Friday, June 11, 2010

Remembering a Heartbeat..

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

                                                                       --W.H. Auden
                    a small part of the incredible poem "Funeral Blues"

After sixteen years my best friend has left me. Dakota was doing worse, and then, still worse, and then she gave me "the look" you had all been telling me about. She also started to whimper in pain, which I could NOT deal with. I precededed to do one of the hardest things of my entire life yet, and took her into the vet on 1 June. I sobbed like a baby all the way there. I wanted to turn around and go home, to YELL at death, "No, she's MINE, you can't have her!" But I thought about how she had whimpered in pain all afternoon, and I kept driving. I got her there and we went for a short walk through some green grass, and spent time together. She was very calm, which I found odd, becasuse she always shakes and just hates the vet. Not this day. Dakota knew, and she was okay with it. I think she did it for me. She was the strong one. The vet came in and the entire thing was very peaceful. Her heart stopped at 1800. Exactly 6 pm. I held her the entire time, my arms wrapped around her neck. Then I sat and just tried to memorize her face, and kiss her nose enough for the rest of my life. I  even sort of convinced myself she wasn't gone, even though I have been a vet tech and am now an RN, and knew quite well she was. The staff were incredible and took me out through the back, telling me to settle on the bill another day. I loved them for making this part as easy as they could, and caring about my feelings.

The drive home was the most desolate hell I have ever experienced. The world seemed black and pointless around me. The days since have been terrible. My superiors have been cold and not understanding, putting me through far more than deserved, although I thank my co-workers for being supportive and caring. I am truly ready to hit the road for Florida--to live with one of my best friend's in Gainesville--I feel my time in Texas is done. I hate it here, and sadly, always have. I have maybe two friends, which is odd, I've always had lots of friends. (Best friends, just a couple...). Five years of hoping a place will get better is a fair shot. I want to leave nursing as well. To do what, I have no idea, but there sure are alot of beautiful barns with $$$$ where I'm going. Maybe I'll go shovel manure for awhile. The difference job wise between nursing and shoveling would be minute.

Since 'Kota died, the house is so empty, I constantly perk up when I hear one of the I.D. tags on a cat or my other dog of a few months rattle, I am poised; waiting to jump up and help Dakota with whatever she needs. Then it hits me. Hard. She's not here. I'll never be able to kiss her on the nose again. I feel like I'm in a fog. Can't eat or sleep, on the edge of losing my mind, which I won't but this HAS TO BE CLOSE. I cannot reconcile the little four week old darling I got in Key West and kept for all these years, to this, well, this urn that I have on the shelf. I am having a mahogony handmade box made with a picture and a plaque on it, but it is not here yet. I just got the urn (and it's ugly, plain, and white) back yesterday and have gone and talked to it once or twice, and shook it to let Dakota know we were home, and that I'm here. Her collar and tag, a card a co-worker sent, and some Wildflower seeds are also there on the shelf where I keep the Dresden Angels from Germany that my mom gave me. I had the chance to bury her on my friend's property, but I want to keep her with me to eventually have a small portion go into the ocean in Key West (her favorite beach to play!) and the rest to go with my ashes someday. I also will not stay in Texas and so burying her here was out of the question.

I suppose one of the hardest things to deal with in not having her here is  the "alone" factor. I have been single since my only marriage fourteen years ago. I pledged that I would only be with the right person after that mistake at the age of nineteen, and deal with being alone (if I didn't meet the perfect one) after that. But I always had Dakota. And when that wonderful dog was around, you WERE NOT alone. All the lonely times I would experience were better when she was present. She loved the beach, open restaruants (she didn't need a leash), going for our leashless walks and meeting people, chasing her rope bones (for hours!) and chewing on her rawhides (I had to throw away the Dingo bone bag, it is SO her and looking at it just GOT me), her hanging out of my Jeep or car for "her" rides, and following me for miles on my mountain bike for a trek. She loved horses and trail rides too! I suppose the days will get better, but loss is not my strong suite, I am finding. I will do another post down the road that is a proper tribute to Dakota, and her wonderful personality. Right now I just can't. In fact, right now, the whole front of my shirt is wet, and you'd think I'd never heard of a kleenex. But she deserves some real face time as the amazing, incredible, funny gal that she was, one that will explain why anyone would be so damn sad after having a friend like her around for sixteen years!!

On the Florida front. I do want to go. Probably more than even I really know. I have always promised myself I would move back, and with my friend losing her husband, When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll, the timing seems right. Scary, but right. Full circle. I think Jackson will love the jumper barn I have already picked out in Florida, don't you? It is 30 minutes away from the Ocala area--HITS, Canterbury--lots of big name Grand Prix shows, so if I play it right, I will receive lots of jumping training, and of course we will continue our trail rides which we both love more than anything!  I, myself never expect to be a Grand Prix anything, but I know I'll enjoy the lessons and showing, even if I'm just in baby classes! Honestly, I don't care. So, while I have a barn (or two) picked out, they can't be too snobby, or snarky as they can tend to be at the higher levels. That, I am certainly not, and won't put up with! I want down to earth and also competitive, the ribbons or the barn status should not rule the day. But the beauty of these places leaves me drooling. Bottom lip on the floor drooling. Especially after flat, brown, dry, scrub tree, no real Grand Prix circuit Texas. At least no circuit in my neck of this huge state. No doubt, Jackson will receive the royal treatment and love every minute of it, even if we can only afford pasture boarding if I leave nursing!

