Claudine.

The podcast will go up Thursday no matter what, but The Hubby and I are taking some time. Last week without warning, our Claudine took very sick, very suddenly. Sunday she was fine, by Thursday she was gone. The monthly newsletter will resume in January, as will Edacity and all the other fine things you’ve come to expect from Edacious. Have a wonderfully happy and healthy holiday season with family and friends. Claudine would want that. Below is something I wrote on her last night with us, followed by a tribute The Hubby wrote on her last day. Here’s hoping we all spend our last day upon this earthly plane frolicking and joyful. Whenever that may be. Peace.

Claudine chose us to be her parents a little over two years ago. We’d grieved for Lois long enough, so we opened our hearts, and asked the universe to send us another perfect spirit to guide us and teach us that a dog’s life is the best life. You hold no grudges, see every walk and meal as a new adventure, and approach each new morning as an opportunity to grin, jump, and play. Regrets? What are those? A dog only knows now. And now is the absolute best. Dogs never ask for much. But they give you everything.

Three times the lab rescue got our hopes up. Three times they were dashed. Then late one night surfing Facebook I saw Claudine. And I knew. She did too. Her first meeting with Bruce was like in the movies when the guy and girl run across a meadow of flowers in slow motion before falling into each other’s arms. From the first moment, they were inseparable. A boy loves his dog.

She was pure dog from the first. Everything Lois was not. While Lois was an old soul, wary and watchful, wise and knowing, Claudine was full of the innocent exuberance you see in toddlers on Christmas morning. She loved everyone. And everything. Even a trip to the vet was the possibility of meeting a great new doggie friend so let’s get in the car! Her smile and bright eyes were contagious. And her gorgeous red-brown hair made her the supermodel at the dog park and doggie “spa” where we often got reports of her heading up games of Chase and Wiggle In The Grass and Let’s Eat This Deer Poo Before We’re Caught. She taught the other dogs being away from your peeps wasn’t so bad. Come on guys, let’s play! There’s a reason that Button, the Cavalier King Charles next door, would come sit outside the front door and bark. As if to ask, “Can Claudine come out to play?” Everyone knows doggie play dates with Claudine are the absolute best.

Claudine had none of Lois’s issues. Food guarding? I’m just so glad to be eating I’d love to share! Thunderstorms? Okay, not my favorite but I’ll just snuggle in the bedroom. I’m not afraid. Other dogs? Goody! It was like Claudine came into our lives to teach us life can be easy too, not always a challenge to be overcome. It’s all in your perception.

So Monday when her vitals crashed during a routine trip to the vet we were in such shock and disbelief it felt like a bad dream. She’d had trouble peeing. Whatever, I get that sometimes too, let’s take her to the vet. An hour later Bruce is rushing her to the ER and she’s being catheterized and given a diagnosis of urethral cancer. Aggressive. No recovery. Just like that our healthy happy dog was given a death sentence. Not weeks. Days.

In hindsight, it seems appropriate. Where Lois was at the vet all the time with various ailments, Claudine, other than a bout with Lyme, has always been healthier than a triathlete. Of course, she’d leave us this way. Just the way she came in. Quickly and profoundly. Not linger. Or suffer. Just grin her big doggie grin, wag her tail in thanks, and with a promise in her eyes that yes, she’d see us again sometime, trot off for further adventures.

Dogs and people come to us for a reason and a season. I sit here on the bed typing, listening to her snore during the last night of her life. The neighborhood dogs bark outside, calling, as if they know. I am sad. Sad I can’t take her on a whirlwind excursion like that old dog gets in the Subaru commercial that always makes me cry. Sad I can’t have more time to rub her velvet nose. To see her jump in the snow. To listen to her sighs of contentment. To listen to her snore, which sounds like a combination of a freight train and dreaming hippo. It’s the snore of a tired, deeply contented spirit. A snore that hitches and quits abruptly when she’s dreaming, paws twitching in anticipation of whatever rabbit has had the stupidity to place itself in her path. But I’m also profoundly grateful I got to know her. Grateful she taught me that no matter what, obnoxious optimism is always the way. The very best way. It’s what I’ll remember most.

So tomorrow afternoon when Claudine’s spirit energy rejoins the cosmos all around us, be sad, sure. But be happy too. Because it means that 21 grams of obnoxious optimism have been released from the slab of meat that had the nerve to decay and deteriorate. I like to think her boundless energy was just too much. Her doggie body simply could not hold it all in. Her light had to rejoin the universe where it belongs. Where it can ease the pain of all of us by showing us that life doesn’t have to always be a challenge or a chore. Even going out to take a pee can be a supremely fun amusement park adventure. I find comfort in that. I hope you will too. I love you Little Fuff. You’re a very good girl. Big Love.

From The Hubby:

The very last day of a good dog: Claudine took a long walk, doing the wiggle worm in her favorite place. For breakfast she had a big can of wet food, then a greenie for dessert. Then she had some smoked turkey from BBQ Exchange. At noon we went to the dog park where she played with a puppy named Finn, running and swimming and just being happy. Then her friend Boo came by for a visit, followed by some more smoked turkey. When the vet came she got even more treats-frozen baby food which was like a chicken popsicle. And then she fell asleep while looking into my eyes.

We honored her happiness by not letting her suffer, we honored her life by making sure her last day was spent at home.

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