There have been some inquiries about Sophie's hip dysplasia...it seems the mention of something in one post often leads to another post...which is not a bad thing. I wrote this column below back in March of 2008 just after she was diagnosed. There are two columns that I will share with you from that time in our life. A year later, I am happy to say she is doing very well....strong, healthy, active....no signs of limping or pain. Our dreams of seriously competing in agility are over...but we have built new dreams and are living them together every day.
So from March of last year....Our Footprints.
For the second time in my life, I stood in a vet’s office receiving news that made the air too thick to breathe, that made my legs grow weak and that made my heart stop beating for an instant. My Sophie…my tear around, 100-mile-a-minute, lovin’ life, oh-so-young Sophie…has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and the beginning stages of arthritis. In short, it is a degenerative disease that can be extremely painful and debilitating. A disease that will get progressively worse as she ages and that will very likely make it difficult, if not impossible, for her to run, jump, play…even walk one day. When our vet gave me the news, after I brought Sophie in for a limp that wouldn't seem to go away, I felt my sadness, my anger, my grief swell up inside of me, threatening to burst at the seams. It seems that Fate sends me the animals that need me the most in this world. While I never have any regrets caring for my animals with special needs, it is not without a fairly high price of heartache.
A few days of research later, I had put together a plan for Sophie that, hopefully, would help manage the symptoms of the disease and that could enable her to live a happy and healthy life. I had learned that her condition could be aggravated, even worsened, by a lot of intense exercise, jumping, playing tug, etc. I was significantly more calm and positive than I had been in the vet’s office…but something was still troubling me. A part of me still felt unsettled and restless....like a piece of this new puzzle was missing. So I piled Sophie into the car and we went for a walk in one of our favorite parks.
As we were walking, with Sophie on her leash to try to keep her from stressing her hip, I looked out to the wide snow covered fields and saw a flock of birds sitting in the quiet morning sun. Sophie saw them too and whimpered to be let off her leash to chase down those birds. And I realized then what that missing puzzle piece was. I didn’t want all my moments with Sophie to become vet visits, unhappy leash walks and telling her to settle or lie quiet. That was not Sophie…that was not living to her. So I unclipped that leash and she burst onto the field, tail wagging. I took off after her and we ran in happy circles together…just like we have always done. I looked back at our footprints in the snow and realized this is how we would leave our tracks through the rest of our time together. Sometimes those footprints would be running and playing, sometimes walking and sometimes, no doubt, they would be resting. It is possible our trail might end up being shorter, but it will be built with the footprints of the living. And I know that one day will arrive, all too soon, where my tracks will be a single set in the snow…but I will be able to walk knowing that while she was here Sophie’s paw prints were filled with fun, with joy and with love.
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOOHOO - What a Ride!" ~ Author Unknown
Look for part two of this story tomorrow....She's Lucky To Have You.
Brand New Look
1 year ago