I certainly wasn’t ready to write about it for last week’s blog post, and the cheerful post I had written about life with three golden girls had to be shelved.
She held on through her 10th birthday week, which was filled with ice cream, dog treats, long walks, dinner with friends, and a day out with two of her beloved aunties.
And she gave a final gift to goldens of the future.
As part of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the families of deceased heroes can make a final gift: A necropsy that allows the study’s researchers to add to their understanding of canine cancer.
Cali and her beloved brother Pirate died within a day of each other; another dear brother, Sailor — Orly’s dad — died in early summer. All three had internal bleeding, likely from hemangiosarcoma ruptures. I don’t have the lab report yet on Cali, but the wonderful emergency vet who took care of us was pretty sure that hers was from the liver. Both boys also had masses on their livers. Hemangiosarcoma is relentless and so, so common with golden retrievers.
The house feels empty without Cali, even though Spirit (our guest dog) and Orly are constantly tumbling around, wrestling, tugging on each other, chewing toys, and generally being the exuberant young dogs they are. (I especially miss having another adult in the house!) Her optimism and joy were unique.
When I wake up, I look for Cali’s wagging tail and enthusiasm as she greets the morning with a happy dance holding a favorite toy. Then I remember. I wake Orly, shove her off the bed, hug Spirit, and start the day … without my beloved friend. I miss her company as I work in my upstairs office, and have avoided walking her favorite route.
I spent much of the week calling, emailing, and texting some of her many friends with the sad news. She wanted to meet — and befriend — every person on the planet. In her 10 short years, she made significant progress toward that goal, and I clearly couldn’t notify everyone she has touched. We’ll all miss that sweet Cali girl …
Happy holidays from the Thinking Dog Blog! We’ll be taking some time off, but we’ll see you again sometime in the new year.