It has been four months since Daedra was diagnosed with kidney failure.
I knew the day of his death would eventually come – I mean, logically, I knew it, but there was always a part of me that hoped for a miracle, that somehow I was lucky enough to have my heart dog be immortal. I am sure everyone has hoped for the same at some point.
Our life now is.. casual. It’s shaped by how he feels that day, if he eats, if he wants to go for a walk. I celebrate every meal, every treat he takes. We managed a walk around the entire farm and I cried in happiness, especially since the last few days have been ones where he didn’t want to eat. He’s played and I’ve paused whatever I was doing to watch, drinking in the memory of my best friend being somewhat normal.
I miss the hard days. This blog post really hit home for me. It was hard living with a human and dog aggressive dog, and I feel almost foolish for missing it sometimes, but I do. It was a better time for him physically: he had the energy to react, could hear and see another dog or person. It’s peaceful now, but knowing it means the end is near is not the price I wanted to pay.
I spend every day with him, making memories, photographing him, playing the games that don’t tire him too quickly. We play bitey face with my hand, push his ball back and forth, play with an overstuffed duck toy that quickly became his favorite. I take pictures of him in the sun in the fields of the farm we both grew up on. I planted flowers I hope he lives to see bloom, because I want pictures of him surrounded by beautiful things, by growing, alive things, to remember him by.
I had many ideas about how much I would do for a pet at the end of its life before Daedra. Vivec’s diagnosis and passing were a blur: he had barely a month left to live according to the vet, but made it a month and a half. There was nothing I could do beyond ease his pain and try to make the most of the time I was given. Daedra is different – I can’t fight it, but I can manage it. I can buy him, and I, more time. He’s sixteen, sure, but this, according to my vet, seems to be the only thing wrong beyond typical joint stiffness. I always had the thoughts if it got to this point with a pet, where I was buying time, I would let them go. It just seemed like the right thing before I was going through it with my own dog.
I think it is ultimately what was meant to happen. Daedra has always been many firsts for me, changing every view I had of dogs and the world of dog sports and dog people. He’s not only made me a better trainer, but a better person. Even in his old age, he’s teaching me things about myself, what losses I can handle, what beliefs I am willing to throw out the window and how much I am willing to do for what I love. I bought a camera just to document his last few months – something I deeply regret not being able to do with Vivec – and the world of photography has captured me. Another gift he’s given to me: a hobby I can enjoy, even as the anxious, depressed mess I am.
My entire adult life has been shaped by him alone.
I owe him a lot.