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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Finding the way

My friends in Blogville have done it again. I was so humbled by the outpouring of your good wishes, prayers, thoughts, and love. It really does make a huge difference. Thank you.

Last night, with a heavy heart, K and I hiked up to our favorite sunset view point. We just sat, watching the wind blow clouds across the mountains as the sun set. I talked to her, remembering the day that I'd met her.
On that day, I was given the choice of two female chocolate lab pups. For some reason, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that K was the dog for me.

Yesterday evening, in my mind, I rewrote the script. I imagined that I'd been told that the little pup "K" lacked a key "tumor suppression gene" and was likely to die young. But, I'd also been told that our spirits would mesh in a way that would bring us both incredible joy. In this imagined conversation, I was also told that the other pup would live twice as long as K. Yet, just as happened in reality, I didn't have the same spark of love when I held that pup as when I held K.

Given that scenario, I'd still choose K every single time. She has brought such happiness to my life, and I hope that I've done the same for her. I don't care about the heartbreak of an early death. It's the living and loving that matters.

This morning, still with a heavy heart, I hiked out the door with K. I was focused climbing to our favorite place, Hug Hill. Despite her chemo treatment yesterday, K romped and frolicked. Yet again, she was teaching me a life lesson. She wants to live fully - now.
As I hauled my heavy heart up the snow-laden slope, K played and smiled. She found a spot of green and rolled on the warm ground, before trotting toward me, with resplendent chocolate fur.
I realized, as I watched her, that this day was one precious day of K's life. Who cares that there might not be as many days left as I hoped? K certainly doesn't care. We can't waste these precious days being sad about something that will happen in the future.

We arrived at the top, and K zipped around joyfully. This is our special spot, and it has been since K was a couple of months old.
Then, I asked her to be still, and I had a talk with her. I made a lot of promises. I promised not to let sadness dominate the remainder of her life. I promised that I would always be there for her, and that I'd try to put her wishes ahead of mine. I promised not to let her suffer. I'm sure that she didn't understand the details but she certainly felt the love that I was sending to her. She snuzzled me, and I cried tears of sadness and joy - joy that this loving and sweet dog is in my life.
(Excuse my "mountain" attire - I wasn't dressed for a photoshoot this morning.).

As we descended from the peak, I knew that we'd find a way to navigate this journey together. Love will lead the way, and we'll seize each day that we have left.
K is part of the fabric of my heart and always will be.

81 comments:

Ronnii, Uji & Izzy ( & Momma Tea ) said...

Oh My that is such a beautiful post and in my mind that is the way you have to look at it. Enjoy every day you have left, fill each day with love, laughter and make wonderful memories to carry you through when you need them.
You are not taking this journey alone as we are following right behind you all every step of the way.

With much love to you all
Momma Tea, Uji, Izzy & Ronnii
xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad K is so happy! Keep on snuzzling as hard as you can!

K9 Katastrophie said...

Mommy is crying. What a beautiful post. Much love to you and K!

Licks,
Ruthie

harrispen said...

I too am crying like K9 Katastrophie's mom. Having been in your shoes twice with young dogs I know how it feels to know the time is limited. Like you we did all we could to make what time we had left as joyful as possible.

I think the portrait of you and K kissing is perfect. Mountain attire and all.

Much love to all of you.

Cindy

Mango said...

A wonderful post. Makes me cry with joy and frustration at the same time. There is no bond like that with our beloved dogs.

Mango Momma

NanaNor's said...

Dear KB & K, What a precious post dear friend. I think seizing the moment is what our dogs would want, to cherish today. 9 mos ago, we were told our old Reggie had brain cancer and would probably only live 3-4 weeks-huh, he is still with us. The courage our fur babies have is amazing and I know that you will have sweet memories of all the days you have left with K. As Reggie has, K may just surprise the socks off you.
Sending prayers up for all of you.
Noreen & Reggie

Lulu Louise said...

Wow, that made me cry. Thank you for the reminder to enjoy the here and now!
With blogland love,
Lulu's Mom
(Lulu is currently unavailable to comment, as she is asleep under the blanket next to me ;)

Barb said...

She's licking away your tears, KB. I'm crying, too, here in Breckenridge. Take it one day at a time now - just as K is doing.

Clark said...

Know that your family is in my thoughts and prayers. We have lost too many to Cancer, Osteo and otherwise and it is never easy to have to say goodbye. Praying for a miracle for you, and also sending support for you to be strong for K and to have the strength to continue to live an outwardly normal life for her sake for the time you have left. May you find comfort in her quiet strength and may she find peace from your obvious love of her.

