The Greater Sadness

The camping weekend isn’t quite going according to plan.
The Plan had been to get together at a friend’s house and then leave today at the break of dawn. We’d then join the others who had already been there since yesterday evening (in the cold, and the rain). Things were going according to The Plan until this morning, when my partner and I awoke to a house filled with a greater sadness. The friend who we had been staying with’s one dog (an aging border collie, German Sheppard cross) had been sick all evening and couldn’t get up. She was twelve years old, and had already lived twice as long as the vets had predicted that she would and – although we knew that it was coming, it was still quite a shock to see her in this state.
My friend, Ingrid – is an amazing person. She’s sixty years old and has had a challenging life, having raised three kids on her own after her husband’s suicide. What always amazes me about Ingrid is her calm. I would’ve thought that with everything life threw at her she’d be bitter and dark about the world but she isn’t. With calm grey eyes and light, silver hair, she looks like the wise monarch of a city and the interesting thing is that people flock to her as they would to such a monarch as well. My partner and I love her dearly which is why this morning is so traumatic for us all.
Ingrid has taken her dog to the vet, quietly stating that she thinks it is the end. I agreed with her, but hearing her say it was… Sad. I can’t describe it. She even apologized for disrupting our camping weekend.
I’m a bit overwhelmed and in shock, which is why I think I’m writing this. It had taken a lot of effort to get the dog (who was lying outside under a tree) into the car. I had managed to pick her up and carry her into the house. There, the dog started whining and moved around in my arms until I lay her down on her bed. There, she quieted down and put her head on her paws. Ingrid’s son and I then took a corner each and carried her to the car. She didn’t move again, didn’t whine. Ingrid calmly got into the back of the car with her, where she put her head on her lap and closed her eyes. In a sense, I’m wondering if the old dog would make it to the vet.

Pets play an important part of our lives. They become extensions of us, our better halves. I have always shared my life with animals (so much more than with humans) and cannot imagine living without them. I have a dog of my own, an old sausage dog called Nikki, and she’s my world. Not to mention my horse – even though I’ve only had him for two months. We have a relationship with our animals, who give to us what other people cannot and to see the end of such a relationship this morning is terribly upsetting. Ingrid treated her dogs with a quiet respect that has turned them into souls that would do anything for them. She speaks to them quietly, asks them nicely to do things and thanks them sincerely when they do it. She’s taught me a way of working with animals that nobody else has.

I’m trying to think of a reason behind this post, why I’m writing it and I think again, it comes round to what I’ve said before. That writing is my soul and in doing this, I put a bit of my sadness, a bit of my respect and a bit of my loss to black and white where it can heal and recover. I’m not quite sure if it’s appropriate to share, but stubbornly I’m doing so anyway if only to tell with the world that today, a relationship will end.