Monday, August 29, 2022

5173 Plus 2


To be perfectly honest, I have been mourning Marge a long time. I don't think there was any way I was going to get through this unless I had done so, honestly.

The first time was when she was nine years old and I was about six minutes away from Red's foster home, on my way to meet him. I pulled over near a baseball field and bawled like she had died, even though she was right there in my backseat. Part of that was anticipating the potential big change of adding another dog into my life, but there was definitely a part of it that acknowledged that she was getting older.

The next time was when she earned her obedience Companion Dog Excellent (CDX). I knew that she'd never, ever set foot in an obedience ring again, since we hadn't trained Utility and had no plans to start (she was already around 12 years old when we got the CDX). My boyfriend ran into Qdoba to get us lunch and I sat in the car and cried. I was by no means a big obedience person but it felt like the beginning of the end, in a way. That it was one volume of our story wrapping up. 

After that, I distinctly remember one time when we had come back from Hacklebarney State Park, probably in 2020. She was laying in her grey Sealy bed. I went over and although she wasn't outwardly in pain, I felt her hip flexors spasming. I cried because I knew that what I needed to do was take her on easier, less rocky hikes.

Of course, her Rally Championship last year. The saddest title I have ever earned, because it meant that a show career that spanned more than a decade had come to a close. 

Every time I left Acadia National Park, I thought for sure, "this is our last time here." She proved me wrong a couple times, but this past visit, in May of 2022, I knew it. I felt like I had barely gotten her though the trip in one piece, since she had been lame a week before and was starting to get a little pickier about her food.

And then this summer.. slowly, a wave of nostalgia began to come over me. I started taking more solo walks with her (even though she had always gotten some). I started looking through old photos, piecing together old pictures with recent ones taken in the very same places. Even re-created an old photo from 2008 of her sitting out in the field. A then and now, of sorts.

It's pretty wild to think about her being gone. I'm still not quite sure I believe it. Maybe I never will.


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