Random Felines said...

got tears here too.....there is no easy answer - and the hardest part is the prospect of losing them before WE are ready..... (which we would say is never) purrs to you....

quinn said...

They really are our best teachers. We can only try to learn well. And be grateful.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

A busy and hectic week has me so far behind on blog reading. To tell you that I'm sorry for your 'bad news' doesn't seem like enough to say. From my own experience I can promise that your choice to savor each day with your precious K will be the most precious and bonding ones you will ever experience. Please know that I am keeping you all in my prayers that you find peace, comfort and strength!!

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Again, just WOW -

The words
The pictures
The wisdom

THE STRENGTH -

THE PILLARS OF STRENGTH -

We have all chosen to weave ourselves into each others' lives - for it permits us so many highs and so many lows and so much help to handle all of them -

Happy KB Day!

Val said...

This is so beautiful...I am in tears again. You and your precious K, living life, there for one another, sharing your feelings, showing your love, what wonderful teachers you both have become to so many. Thank you for sharing your Special K and your story!

Bearly Alyssa said...

KB...you have me in tears. I went through this very situation myself and eventually had to be the one to let my childhood friend go, my black lab Zeke. My parents let me hold on selfishly to my boy, and though he probably was uncomfortable at the end, he loved me still. I love the picture of you and K...dogs are truly our best friends. I'm sorry you have to do this. It sucks.

Janice in GA said...

Love, love, and more love.

Even though you already have plenty.

Raising Addie said...

I am in tears as well from your beautiful post. Happy tears as I see you both enjoying each other.

LOVE love love that pic of you and K. I can feel the love shining right through it.

BIG hugs to you both.

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie, Lucie, Hailey and Staci

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Tough not to cry when reading this, but we know you speak from the heart. We know that K understood in her heart what you were trying to tell her. That is why she lives each day the way she does. Each day with her is a gift of complete and total love. May you and she have many more together.

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

Like everyone else I am in tears and wish you and K only the best moments forever...whatever forever together turns out to be...

BrownDog's Human

Maggie Mae said...

Continue to live and love with K as long as you can, you are an inspiration to me.
We continue to hold you close to our hearts.

Blessings and Love,
Janelle, Maggie Mae and Max

Bassetmomma said...

Thankfully for K you have such a terrific positive attitude. Giving your whole heart and happiness to K everyday is the best thing you can do for her and I salute your bravery! You can see in her eyes that you are her happiness, her love.

Barbara said...

Okay, I'm crying.

We know it's right to live K's way - in the moment. We know we'll do right by them and not extend any suffering for our selfish needs.

But we HAVE to tell ourselves and them that anyway. We are heartbroken that K got dealt this hand. We too, have had our heart dog and you can never replace that.

Fortunately, dogs do give us a new chance every day to get and give love. Heart dog or no, dogs love us with no requirements. I know that R will step up when the time comes and comfort you as K once did.

I wish they didn't have to go before us.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

GOOSE said...

"Love will lead the way." AMEN to that. Truer words were never spoken.
Blessings,
Goose

Nola said...

That was beautiful, you made me cry.
Dachshund Nola

Lovable Lily said...

I wish that we all could be there in person with you and K. I think that we could all use some of YOUR strength right about now. You keep loving your girl and we'll all keep praying for you both. We are here for you always. I'm sure by now K knows just how special she is to us too! Keep feeling good K, maybe the Power of the Paw is working.

Hugs,
Lily Belle

Angela J. said...

KB - your post is so beautiful. The love that you and K have for each other is so obvious. I am so sorry that either of you have to go through any of this. You say that the comments help you but I wonder if you realize how much you are helping the next person who will have to go down this path. If I can have half the strength you are showing, when it's my turn, I will have you to thank for showing me how. Give K a hug for us.

AC said...

This was hard for me to read. So, so beautiful and yet I want to shake my fist in the air. A kaleidoscope of emotions. I guess that's what makes life rich. It's like the mountains, breathtaking in beauty and unrelenting in hardship...and so, so worth the journey to be there. K *was* your dog from that first day.

Maery Rose said...

"It's the living and loving that matters."

You hit the nail on the head there. Your love for K shines through this post and touches everyone who reads it. XXOO

Luisa said...

My heart was heavy when I began reading this post, but much lighter when I finished, in spite of the tears. So much wisdom here, and so much beauty. Not one of us knows how much time we have left,and sorrow can be so deep, but we'd do it all again for love of our dear ones. The most important thing is to do all we can to make sure they are content and free from suffering -- and we know that K is in the very best hands with you.