The times they are a changin' as old Bob Dylan used to say, come what may. We never know what is going to come, but it SURE IS going to come regardless, right? Gotta go, gotta move on. Nothin' stays the same....
Brilliant sentiment. But still scary as hell.

            And Dakota, I'll be seeing you at the pump.....Mama

If you are wondering about the comment above, see my post When I Get To Heaven.


  1. So sorry to hear of your loss. It's hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful friend but being pet owners, unfortunate for us, we have to. I can tell you it does get a little easier as time goes by but the hole in your heart will always be there, missing that special pet.
    When one door closes another opens, be watchful for it.
    hugs to you....

  2. I am too weary to read all your post...but I do know how you feel my dear...Your loverly Dakota...I know it is difficult to come home and to sit now too...I sometimes think I see Elise..and cry still tons. I miss her sooo much...
    I have been prying for you, you know.
    OH...I am so read are MOVING? Whoa...will see you soon...

    PS...GO TO " I LOVE their Products..and smartpak often has them included!
    I bet the wetter times are making Jackson blow the is normal for them to do it..and better that lameness.

  3. Mindy, I am so sorry about you losing Dakota. I could just feel the heartache and your pain and it makes me sad. It amazes me how much they can become such a part of us. I miss my girls so much just because they can't hop up on the bed with my leg right now!
    You have many changes going on and boy it sure sounds like you can use some good change at this point. Thinking of you :)

  4. THere is no greater curse than to have our wonderful dogs live so much fewer years than we do. I'm glad you were there for Dakota when she needed you and had the courage to give her what she needed.

    If your heart belongs in Florida, then you will find the doors opening to make that work. I hope you'll consider staying in nursing, though. At least give it another try in another place. You never know...

  5. Jane-I'm watching for the door, window or crevice to open, you can be sure. Thanks so much for your heartfelt and kind words, they sure do mean a lot.

    Kac-Yeah. That post turned out longer than I thought I had in me. I have used the Springtime products before, for Dakota's joints, never for a horse, but they were my first thought for a supplement for J's hooves. I also was thinking it was all the wet we had---a holy ton, enough for the Ark it seemed like! Thanks for responding tho', somehow I always feel better when I hear from you!!

    Steph--I think we have both had our share of crud. Just different sorts. To bad we can't get together and lament in person. Or perhaps just laughing together would be nice. For both of us. Perhaps someday we will meet in person! I am still feeling bad that I had no idea about your leg. I posted some dumb thing as a filler like 2 days before your break and then hadn't even looked at the blogs till last night. Just know I would never have not commented on something that HUGE had I known. :) Chin up, eyes forward!

    Winter--Advice about nursing taken, and will be thought about. Thanks for the kind words about my girl, it truly is a curse to live so much longer than them. So many memories when you have them 1/2 of your own life! I even looked into cloning her. No joke. It was like 100,000 or some insane amount.... :) I had the nerve to do it only because I had such love for her. Pain was NOT an option for one so special... As to Florida, it IS what I really want to do, the question is, will I have the nerve to do it? I made myself a promise that I would move back to the place of my heart, so I think I will. I've lived in 8 states, Florida has been the best by far!

    Thanks again everyone....

  6. I Just LOVE you Mindy...truly and dearly so!
    My heart, mind and soul is praying for yours~
    Xo as always~

  7. oh, this made me cry. Dakota had a great life.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  8. Mindy..I'm new to your blog. This post literally has me sobbing. I'm so so sorry for your loss of Dakota. It's one of my biggest fears..loosing my Mason. I literally just got up to give him a treat, and one for Dakota too.
    She was a very lucky dog to be loved for so long and until the very end. You should be very very proud that you have a dog like Dakota waiting for you on the other end, wagging her tail :)
    That part of your heart can never be replaced, but maybe one day, you'll find a dog special enough to love again and add to your family.

  9. Merri- Thanks for reading. And for crying. If I can make people feel something, then I guess my point was well and truly made!

    Kristen-Yeah, I found your blog through Pru and I think Megan (Wet Reins) and saw your post on Mason. I thought to myself, now there is a dog buddy, she TOTALLY get's it. I felt like I could have written that post you wrote about Mason about my girl Dakota! I could tell that you totally "GET" it. Everyone always says how lucky she was, and she was, she got the best of everything, most especially my love. What most people don't think to remember is HOW LUCKY THEY ARE to be blessed with their dogs. God sent her to me, (and you'll die when I scan in puppy pics) because he was doing his own work, sending me a truly perfect gift. Thanks for your comment, and I'm sure Dakota enjoyed "her treat" from you and Mason. (I love his name!! That is one of the names I had picked out for my son, but we only agreed on Miles!). I can't say that losing you boy will ever stop being one of your greatest fears, but I advise you to live it all. On a day you may be thinking, well, maybe I won't take him with me, cause... JUST DO IT ANYWAY! It's the time spent and that unconditional love, you won't forget.... Can't wait to be a regular reader on your blog! YAY! Nice to meet ya' Kristen, pony face, and Mason!


Please leave your comments here! I am always happy to hear from all of you in the form of advice, encouragement or questions!
~Slainte' Mhath!