Today’s pet story is told by the lovely Darcy.
Darcy of Preserving My Sanity lives in Minnesota with her husband, two dogs, one cat, four chickens, and a handful of goldfish. She and her husband enjoy cooking, gardening, food preservation, fishing, hunting, and camping. When they aren’t working on their hobbies, you might find them drinking a margarita together on their porch
I was 24 years old when I got my first dog as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend, and we drove in a snowstorm to pick her up. She was a light blonde golden retriever, and she was perfect. She was always the sweetest girl with the biggest heart, and I learned so much from her. During a hard and scary time in my life when my relationship ended, when I wasn’t sure what was next, she was with me.
We travelled for my job together for 6 months, as nomad pals. Everything we owned was in storage except what fit in my small car, and she hung out in her crate during the day while I went to work. In the morning and at night, we walked on the beach. She was always with me.
When I bought my first home, she and I spent the first night on her dog bed since my bed hadn’t yet been moved in. She escaped from the fenced in backyard that first week, and came to the front door scratching to get let in. She missed me whenever she wasn’t touching me, and she was so soft.
Her name was Dakota, and she loved to swim. When we went to the lake or to the beach, it was nearly impossible to get her to stop swimming. When it was time to leave, she would just keep jumping back in the water, just like the children at the swimming pool who continuously beg their parents for “just five more minutes!” She also loved peanut butter, stuffed animals, tennis balls, walks, snuggles, and her beagle sister.
When I met my (now) husband, she loved him just as much as if she’d always known him, and she loved it even more when she got to come along in the boat with us. One time we were out fishing in the inlet and he cast his line out, and she jumped right off the boat to go fetch it. We struggled to drag her big wet butt right back up into the boat, and she didn’t do that again.
She was prone to cancerous lumps, like many golden retrievers. I continued to get them checked, and removed, and she was a pro at wearing the cone of shame. When she was 10 years old, she started having trouble regulating her body temperature and she was always thirsty. We took her to the vet and they diagnosed her with liver cancer, and said she had maybe about a year or so to live. I was so devastated. She ended up living 2 more years, until ultimately her body quit functioning properly and it was time to say goodbye.
I wrote this blog post: (https://preservingmysanity.com/2018/10/01/sweet-dakota/) about how to know when it’s time to say goodbye, as it was something I struggled the most with during the 2 years I knew she was sick. I didn’t want her to suffer, but I also wanted her with me as long as possible. In the end, the decision came in the right timing and we said good-bye to our sweet girl. We buried her in the yard, and planted a perennial garden there.
Today, we still have her beagle sister Mattie – who is 12 years old now and just had a (non-cancerous) lump of her own removed from her chest and is doing well. We also have a 3-year old Brittany spaniel named Bill, who is a total stooge and character and reminds me of Dakota in so many ways. He is my buddy and I love him too.
My husband and I don’t have children, and I truly don’t see a time in my future where I won’t be the momma of 2 dogs. The saddest part of being a dog mom is that they don’t live as long as we’d like them to, but I will just love them as hard as I can while they are with me, until it’s time to recycle the love.
If you would like to share a story about your pet all you have to do is email me your story with pictures of your pets (and of you if you wish) and you’re story could be featured on my blog! I post them every Monday and Friday’s.
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