Sending love -- you are in our thoughts and prayers.

ForPetsSake said...

Well, you did it! You managed to amaze me again. With that kind of strength, and that positive outlook, your time with K will be joyful - a celebration of her life with you!

NCmountainwoman said...

This is one the most moving posts I have ever read. When the first bad news came for K, my thoughts turned also to my dear Ellie. When the awful thing happens (as we know will happen some day) I will remember this post.

I only hope I can be half as courageous as you are. In your grief you have helped dog lovers everywhere by your example and we have learned from your words (never more so than with this post)..."it's the living and the loving that matter." None of us knows how many days we have left, "we can't waste these precious days being sad about something that will happen in the future."

Tweedles -- that's me said...

We could hardly read through the tears.
For some reason- we feel wordless.

K understood what you said to her.
And your right- she is telling us that "today"- this moment, and love is what is important.
We just want to hug all of you.
We love the photo of you and K.
Thank you for sharing it with us.
love
tweedles

houndstooth said...

I think this is hands down one of your most beautiful posts ever! I love the pictures, and I think you'll cherish that one of the two of you together for a long time, mountain attire or not! ;) But of course, it's your words that hold the true beauty this time.

I remember a time I made the same promises to Treat. I knew our time together was finite, and I really wanted to be sure that I wasn't just keeping her here to make myself feel better. In the end, I know our timing was perfect. She was here because she wanted to be here and she wasn't ready to go, and when she was ready, I knew. I think living in the moment is the best gift that you can give to K and yourself!

Jed and Abby in MerryLand said...

Once again, you both rise to meet the occasion with extraordinary grace and courage. The warm community spirit of Blogville reaches out to all of us and helps heal the shrapnel in the heart we all suffer with each impending loss. We're here and we love you.

Jed & Abby

bichonpawz said...

Here I am crying again...K reminds me so very much of my big guy, Zippo. He went to the bridge a couple of years ago. He was my heart dog and always will be. We had an unspoken bond...the very same bond I believe you and K have. We laughed and cried together many times...he brought me back from the brink...celebrate each and every moment you can together. We all love you and we all stand with you through this journey. You write beautifully. Hugs to you both.
xo
Jeanne
mama to Chloe and LadyBug and Zippo at the Bridge

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Thank you for sharing the photo of you and K together. It is an incredible message and promise that we need to make to all we love..because we don't always have the gift of time to say goodbye or do all of the things that we would if we knew where the journey led. The WDA walks beside you all every step of the way, joyously, caringly, empathically. Know peace.

Amber DaWeenie said...

Looks like most of us are crying today after reading your beautiful post. Keep as strong as you are today and try to look forward to many more happy tomorrows with K.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I had to come back to tell you, that this steep jagged journey that you are on- sometimes you cannot see around the bend- and you cannot see where to step, but I wanted to tell you that we are on that journey with you, and we are all tied together because we care so much.
I hope you can know what we are trying to say.
love
tweedles

Two French Bulldogs said...

I can't imagine going through all this...it is so sad,yet K always looks so healthy and happy. I think that even makes it harder sometimes....enjoy every second with K
good vibes...
Benny & Lily

Diana w said...

I found your blog recently and it's fast become a favorite. K's cancer is heartbreaking but your posts are so full of beauty, wonder, and gratitude. They make me cry waaaaay too much but it's good that they're so moving... You make me examine my own life and ask how can I live more joyously. K is a great inspiration. Thank you for sharing this part of her journey in life.

Hiking Hounds said...

So true, it is the love that matters. In the picture with you K's face seems to be saying thank you, it will be okay, and that she loves you. I'm so glad she is feeling well. She's a special girl.

Priscilla said...

Tears just keep flowing down my cheeks and I can feel the love between you and K. Love all your pictures, love K and love the ways you face life.

This is one of my favourite quotes and I'd like to share it with you : Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain ... author unknown

Paws crossed for K!

chicamom85 said...

God bless you for sharing this beautiful story. We could all learn a lot from K about life and living it to its fullest. I am praying for you both.

Anne and Sasha

Lindsjö taxar said...

What a beauttiful post of love and sadness. I hade very difficult to read it because of all the tears. Reminds me of our love ones and those we have. And K is in my heart too after all reading about her.
Enjoy every day with her and be with her. She will give you love every day and you will thank her for that. She´s still strong and loves hiking with you. You can see that in the wonderfull pictures.

