Last year was quite a challenge for me, for many reasons I won’t go into. But needless to say it was a huge turning point in my life. One of the things I went through was losing the last of my dogs; it affected me in many ways.
First I want to mention, in case you’re not aware, is that when we see feathers on the ground it generally means your loved ones who have gone before you are letting you know that they’re around or that the angels are around you to give their support.
Earlier this year I had to make one final decision to let go of someone I loved. A sweet, silly girl who was just over 14. Her name was “Lucky”. My daughter gave her that name after we decided to keep her; my daughter had found her abandoned at a bus station in Tucson. I wasn’t going to keep her, at first, I actually planned to take her to the Humane Society when I had a chance. The day I took her there, I prayed that she would find a good home. Well, when I got there, they were closed.
Of course, my prayer was answered because she did find a good home – ours. She was just about 4 months old and she was a character – plus she thought she was a cat. We had 2 other dogs already and she got along well with one of them, the other one tolerated her.
About 2 years ago, her left eye started looking funny. After several months, and multiple diagnoses by the vet, we finally discovered she had a tumor in her head, just behind her eye; eventually it started to grow into her mouth. It was mostly inoperable and likely cancer. I didn’t want to put her through extensive testing and other crap so I just did what I could to make her comfortable.
Finally, this past July, I made the decision to let her go. She was becoming very confused, not eating much, and sleeping the majority of the time so I decided it was time, I didn’t want to let her suffer any more than she already had.
Of course I kept second guessing myself, wondering if I was making the right decision or if I was just giving up on her. I continuously asked the angels for guidance, to let me know I was doing the right thing. The day I was to take her to the vet one last time, I carried her out to my car and put her in the back seat.
As I walked outside I noticed a small white feather on my windshield. At first I thought, “okay, the angels are telling me this is the right thing to do”. But I second guessed that too, because, well it could just be a coincidence. The feather stayed on my windshield, right in the same spot, as I got in my car and as I drove all the way to the vet. It stayed there the whole time. I thought I would take it off and keep it when I left the vet, but when I came outside to leave, it was gone.
So, yes, I knew I had done the right thing. Even though it hurt like hell, and I didn’t want to leave her there, even when I knew she was gone, I knew I had done the right thing.
Then came one of the hardest times in my life. I felt like my whole world was falling apart and I couldn’t pick up the pieces fast enough. Like a house of cards that the wind keeps blowing over and I can’t find all of the cards to put it back together. This feeling has not yet gone away.
You see, for the past 20 years I’ve always had a dog, more than one at a time, in fact. One of my main purposes in life was taking care of my dogs. Almost everything I did, almost every decision I made, was focused on my dogs. Not taking trips because I was particular about who would take care of them. Making sure I was home in time to let them out and feed them. Not wanting to work anywhere too far from my home so I would be able to go home at lunch time to let them out and feed them.
So when I lost Lucky, my whole world imploded; I no longer had a purpose. My house felt empty, my heart felt empty – each one of my 5 dogs took a piece of it with them. I was completely lost. I withdrew from the world, both the real world and the online world; my appearance anywhere on social media was next to nothing.
And I thought, well now I have time to take care of myself, something that I lacked in extreme. But then I felt guilty for thinking that, for thinking “now I don’t have to worry about anyone else but myself, now I can go and do things without needing to rush home by a certain time, now I can focus on taking care of myself and my health”. Immense guilt. I still feel it sometimes.
It’s still a long road ahead for me, it’s still difficult and my heart aches every time I think of them, but I am moving forward no matter how hard it is to want to go backwards. I know I have another purpose, even though I have to make myself believe that every day.
And I’m still working on taking care of myself, it’s an uphill road but I try every day to keep moving forward.