To love a dog
Signing up for heartbreak
We found out last fall that our older labradoodle - Moxie - was carrying an inoperable, malignant tumor described by her vet as a “ticking time bomb”. We were given 1-2 months. But “Moxie, full of moxie” lasted five energetic months, waited for me to wrap up other heart-breaking business, and then went quickly and quietly one night. We had gratefully celebrated her 11th birthday a week before with a visit to her favorite beach. She played the waves with her usual warrior zeal, and refused to leave even after having exhausted herself.
I grew up with dogs but Moxie was my first dog as an adult, and came after a long wait, as life - and husband’s allergies - got in the way. Her loss lives in me, in us, like a bright, painful hole, but one that I fully accept. I cannot imagine a world without those sweet paws, nosy noses, and warm licks. And someone who lets me know daily, and without reservation, that I am the queen of the universe - no evidence required!
Yet dogs come with short(er) life spans — a promise of grief attached. And with that they teach us life’s most important lesson. To love is to sign up for pain and loss, inevitable some day. Yet, until there is life what else would we fill it up with, if not love? So here’s a short paean I wrote to this love and lesson...
To love a dog is to know near certain heartbreak
Mismatched lifespans leave little escape
Putting their lives in our hands; we watch on helpless
Yet what would life be without this vulnerable mess?
When they come at us with such unmoored abandon
Love with a force fearful humans hardly fathom
Grand illusion we signed up for this love, we’d like to maintain
No choice but to love back; sign me up please -- again and again!
If you’ve ever wondered about the human-canine connection and why it is so strong then this documentary Dogs Decoded will leave you filled with both wonder and understanding! Dogs just make me glad to be alive in this universe where their love is available to us. Rest in Peace my darling Moxie-girl.
This is heartbreaking but incredibly beautiful. I lost my 5 and a half year old corgi last year and it was one of the hardest things I have experienced. Dogs are special and they teach us so much about love.
Very nice story about your dog. I liked how your pointed out that a dog's short life have grief built in and we still accept it. Good job.