The picture of you two is just wonderful, shows really your love for eachother.

Angus said...

You've got it in one . Enjoy every day .

Poppy Q said...

What a lovely post - we are glad you are enjoying your precious moments together.

Julie and Poppy Q
xxx

The Thuglets said...

Your message radiates the pure deep love and special bond you and K have together.
Enjoy every minute of every day with K. Live life to the full.
Stay stong KB.

Karen & Alanx

Extra Big Nose Pokes
The Thugletsx

Anonymous said...

just like everyone else I am crying. I came on this page to visit you from the Funny
Farmer's page. I wanted to express my sadness about K. From what you have blogged about, I can tell there is a very strong bond between you.

I dont have dogs, but I do have 2 beautiful kitties. they are so dear to me & I love them both very much...it is such a strong bond that I know it wont be broken, even by death. This evening my husband & I discovered that a fellow from our 12 step program was killed in January & I am very emotional.
I guess I told you that to let you know that a lot of us outside the blogging community share your pain & we are touched by your ability to let us help you through this.

Regards, Marlene M., Sable & Tiki (in Kamloops, BC, Canada)

Jo's World said...

No tears from me, KB! I read your post and KNOW that you know how to do this. K knows too. Just one day at a time, days filled with love, play, rest, care, perfect days you will remember forever.

Like the WDA, we are walking along with you in these days, loving and living.

Jo, Stella and Zkhat

~ Kirra ~ said...

Deeply moving and from mutual hearts - as seen beautifully and tenderly of the delightful photo of yourself with K.

Treasured is life and its many memories and of those we hold dear within our hearts and of our prayers.

May each day of togetherness radiate the happiness we all wish to share.

Love always from Kirra -x-

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

KB all I can say is I feel so proud of you. This journey that you and K are travelling together will remain with you for the rest of your life. Your strength, love and inspiration is a lesson for us all. Thank you for sharing with us. Love makes us strong when we need to be. Hugs to all. Love Carol (Stella and Rory) x

Macintosh Mitch said...

We can hardly see to type through the tears. The portrait of you and K is just beautiful!

Love ya lots,
Mitch

Eileen said...

Sending lots of love to you both.
She's not ready to leave you just yet, she'll let you know when she's ready. Enjoy each day.

Eileen and Annie xx

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock said...

Sharing something so special with another living being, even if it is for a shorter time, is a gift of immeasurable wonder.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Beautifully put. Absolutely right.
But I still cried.

Anonymous said...

Tears are in my eyes. Peace be with you in the coming months...

Marilyn

Sam said...

Sending you hugs. I've always said a hour with them is worth the pain of losing them.

Sam

HoundDogMom said...

God Bless, you and K and we are sending you lots of hugs. Sniffs, The HoundDogs and Mom

H and Flo said...

I can't imagine the mixed emtions you are felling right now - the pain of K's illness and the wish to live life fully. Our animals are such a part of us and the responsibility for their care is huge. Enjoy living life with K and thank you for blogging through this experience.

Piappies said...

It is very difficult to keep the tears from falling but we send you more strength, KB! Continue to let K live life to its best and that simply means to keep her in your love. The photos are beautiful, it best shows K's wonders inside and out.

Sending you lots of love!

Love,
Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie

Ms. ~K said...

KB, I have just spent the past few minutes catching up with you, and I have tears rolling down my cheeks...
Please add me to the long list of people who care about you and K, and who continue to send prayers and healing thoughts and energy!
A big, long hug to you dear lady,
~K

Suka said...

Like Ms. K above, I just spent the past few minutes catching up as well and am devastated by the latest news on K's condition. Your post is so touching and beautiful, and expresses so eloquently the bonds we have toward our lovely furry best friends. My heart breaks with yours and I am inspired by both your, and K's, strength in dealing with K's illness.

K is an inspiration in her zest for life and living in the present. She is truly a remarkable gift.

Suka and K

Redberry Cottage said...

Enjoy the moments of the here and now. Keep taking those gorgeous photos of your journeys together. Sending you our love and hugs,
Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe and Lily

sophie...^5 said...

I'm staring at Sophie right now and just keep staring. Your person to dog photo is truly magic...so many nudges and hugs for ALL of you. Ron

Jim said...

