Two years ago today, I lost one of the best friends I have ever had.
Dharma was diagnosed with Leukemia on a Friday. The vet said she had possibly the worst white cell count she had ever seen. The only hope of saving her was a drastic treatment that if successful, would wipe out the overpopulating white cells. However, the count was so high that if it was completely successful, the sudden loss of those cells would kill her. What a choice. At first I held onto hope that we could save her. That somehow, it would work just enough and buy me a little more time with my sweet girl. Just four months earlier she had been through a bout of cancer and come out a stronger, healthier, happier dog. I knew, just knew that she could beat this too. But as she hobbled into the vet’s office so we could talk about what steps we could take, she looked up at me with those big trusting brown eyes, asking, are you going to help me? Are you, the one I’ve trusted all my life to make things okay, going to make the hurt go away? I was. And while we went to the vet to speak about treatment, the conversation steered to final options. We spent the weekend together, with her laying on her pink blanket, her precious and prized tennis ball ignored. I talked to her. I petted her fur. I stroked her too-big ears that felt just like velvet. Then the weekend was over and we were back at the clinic. She lay on the floor with her head on my lap. I told her to go run on the beach like she did in Santa Barbara, barking at the waves as they crashed to shore. Run on the trails and chase the prairie dogs like we did in Griffith Park. Run through the wide, grassy fields like she did at our rugby practices in Indiana. Go, I said. And, just as she did all of her life, she trusted me, and without hesitation followed my command. She went.