A Dog’s Life is Just too Short

April 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm (Dogs, Horses) (, , , , )



Dog is Love

Well, I suppose I always knew it was coming.  After all, when you get a puppy some part of you is aware that dogs just don’t live long enough.
Today I was slapped in the face with that reality.  Cheyenne wasn’t a puppy.  Far from it in fact.  She lived to the ripe old age of 13, which is pretty good considering her start in life.
When she was just 6 weeks old and brand new to us, my old horse deliberately attacked her and shattered her pelvis.  My old horse was pretty fond of my last cattle dog, you see, and he wasn’t ready for her replacement.  The poor old gal had recently passed after cancer took hold at only 11 years old.
So this new puppy, having apparently taken her place didn’t sit right with my old horse and he did his best to make sure she didn’t fill his best buddy’s collar.
Well, poor Cheyenne, all of 6 weeks old and here she was facing death before her life had really even begun. 
We, my husband and I, that is, opted for the expensive surgery and pinned the poor puppy pelvis back together with metal plates and rods. My father-in-law told us we were foolish.  After all, you can buy a lot of puppies for $1500.00
She was strictly confined to a kennel for 3 months while the shattered pelvis healed.  The vet warned me that she might not recover a great bladder function and warned that incontinence would likely be an issue, but it never was.
Cheyenne’s little body healed, but sometimes our desperate kindnesses go awry.  That three months confinement in the kennel were born from the best of intentions, a requirement for her little body to heal, but it created a dog that refused to be indoors, she having had her fill of confinement.  So, I obliged her and allowed her to live outside, even though we have always kept our dogs indoors with us, sharing our lives and our beds with them.
She adapted quite nicely to running on our five acres, and we built a very large kennel to keep her safe at night.
She was happy.  She had a good life.  But the best and happiest lives eventually come to an end.  With great trepidation, I watched it draw near.  Cheyenne had outlived my other cattle dog by two years, but I noticed that she was slowing down.  Her voice changed when she greeted us with excited barks, for she had lost her hearing.  Her eyes were growing cloudy and she began shuffling around when she walked.  Amazingly, that expensive surgery 13 years ago held up very well and she remained pretty sound, even when the winters grew bitter.
This last week the shadow of death began hovering.  Though she had been sleeping alot lately, she began sleeping much more than usual.  We all worried for her and would shake her awake to make sure that she was alright.  She didn’t appreciate it very much, sighing to settle back into her slumber.
I tried insisting that she sleep in the house now, but that unbearable kennel confinement over a decade ago had branded itself into her personality, and she refused, compromising by sleeping in the kennel. 
Fretting, I disturbed her often, shaking her awake because she couldn’t hear me calling her name.  I couldn’t shake her awake this morning.  She passed sometime in the night and those old feelings surfaced again, you know the ones.  They whisper about the unfairness of it, that dogs just don’t live long enough.  Pure love can’t be confined to such a frail vessel for very long.
She’ll rest now, beside that old horse that hurt her so long ago.  He eventually did accept her, but I think he always held it against her that she replaced his dog.  That old horse lived to be 33 years old, and you know what?  Horses don’t live long enough either.


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