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.