Our wonderful golden just turned 12-and I am so thankful for every single day I can spend with her. She was just diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy which is a progressive disease of the spinal cord. She will eventually lose the ability to walk. (It is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease). Just imagining our energetic, ball chasing dog with this debilitating disease is hard, so instead I have to focus on celebrating her and what she has meant to our family. So excuse the sentimentality but I need it to keep from being sad.
I still remember going to the breeders on a whim after seeing the newspaper ad. Watching the 6 puppies scurry around on the basement floor and then falling in love with the cute furball that loved to wedge herself against the wooden wall of her crate. To this day, she loves to sleep with her back against something. Or the funny habit she has of giving you her paw-I think she does it just to feel closer to you (but who am I kidding? I’m no dog whisperer). We immediately chose the name Cali, but the “official” AKC name didn’t come until later–Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Those first few years were lively, challenging, and fun. We didn’t have kids yet, so Cali was our fur child. She chewed on windowsills, the baby gate, and anything else she could get her teeth on. She’s destroyed more stuffed animals than I care to think about before we stopped buying them. And her special football-the one that squeaked–she would chase it down all day. Literally. The football eventually gave way to tennis balls and we had to resort to hitting the balls with a racket to still give her the exercise she craved. We took her on monster walks and had puppy play sessions with friends.
And then all our worlds changed when Taylor was born. But Cali? Ever the gentle giant, she has tolerated pulled fur and babies crawling on her, less attention and fewer walks, more time alone as we head off to various activities. And yet she’s always there to greet us when we get home with a wagging tail and a whimper. Some of our funniest memories of Cali involve food: she’s eaten a gingerbread house we inadvertently left on the kitchen table, a giant birthday cookie we left on the oven, and a entire jumbo bag of M&M’s. (Can we say sweet tooth?) I wish I could better describe how woven into the fabric of our family Cali is. But if you have a pet that you love dearly, you get it. So since it’s Thanksgiving and Cali’s birthday, I give thanks to God for blessing us with an amazing dog.