Heartbreak part of the job

The only drawback to having a dog grooming and boarding kennel is the heartbreak.  There are many, many upsides to the job/hobby.  There are so many dogs to get to know, to amuse and delight you.  We bring our board dogs into our home and they become part of our family pack during their stay.  We get to learn all of the wonderful quirks and personality traits of different breeds.  Some are boisterous and outrageous, some are shy and quiet, all of them enjoy the love and attention that we can share.  Those are the most wonderful times.

The heartbreak comes when we get the phone call from our clients letting us know that one of our extended pack has died.  We have had two such calls in the last two months; the second one coming just this morning.  I cry over the news as though it were one of our very own loving pooches.  Today’s news came about Dixie, a charming little Cairn Terrier of about eleven years of age.  I was stunned because she was here with us three weeks ago for a five-day stay; she was full of life, wags and wiggles of joy.  She was scheduled for a daycare visit here a week ago that was cancelled due to her feeling sickly…not eating and just moping around.  There were several vet appointments complete with tests and x-rays but no diagnosis.  On Tuesday night she died.  Eleven does not seem all that old for a small dog…so sad.

The previous death was our sweet Tory, a fifteen year old Australian Shepherd.  She too was a regular boarding member of our extended family pack.  I had noticed that the last time that I groomed her in November she was even less steady on her feet than the previous grooming.  I vaguely noted that perhaps her time was getting near.  Sure enough, she reached a point of suffering and no quality of life.  She was helped out of this world by the vet shortly after New Years.  As I did today for Dixie, so too did I cry for our loss of Tory.

I just finished a portrait of Tory in graphite...it helps me to let go and makes a nice gift to the folks that belonged to her.  I shall begin one of Dixie now too.

Today’s “stone” is Day 53  fresh snow, new day, loss, somehow it seems colder, greyer, drearier

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