Letting Go & Carrying On

053(1)There are so many stories I could share about Sooke! She was an amazing best buddy to both CrisMarie & I. She arrived in our lives shortly after I made the move to Seattle in 2000, and she has been an integral part of our lives for the past fourteen plus years.

It wasn’t like things started easy for her. Yes, she was our clear choice when we went to visit a litter of puppies out in Issaquah. She made quite the mark with her calm demeanor and clear wish to keep her home tidy. (Even as a puppy she’d walk away and find an appropriate spot to take care of any business.) She slept peacefully in CrisMarie’s arms all the way home. However, we had a few moments of doubt about our skills to become puppy parents, and after a meltdown, called to say we did not think we could keep her. The woman who had so carefully screened us calmly said, “that would be okay, but we’d have to wait until tomorrow to bring her back.”

Well, Sooke I think knew we had doubts and that night slept peacefully in her crate for over eight hours! Not one peep or wake-up-cry in the middle of night. She won us over! We’ve never doubted since!

She’s remained solid and calm. I think she really only got rattled with metal gates, and was quite unhappy if we get into a loud power struggle. Over the years she’s learned to simply make her way to another room when we were fighting.  It’s clear she would not take a side and would only return once our differences were being dealt with in a more appropriate tone!

As a mutt, she had the challenges of taking all levels of puppy classes with only pure breed classmates. It never seemed to bother her in the least that she did not have a bloodline or paperwork to rely upon. She had enough personality and unique markings to make it clear she was indeed a breed and class of her own! (Although, we sometimes say, “Oh, she’s “Tibetan Timberwolf” to some of those pure bread owners!)

Since we are travelers for work, Sooke has always had her favorite second homes! In the early days, it was just day care and Teresa one of her favorites for years. Teresa had a standard poodle, Lily, who was always along for the day, and ever since those days, Sooke has loved all poodles that cross our path. For our longer trips, Sooke was generally able to tag along! She loved Gabriola and the various dog lovers who allowed her to visit their homes – Andrew Bing, Carole Ames, Harriet Cowan and others. She even joined me for at least one Living Alive Phase! Though once we moved to Montana, the trip was one that wasn’t possible.

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With her buddies, Nico & Dusty!

Sooke though took quite naturally to Montana! She introduced us to many of our best friends – Meg Wolfe and Steve Lull, the Stolte’s, Maria at Four Footers, to name a few.

Meg and Sooke were best of buddies. For Sooke, walking with Meg and Steve and their band of dogs – Vinny, Nico and Dusty – was heaven for a number of years! We simply called her visits to their place a trip to the Dog Spa!! And when Sooke wasn’t keeping herself entertained at the Spa she was totally adopted into the lives of the Stolte’s – what we called Doggie CAMP! Never once did she not jump from our car when we dropped her off for one of ‘hunting and gathering’ trips (otherwise known as WORK).

There is no doubt I am really writing this post for me – not for her. She is fine, I am sure. Me…I am left with a bit of a hole in my heart.

I know it was best. I know she was in pain and had been for quite a while. The much harder part was when her mind seem to be going. She seemed anxious and scared. Often simply standing and staring, like she did not know where she was, or worse, who she was. It is never easy to know when the time is right. I knew I needed a little time with her before I could say good-bye. It’s been a long time since we walked, or have been able to play freely out in yard. So I settled for sitting in the sun on our driveway. She loved the sunshine and would sit and wait for my return after a run.

P1010474So Friday, I ran and came back and sat for a while with her in the sunshine. It was a sweet moment.

It’s cold, wet, and snowy now, and I know these were the worse of days for her.  So I believe the timing was right. Still my heart aches.

I know she’s not really gone. She’s one of many paw prints that make up my heart.

Dogs have been the best of friends for me. Long ago my first dog, Appy, walked right along side me through cancer, and taught me to love.  Blackie was the best of buddies for many years, so loyal and loving. Then there was Bailey (aka I/O), who though only around a few years, left a forever mark. And now Sooke – she taught me so much about friendship, loving, and now it seems letting go and carrying on.

Loving you always , Sooke!