yesterday we said goodbye to reilley, my best friend (in the dog world that is – don’t worry i have human friends as well) of 8 years. i am sad, i am lonely, and i’m not quite sure who i am without him by my side but…b.u.t. i’m also grateful, honored and humbled to have had such a faithful and loving companion to navigate the last 8 years with. our time here together is over but he will remain a piece of me for the rest of my life. sadly i don’t think i have it in me to write the true tribute that he deserves so what i can muster will have to do.
if you read this blog then you know when we adopted him reilley was unsocialized and has remained wary of all people. our connection was immediate – i saw him across a baseball field and when we got up to each other i knelt down and he came right up and gave me a kiss and in that moment our relationship was forged. speaking of that you should know he had the sloppiest, most disgusting kisses but they always made me laugh and fill with joy because they were never bashful or coy – you just knew they were always, always full of all the love he had. somehow he managed to be goofy and reserved, graceful and ungainly, and teeming with joy that lurked just beneath his surface.
dave and i were looking at all our pictures of rei yesterday and the vast majority of them were of him running. over the last two to three years the hip dysplasia and arthritis slowly took that away from him and we had forgotten how he used to be… that big, goofy, galumph of a dog just loved to run. for the last month we had been trying to get his weight up so he could undergo stem cell therapy (the stem cells are harvested from fat tissue so there has to be enough fat to remove) to hopefully rebuild some muscle in his hips and restore some of the quality of life that he had lost. he was so healthy and so strong that i’ve constantly imagined that procedure being successful and having him in our lives for much longer. i saw the sadness in his eyes when he watched merle and carly flying around the yard and i was hopeful we could get him to where he could be a part of that again. the one regret i have is that we didn’t have long enough together to restore his mobility.
on sunday he was suddenly not feeling well but we were hopeful it was viral and would be short-lived. on tuesday when he seemed to be turning the corner i thought we were out of the woods but then wed he was no longer better and tests revealed he was in acute kidney failure and the best thing for him was to let him go. this will probably sound horrible and wrong and i’ve gone over it again and again in my head but i'm glad we weren’t able to “catch” it earlier, i'm glad there wasn't a hope that we could “fix” it because, while i would do anything to have him back by my side, i'm thankful he didn’t have to fight yet another thing.
i’ve not met a more adaptive, accepting being. he powered through his hip issues with aplomb. over time he had gotten fairly weak and would routinely fall but he would just hoist himself up and go on – no fuss no muss. he dealt with his seizure disorder and tolerated the side effects of the different medicines we tried to no avail in the same way. he was so strong and always without complaint and the only way i could repay him was to allow the fight to stop. i’m glad he’s at peace and imagine he’s somewhere chasing red balls with wild abandon and utter glee.
i’ve written this whole post and while it’s informative it really doesn’t tell you who reilley was. maybe someday i’ll be able to do that for him but right now i’m clutching his memory as close to my heart as i can. the thought of moving that information to my brain in order to share it feels like it might actually break me.
the day simon died this quote from buddha was in my facebook feed (does that sound like i'm facebook friends with buddha...i wish):
in the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
on monday somehow it made it’s way to me again and it feels like a guidebook for my life. currently covered in tears and snot i’m not the picture of grace but i have something beautiful to strive for.