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Still Waters: A million pieces

Posted: Friday, Apr 19th, 2013

That’s how many pieces my heart is broken into.

It’s like a bright light in my world was extinguished and my soul will always have a dark hole.

My heart aches. It is a familiar ache I have known too many times before. The evidence is on the shelves where several boxes and tins remind me of past losses.

And soon there will be one more.

My sweet Freckles died last Thursday. It was the only time she ever hurt me, and of course she didn’t mean to even then.

The precious folks at Alpine Veterinary who had cared for her for so many months surrounded her last Thursday morning as Dr. Carla kindly helped my sweet four-legged friend go to sleep.

Freckles was tired and weak. She hadn’t eaten for days, and even the water she drank wasn’t staying down. The diabetes she had lived with for the past few years finally shut down her kidneys. It had already taken her eyesight.

But her tail wagged to the very end.

She was always such a good natured creature, her tail always wagging, her tongue always reaching out for the nearest “sibling” pup.

She was the best.

She had entered my life, as most of my four-legged friends have, not through my own choice, and at first I thought my house was the wrong one for her. She had so much puppy in her even though she was already a young adult with gangly legs, a lethal tail and a penchant for crawling under the fence to go find friends to play with in the neighbor’s yard. She always had a toy in her mouth. It seemed she couldn’t even go outside to do her business without one of those toys. Often she talked with her mouth full.

Freckles was a precious creature, nearly guileless. There were only a couple of times she got into scraps with anyone, once with my then-boss Hew’s dog Buddy and last summer with my latest acquisition Ebony. They were friends in the end, though, and Ebony laid in the hallway by Freckles those last few nights.

All of my pups have been special to me, but some of them held an extra special place in my heart. With Katy and with Freckles I had an indescribable bond. Freckles reminded me of Katy, not in looks by any means, but in her manners. Both walked with their tails wagging. Katy was a golden/lab/elkhound mix, and Freckles was a Dalmatian mix probably with some pit in her.

Freckles had been abandoned with her siblings and mom on the east side. After the pound and at least one other foster home, she wound up at my house, where at the time she was the only girl. One by one her “brothers” died, and when she and I were the only ones left, I took in a boy dog one of my coworkers had rescued east of Alamosa. Freckles loved the puppy, who was an adult dog but always a puppy to her, and he was good to her as well.

In fact, there were hardly any creatures Freckles didn’t love.

I am so grateful I was one of those lucky creatures.

Even when I had to give her shots of insulin twice a day, she came up to me with tail wagging to get her dose of medicine.

That’s one of the wonderful attributes of dogs, their ability to forgive.

For 10 years Freckles blessed my life. I knew this year would be her last, but of course I hoped it would be later on. Her kidneys were failing, and twice a week the wonderful staff at Alpine would give her infusion of liquids to help those old kidneys flush out her system.

But finally, it wasn’t enough. She went downhill fast that last week, and I just knew it was time.

I loved her more than life, and I believe in the depths of my soul she and Katy and all of the other precious fur faces I have loved in my life will be reunited with me someday.

But now, my heart lays broken in a million pieces.

And Cole Porter seems to be singing in my mind …

“Every time we say good-bye I die a little.”

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