I need to take the time to acknowledge the suck factor of the past few weeks. For five years I have been the constant companion to a needy, very sensitive, big ass Great Dane. MJA and I did a ton of research before getting Nellie. She was supposed to be the Puckwudgie’s dog. The one thing I didn’t find out until later was that this XL breed tends to attach themselves to women. So, like any other dog who understands mom is the keeper of the food and treats, Nellie became mine.
She refused to leave the yard without me. Followed me around the house. Sat at my feet when I wrote. Slept on the sofa next time me when I read.
That isn’t to say that the boys got none of her attention. She knew how to play them to get her way, like lying her 140lb plus body across a kid’s lap during a paddle boat ride so that she didn’t have to relinquish a turn to our little hunting dog, Hana.
Early this summer, Nellie developed symptoms of Wobblers—a degenerative neurological disease common in super-size breeds. We chose to keep her comfortable until the end because that was the best decision for our family. The last two days at home my girl cried every time I left the room. Eventually, I opted to just snuggle up beside Nellie and cry along with her. The hurt wasn’t able to be fixed with a band-aid like it can be for the boys. Saying, “Don’t worry, Nellie, it will be okay,” had a completely different meaning.
The worst part of putting your animal to sleep is not those last few blessed and hours at home, the ride to the veterinary hospital or watching them go. The worst part is picking up the phone and telling the receptionist that you’ve made the decision. Not matter how much you love this animal and how sure you’ve given them the most loving home that they deserve, in that moment you feel like you have failed them.
I’m always there when we let a dog go. I feel like it is my responsibility as a pet owner. It will forever be my job as their mom to ensure they are safe. The last thing I want my animal to remember is the sound my voice, the touch of my hand and to see me loving them into the great beyond.
August has been me trying to find a new routine. My shadow isn’t following around. No one needs continual care, which I will admit is a relief, but still not my norm. My breaks from writing are disjointed without a big moose head in my lap asking for attention. Hana-dog has always kept her own schedule and, while still spry at 14, it is much different than that of a 5 year old dog. My Puckwudgies have been holding up great. They are no stranger to the lesson entitled “death is part of life” and not only ask great questions, but also hold amazing memories. That’s one of the good things—they are always going to be kids that got the opportunity to grow up with larger than life dog in the house.
I have a thing about positive attitudes. Mine has faltered lately, especially with writing and wholeheartedly with marketing. I can see my frustration seeping out. It is best to acknowledge my crankiness and “why bother” mentality promoting Brier are attached to grief. I know it will pass and I understand that the negatives are a part of the normal indie book launch process that I’ve tried my best to take in stride three times before.
Writing is a solitary process. My office will get even quieter when the boys go back to school and there is no one interrupting me to break up a squabble, ask permission for a popsicle, or to yell that they love me as they run out the front door. Hopefully, by then I will have developed a new routine and have had enough time to refocus efforts on penning the next release for late fall. Bear with me if I stumble, and know that if I have any extra PMA to share I’d be glad to focus it on you; the small group of friends and readers who keep me going when the going gets tough.
Thanks for reading. <3