I am still trying to grasp on the the reality that Osa is not going to be in my everyday the way he was until three days ago. He would have been two years old in the third week of November. A Thanksgiving pup. I begged for him from my husband who was not so keen on the idea of a dog(especially not a puppy) I wanted a dog for my 40th birthday but i did not want to worry about house training a dog in the winter season. So i got him when i was 39. I had been his momma for about a year and a half when we encountered a freak accident. After returning from dinner downtown on a Monday night we greeted an excited little pup bouncing around on his run in the dark. We had been gone from Thursday til late Sunday evening the previous week and he was perhaps thinking we had left again for another long trip? He was still excited to play for a minute so i opted to take him outside one more time before bed to get out his excited and playful energy. I opened the door to the back porch and he bounced out ahead of me. My gorgeous yellow lab with his strong yet little and muscular body. He has the eyes of a doe with black eyeliner and black lips with yellow lashes. What a beauty. No sooner did i step off the last step of the porch when i heard Osa yelp out suddenly. I knew from the sound of it that something was definately wrong. I immediately called for him as i ran to him at the same time. He could not get up. I could not tell in the dark where we were that anything was wrong. I tried to help him up to get to more light on the porch but quickly noticed that he could not stand up. Once i got him on the porch he was in a bit of a panic mode and i noticed his right eye was tightly closed. I ran in to get my husband to assist me in examining him and by the time we got back outside he was vomiting profusely. After rushing him to the hospital we learned that he had severe head trauma. I couldnt believe getting smacked in the eye from running into a compost bin was now leaving my sweet little pup Osa fighting for his life. He was in alot of pain and it was tearing me up. Less than twenty four hours later his condition was poor and he was still crying and lashing out so we made an extremely painful decision to end his pain by having him put to sleep. I was in shock and felt as if this came from out of left field when i was not looking. G and i sat in the car and held each other and cried after we dropped him off at his vets office from the emergency clinic. We just could not make sense out of this sudden change in our lives. Osa was with me in my everyday. I worked in the woodshop to make stuff to sell and i grow food in our garden. I am walking everywhere on our property and Osa is always with me. I wake every morning and feed him and we walk together while the coffee is brewing. I watch him as we walk and he listens to all the sounds come alive in the early morning around us. He pays attention to me and waits to see if i will continue or turn in another direction. He tries to anticipate my every move. He has a place at the foot of our bed on the floor during stormy nights. We were strongly connected. We gave him all day on Tuesday to rest in the hospital with IV fluids to offer him a window of time to make a remarkable recovery or for him to choose to move on from this life. We were to head back to the hospital around 5:30 to check on his condition and explore options. I was devastated. My husband suggested i build a fire and burn incense and tobacco and cornmeal prayers for Osa. I did this all day only leaving the fire to relieve my bladder and get more water to drink. This part of my day was surreal sitting by the fire on a warm sunny day completely engrossed in the moment i was having.All the other cares of the world were forgotten. I was in a stupor about how this all occurred. Osa was my precious boy and i was watching him being taken from me in what seems the blink of an eye. I could not stand the thought of him suffering as he already was and yet even improvement was not guaranteed. In my selfishness i was not wanting to let him go. At this phase, however, i knew i had to accept that i was going to have to let him go. So there by the fire i shed a million tears as an offering for Osa to run on from this world. I wanted to first find a place in my heart to open and let out the reality of setting him free. He was never mine to keep. This was so painful but i found myself releasing him to go on. I had hoped that by the time we arrived at the vets office, Osa would have helped us out and made the decision to pass on his own without us having to decide for him. I was not so lucky. But seeing him there in pain helped us both find strength we didnt realize we had as his momma and pops and hold him as left this dimension.It was one of the most difficult and painful experiences i have had in all my forty years. Going home was a whole new part of grieving as the evidence of the accident was everywhere still and his belongings to prove that he was mine lay strewn inside and outside our house. It was tearing me up to see his dog bowls sitting there waiting for him. yet, i feared the sadness to be met by taking his food dishes away as a reminder of his absence in my life. Grief can put you down hard like heavy rain soaking your woolen clothes. Heavy and exhausting and scratchy and cold. Osa’s beautiful face kept flashing before my eyes the whole evening. I couldn’t sit with anyone to hold a memorial at his burial. I went and cried over him and said my goodbyes and i put some soil on him and turned and walked away. I promised to come see him early the next morning when i could be alone and i went to bed. the next morning i woke up remembering that i was not dreaming and Osa really was gone. Tears began to stream again and i acted out emotionally against my husband to chastise him for leaving me in such a state of grief while he chose to go ahead with his plans to sample on the river with another colleague from the department of interior. i was hurting and somehow lost my sense of normal behavior. I