Tuesday, April 9, 2013
RIP - Winston Harris 1st
My heart is heavy with sadness. Winston, my four-legged and dearest little buddy had to move on to his next life. He was a faithful companion to me and Ron for many years, and then for me after Ron's passing.Winston helped me through the most difficult two years of my life. I will always be grateful for his love, devotion, loyalty, snuggles, walks and kisses.
He was born March 28, 2000. Winston was the most handsome English cocker spaniel. He had a tough life in the beginning; he was a beaten puppy by the time he chose me and Ron to be his family at the age of 10 months. Winston was a perfect fit for us.
For the first year we had him he never barked. After a year - we figured he knew he was staying with us forever- he started barking and we could not stop him. His nicknames were Sir Barks A Lot and Bob Barker. His barking had an annoying pitch to it; now I miss his barking.
He went everywhere with us that a dog was allowed to go. He ran with us, walked with us, traveled with us, boated with us and swam with us.
Ron and I used to say that if we had a nickel for each time he wagged his nubbly little tail, we would be wealthy. He enriched our lives. I think I have more pictures of Winston than I have of our kids - but don't tell the kids.
When Ron was in hospice, they allowed Winston in his room. Toward the end, Winston became very protective of Ron and kept barking at the nurses. He knew Ron was not well.
Winston became my everything after Ron's death.
Last summer on a long walk on Stewart Island in the San Juan's, I noticed Winston having trouble breathing. It was not long before it was confirmed that he had congestive heart failure. Our lives changed significantly - Winston called the shots when it came to exercising and it became very limited. We used to run or take long walks almost every day; the walks became shorter and slower.
He was on medication for fluid around his heart. Winston being Winston and previous terrifying events at the vet, he never let any vet get close enough for long enough to thoroughly examine him. At the vet his heart would pound out of his chest. We could only keep him as comfortable as possible with what we knew.
I lived in fear that he would die sooner than later. It was wrong of me to do so. A wise person convinced me that I needed to live with appreciation for him; to appreciate every moment we had together. I told him each day how happy I for each new day we had together.
On March 24 I took him for short walk. His little legs collapsed and I had to carry him back to the boat. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was a sign.
When Ron was in hospice he told me he was ready to die. "I am tired, I am done, I am ready to go."
There was nothing I could do to help him. All I could do was respect his decision and we waited together — for his last breath.
Winston gave me obvious signs on Sunday that it was his time to go. I could not do anything for Ron in his time of need but I did have the ability to help Winston. It was clear what I had to do. Following through was the tough part.
All the reasons to let Winston go were were for his benefit; to be free of pain, to be able to breath, to walk and run and play in his new life. All the reasons not to let Winston go was my own selfish one reason; I would be alone.
I just had to remember Ron and I knew what I had to do.
I had a beautiful day with him. I drove to the beach at Mt. Doug. It was warm and sunny. I helped him to the beach where he curled up on the warm sand and slept. While he slept I cried. I felt the need to make his final visit to the vet less stressful. I had picked up some medication to sedate him.
We then drove to the Mt. Tolmie. It was sunny and warm. I sat in the back seat of the car. As he grew sleepier he laid his head on my lap and I stroked his long beautiful ears. I could only find comfort knowing that he would no longer be suffering and he would be with Ron again. He would find quality of life in his new life.
I drove him to the vet and carried him in. I snuggled him as his little heart slowed down and he took his last breath. My boys are together again. My heart aches....
In the days to follow I have come to realize that we set each other free. Winston set me free to carry on in this new life I am discovering; I set him free to play with Ron.
I appreciate both Ron and Winston for the richness they brought to my life.
Run free; play hard little buddy.
It is up to me now, to live life to the fullest, so that I can share stories of my wonderful life when it comes my time to join them again.
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.