I am so saddened by this news. But you know what? I am also very happy that you and K met and have spent this 6 years together.
You have both learned from each other...how to live life to the fullest and in the present moment. We have all learned a lesson here I am sure.
Here's to the present!!!

kks said...

oh KB...beautiful words to K, and a promise that I know you will keep...the picture of you two brought tears to my eyes.....love each and every moment, and be thankful for having such a wonderful companion in your life....she's a lucky girl.....as are you!
xoxo

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

Such important things we learn at times like this. Every day a gift! Love that picture of you both.

Wyatt said...

You two are the finest example of 'Carpe Diem', I have ever witness.

Hugs,
Wyatt and Stanzie

Angel Yoda, Brutus & Ellie said...

Sending lots of hugs your way! You and K are an inspiration.

Thank you for your kind words on our blog about the loss of Yoda...

Pugs & Kisses,

Brutus & Ellie

greygirl25 said...

I am just catching up. Damn, I am so sorry. I wish for you every day ahead to be happy and complete.

I have learned so much from your journey with K and I am a much better person because of it.

Take each day one at a time and never stop hiking into the sunsets. K is clearly the luckiest dog around to have such a wonderful gift.

IRIS E DONA said...

My mom is crying ! She is so sad ! and what a beautiful, beautiful words ! a lot of hugs for both of you K and KB !
Kisses
Iris

Sam and Pippen said...

Beautiful post! Recently a co-worker lost both her dogs and another co-worker made the comment, 'that's why I don't have pets' and I said, you'd say no to all the good times just because of the sad times?

Thank you for sharing K with us.

Sam and Pippen

Chester said...

My heart is heavy and there's a lump in my throat because I can't imagine how incredibly heartbreaking the latest test results are. Your picture together makes me feel like I intruded on a very special moment, and I think it's one that deserves framing.

Your talk with K was so touching and I know you'll hold to your promise that you will do what's best for her as each new decision has to be made, just as you have up to this point. I love that you considered the "what if's" of having chosen the other pup but still concluded that K was your girl even if she would not live as long as the other one. Did you also consider the "what if" K had gone to another home where she may not have been given the treatments to try and beat the cancer? Or lost her leg when first diagnosed, instead of giving her many, many days of joy romping and rolling in the Rockies? She was very fortunate to have been chosen by you, and I believe there is a special reason that you two were brought together. Both of your lives have been made more special....more complete for having known one another.

Peaceful trails,
Chester's Mom

Jan's Funny Farm said...

How true - even if we knew there was sadness ahead, we would make the same choice. K does help you focus on the joy of the moment. Pawhugs.

charlene and Storm said...

you just have to bask in the beautiful moments you do have dont you, because you never know how long anyone has xxx

Snowcatcher said...

Looks like I've missed out yet again. I'll have to go back and catch up. But in the meantime, I do love that you and K are seizing each and every day. It's so difficult to keep spirits up when something sad is on the horizon. But the joy you two make and feel together will be strong enough to pull you through.

DianeTaylor said...

Oh KB - I adore that picture of you with K :) She loves you with all her heart and soul - that much is obvious to us all. Today is my first day back at work after my son's death - and as usual you got me with your post. I am looking ahead at my life without my son. It hurts so much to think abut it - just like it hurts you to think about life without K. Then reality sets in - and I see this is the path God has chosen for me. You and K were always on the same path - and you will together until the end. I know that for sure.

God Bless....

~dt~

Ellen Venturella-Wilson, MS, OTR/L said...

Beautiful post and gorgeous photos! Enjoying each day and living in the moment are important lessons we can learn from our pups!

You are not in this cancer journey alone and unfortunately there are many of us that know all too well exactly what you are going through. Take it one day at a time, make lots of memories, and take even more pictures.

Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers to K for many many many more hikes and great days!

Hugs and chocolate labby kisses,
Ellen & Charley
16 Month OS Survivor
www.chocolatekisses.tripawds.com

rottrover said...

LOVE the picture of you and K. I agree with Jo. You do know how to do this; and we'll all be right here with you and K. Sending hugs and gentle rottie kisses.

Tina said...

I am reading this post for the second time now and I sit here in tears again. You are such a tough girl and you do so great. Live now with K, it is all you can do for her! And in the end, that is hopefull further away than we all fear, you will find the right time to let her go. And not keep her "for you" despite her suffering!
I have my old boy who has been in my life now for nearly twice as long as your girl has been in yours, and he has slowed down so much. Still we do what is fun for him and what doesn't hurt him. And watch him closely for signs telling it might be time now.
Hugs from Germany

Merlin Wylt said...

Take every day you get and remember, she has no idea that something is wrong. As far as she is concerned this is normal and each stage of her fight is the new normal.