October 19, 2012

A Thought for Samhain...

I posted this a bazillion years ago on my old blog. September 12, 2006. Just thought with Samhain coming up, it would be nice to re-post.

This is highly significant for me, looking back. As strange as it might sound, Jaz left a legacy of handling great adversity with grace and good humour that continues to impact my life. I am now "insulin dependent" (I HATE the "D" word), and I went through absolute and utter hell coming to terms with it. It's not a whole bunch easier now, but life goes on. One thing that keeps me going is knowing how great her life was despite all those painful needles, and how she never seemed to let it get the best of her. Even after she lost her vision, she was still happy-go-lucky Spazzy Jaz. Funny to think of an animal as a role model, but honestly, I can't think of a better one.

When I think of my ancestors, I think of her.

In Remembrance of my Best Friend

As I sat at coffee today with my coworkers, we came onto the subject of "Pet Insurance", and what we would do if our pets got really sick. One was talking about his son's cat that has Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, another about what happened when her dog was diagnosed with severe allergies. Another mentioned a friend whose dog had become diabetic, and consequently, blind. They marvelled, and laughed rather loudly, that this "moron" could put any money or care into an animal that was going to be sick forever. I almost cried.

I couldn't help but think about how much she meant to me. Still does. Always will. And how much I would have missed out on had she not been there. Jazmyn was almost six years old when she was diagnosed. The vet said that we would be lucky to see another two good years from her, because diabetic dogs are extremely hard to care for properly. There just isn't proper treatment for it. I like to believe that the reason she lived well past her tenth birthday is that we loved her so much. I can't imagine not having had her around. The intense care and attention Jazy needed during her last five years could be difficult at times, and sometimes was nothing but a nuisance. But I cannot imagine deciding that half of her otherwise healthy life was less important than my five minutes, twice a day, to give her a needle. She was my best friend.

One of the times I've most felt wronged by God is the day she died. Which probably sounds ridiculous and petty to most people, to feel so strongly about an animal. I don't care. Two weeks before Christmas, and a few days before I was laid off, my parents both showed up in my driveway, and I thought they had finally taken my suggestion to "pop over sometime!" Not so... and as soon as they came in the door I knew what had happened. They had taken Jazy to the vet earlier in the day, as she had been having what we thought was a problem with hip dysplasia. It isn't uncommon for dogs of the "spitz" variety, so, it made sense. Strange to say, but we weren't that lucky. Jaz was full of cancerous tumours from one end to the other. They had her put to sleep at the vet's that hour.

My Mom said it wasn't that bad. She said that when she was asked if she would like to give her a treat, she replied that she would, and grabbed the whole jar from the vet's hand and fed each and every one to her. She was even sweet enough to have grabbed the jar of cat treats; something Jaz had picked up from my cat. Jazy must have thought she had won the lottery, as she was rarely allowed a treat. Any extra carbohydrates in her diet would screw up her insulin dosage.

I sat in the middle of my kitchen floor, hugging my knees and shaking hard as I sobbed, and completely succumbed to my own sorrow. Most people wouldn't consider me a religious person, but I am, in my own way. I had asked God, ever so nicely, if he could just let me have this one last Christmas to wrap her up some sort of chewy toy and put it under the tree. Instead, I sat in the basement of my parents' house on Christmas Day, waiting for my Dad to get home, and listened to the painful sound of silence. No pitter pat of little paws on the floor above me. I've never in a dogless house before. That was the single strangest experience of my entire life. The quiet was deafening.

While looking through my Dad's closet for some PJs to steal one day while they were in Florida, I found a perfectly cubic blue cardboard box, placed unceremoniously at the top of his closet. Curiosity got the best of me, as my birthday was soon approaching. I figured it must be for me. I opened the box and unwrapped it carefully, only to find an urn containing the cremated remains of my Jaz. I broke down.

You can't say that you've loved someone until you give your whole heart to them. I loved my sweet fuzzy Jazy with my entire being. As I have loved Mandy and Parzlee before her, and Bosco now. They are so precious to me. They rely on you completely, trusting you completely. And they love you to the ends of the earth for the simple things you do to take care of them. If only we could give of our hearts so freely.

I don't know too much, but I do know one thing. If wanting to preserve the happy life of one furry little being makes me a moron, I'll gladly take that title.

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