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Our Last Ride
Every day we deal with grief. On this day I dealt with a grief I had not experienced in my life before. Athena was her name and 12 years ago I adopted this 11-week-old Boxer. I didn't know back then that the next twelve years of my life with her would mean so much to me.
When I found her, I actually adopted her for an ex-boyfriend and that relationship would become a mentally abusive one, it changed the course of my life. Athena was there through every moment during that dark period of my life. When I had my first miscarriage, she sat with me and didn't leave my side. She knew when I sad or sick. During that breakup, I got her because his new girlfriend did not like dogs. I personally got the better end of the breakup. She became my road trip partner that day. I decided to leave my current world behind and go on my first road trip alone. I left to go see one of my dearest friends that lived 12 hours away. I packed up my Jeep and printed out directions... Yes, this was before GPS was on phones. I put Athena in the car and away we went. She kept me company and made me feel safe. We both got to see snow for the first time. She was NOT a fan by the way.
After that, we came home and lived the next seven years side by side and then I had two children. She never became jealous of my little boys but grew closer to me and protective of them. I had never seen an animal be so calm with children but she never once showed aggression towards them, not even in her old age.
When she was about ten years old she started having random seizures and if anyone knows, a boxer's lifespan it isn't very long after ten years old. So I knew my time with her was growing shorter by the day. The universe gave me two more years with her after that. The day came when she could not really walk anymore with her back legs and I had to make the decision whether or not I was keeping her on the earth out of selfishness for myself. I wasn't ready to let her go. I didn't know life without her. She slept with me whenever I wanted her to and my children had no idea what life was like without her in it. I tried a wheelchair for her but because of her age, her front legs and body were not stronger enough to pull her along in the wheelchair. It was her time and mentally she was completely with it and that's what made it the hardest decision. Would she forgive me? The day came that I had made the appointment with the veterinarian to put her to sleep forever. I threw her a doggy life celebration party, friends brought their dogs and we all gave her love and treats. The day of her appointment, my boyfriend brought her a cheeseburger and she gobbled it down with the little teeth she had left while she sat on my lap.
The picture I posted is my last car ride with her. My boyfriend captured this moment without my knowledge and I am so grateful for it. We all grieve in our own way and I wanted to capture every moment of her life up until the end. I had my boyfriend, best friend, and her husband in the room with me. They were my rock as I held her till her last breath and I still couldn't loosen my grip on her body. My eyes are full of tears as I write this and relive the memory of this day. I remember giving her many kisses and singing "The Very Thought of You" by Billie Holiday to calm her down. I refuse to let anyone else's face be the last thing she saw. I was her mommy.
My son asked me yesterday if he could see her again, as I held back the tears I had to tell him no and maybe one day she will visit him in his dreams. My heart still aches for her, my bed feels empty without her warm body next to me. I hope one day when it is my time she will be there waiting for me because I hope she knows how much peace she brought to my life and that she saved me.