wanted others to hurt the way i was hurting although i was confused by it myself. I lay in bed trying to make sense out of it all and thought of Osa’s buddy Shady. He used to run to her and play regularly. Her owner knew that if she did not return home to come looking for her at our house. I wondered what she might think when he no longer comes to play with her. This is where the story gets interesting,. I was trying to find the strength to get out of bed and do something with my day when my daughter ran in to my room to tell me that Osa’s friend was here. I was so surprised since a few hours before i had thought of her that i jumped out of bed without thinking and i ran to her. At first i thought seeing her might make it harder for me but i could not resist being near the only thing i had to connect myself with Osa once again. She was her looking for her friend and one could tell by the sound of her cries that she knew something had happened. She was clearly acting as if she came to visit Osa. She is a beautiful full blood yellow lab but looks nearly identical to Osa in the face. the black lines around the eyes and mouth and the yellow fur and lashes. Shady was a big dog too. Her head was nearly two sizes larger than Osa’s who as a pup was already nearly sixty pounds himself. She was about a year older than Osa but she maintained the youthful energy that Osa had and loved his playful personality. If he was leashed on his run and tangled up in the rain she would sit with him getting soaked also until someone came and untangled his line to allow him to seek shelter. Shady quickly taught Osa how to behave and to stick by his family. He stopped running off after meeting her and he followed after her as if he were mimicking her every move except when called home. Its hard to make sense out of a great loss such as an abrupt end to sharing life with a loved one. A dog is no different. There is a powerful connection between a human and their canine friends. Words do not always offer justice to express this connection. Osa’s unwavering devotion to our family and his dedication to protecting us even as a one and a half year old pup is ultimately what provided the portal for his departure. His lunging after a critter in the compost bin and fearing nothing in his quest to protect his domain,is what led to this random freak occurrence which led to his death. Death is the ultimate shapeshift if you think about it. We are to remember as habitually as breathing that we are all on our way to somewhere else. I was never going to get have Osa as my dog forever. I felt moved to realize that Osa was bringing me this medicine of learning to let go. Clearly at some point in my life i was going to have to accept the letting go of all those dear to my heart. How loving of him to bring this medicine to me as if to say “you can start here.” Shady’s appearance into the scene the morning after Osa’s burial was no accident in my mind. She sat by our door and whined for him. We could not soothe her with water or the company of us. She wanted Osa. We tried to tell her that he was gone. After i gathered my composure from being moved to tears at her crying out for him, i walked her down to the garden where his final resting place was. She sniffed around but still had it in her mind that it was time to run with Osa cause she began to run around the yard and look up into the wooded hillsides around us as if Osa would see her and come running too. We went back up to the house and it was then that i realized i would never again be calling Osa home. This overwhelmed me once again but i felt comforted that Shady was there next to me as i shed many more tears for my sweet little pup. She stayed the night and woke up the next morning crying for him at six a.m. at Osa’s place on our porch. As the morning unfolded she lay on the porch next to me every so often looking back at our door and whining then laying her head down for a brief rest between howls. By lunchtime she heard sounds that called for her protective mode to kick in and she ran off. That was a few hours ago. She did not return. I was blessed to have her here with me and her being with me helped me make that final step of letting go a bit easier. I realized that Shady was hurting as bad as i was and she understood my heart. She would look at me as if she were looking right into my eyes then come over to me and lick my hands and my knees. i felt the comfort she was offering me. It was suggested to me that Osa left to make room for someone else’s path headed my way. I believe this is surely possible. What touched me the most was to see the connection Osa had made with Shady and the bond they shared. I do not think it to be coincidence that only a few hours after Shady’s face appeared in my mind that she showed up at my house.it wasnt a common occurrence. I had asked Osa to say goodbye to me in my dreams the night we buried him(two nights ago) and wondered if this wasnt his way of coming to me once more through his buddy/girlfriend Shady. He had no fear even though he was just a pup. I see the connection with his bravery of leaving our journey early ahead of me to help show me the way. To help me see there is nothing to fear. he went first. Thats brave. I hear your medicine sweet Osa pup. I hear also that life is a mere spec of a moment and we are to live in this moment right here. The only moment we have. You are in my heart always momma’s boy. Thank you and your precious friend Shady for the healing and comfort you gave me to help me through this transition. I know he hears my heart and when the moment is right another dog soldier will be elected to protect our household when the moment is right.waheguru.
might i eleaborate on the point of permission for my dog. It was important for me to have my husbands blessing because it takes committment from us both to properly care for a dog. Being on the same page in such a big decision is important.It took some coaxing but he saw the value in my position and willingly agreed to participate in dog rearing. 🙂