I wanted a dog for years, but for various reasons, it wasn't possible. The daycare, money and lack of enthusiasm for the idea from other family members. Then there came a day when I announced I wanted a dog, and I was going to pray for one. I had my criteria.
*two years old or younger
*good with kids
*didn't shed much
There were those in the family that snickered at the last one. I wanted a free dog to drop from heaven for me? I wasn't planning on going to a shelter. I would just put the word out. And pray.
So the day I got the call about a pure bread peek-a-pom that was available, I had to work hard at not being smug. Yes, he was free. Okay, he was three years old and he did shed, but I was willing to concede those points. He was mine, and having him met a need in me that had been present since my teen years. I needed a dog.
He came to us from an abused background. His first two weeks were filled with diarrhea, as he had been eating spicy scraps from the table to survive. It took months before he didn't cringe when I petted him. He was used to being hit. But with love and attention, he became ours. Mine.
He was a great traveller. He loved the car, and airplane travel didn't phase him at all. The first time he went on a plane, I gave him Gravol. but it wasn't necessary, and I didn't do it again. We would go together to visit my sister in Winnipeg, and he loved her big back yard. They acquired Aurora, who was a seven-month-old huge puppy when we arrived the first time. Cinnamon would sleep on the couch, and Aurora would butt him with her nose, wanting to play. Cinnamon wouldn't open his eyes, or acknowledge her in any way, except to lift one side of his lip and utter a low "grrrr." A warning. If Aurora persisted, he would snap, and she would lope away, befuddled at this strange behaviour.
Our next visit, they became friends, and ran the yard together. By this time, Aurora was at least four times Cinnamon's size.
Three years ago, Cinnamon developed shortness of breath and wheezing that alarmed me. When I took him to the vet, I found out another man in my life had heart disease. He has been on medication twice a day since then. The dog who used to do the four kilometre walk around the lake could now only do shorter walks, and then no walks. His back end needed to be lifted up in the mornings. In the last few months, his energy seemed to be waning.
This weekend, he developed an eye infection, and I took him to the vet today, expecting to get drops to fix it. Instead, I discovered he had a serious and aggressive infection that would require surgery. However, he is not strong enough to survive surgery.
I made the very difficult decision to do the kindest thing I could think of, and end his pain. I spent the day watching him sleep and cuddling him. And then we said good-bye.
So, to my small, furry miracle, my best buddy, my reason to come home when I was alone, I say, "thank you."
You were, and always will be, a gift.