs is amazing. humans could learn from them.

1:44 AM

 
Blogger Bigun said...

Sorry for you and Blotches. Great name for that puppy!

5:27 PM

 
Blogger Jodi said...

That brought tears to my eyes. Remember all the great times with Blotches. Sounds like one heck of a dog.

Jodi

6:05 AM

 
Blogger Gotta Run said...

When I lost my dog I had for 16 1/2 years I was far more over come with sadness than I knew was possible.

They truly are a gift from god. Spell is backwards and you have dog. Amazing love and friendship!!

Very moving blog.

1:20 PM

 
Blogger Dan Seifring said...

Rewind to 11/01/2004 the date I had to make the same decision for TINY my 210 pound St. Bernard. I still think of her everyday. And yes it is hard but you know you made the right decision for Blotches.

11:49 AM

 
Blogger TriSaraTops said...

Okay, I'm crying now.

So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

10:21 AM

 
Blogger Mary said...

I am sorry to read about your loss.
I'm looking at the same scenario with my beautiful, failing, ten-year-old shepherd.
My first (selfish) thought was that you'd had four more years with your friend than I'll have. My second (realistic) thought was that it didn't matter: to lose a trusted companion is always going to be hard no matter how much or how little time you get to share with them. Dogs have the ability to get under our skin in a way that we allow few humans to do. And the bond will always be there.

11:03 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss! I truly understand, my dog has been everything to me since my divorce.

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1:16 PM

 

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