JD Allinder

Posts Tagged ‘death of my beloved’


In Posts on September 9, 2009 at 9:01 pm

GA in the Garden

Georgia died a year ago today. She was my first dog as a grown-up and my best friend for almost thirteen years. The full spectrum of Georgia’s effect on my life is difficult to measure. She was my constant companion for all those years, through thick and thin. She was the most reliable and important thing in my life. No matter how difficult a day was – and I had a few rotten ones over the years – Georgia was always waiting for me at the end of it. Nothing else really mattered when Georgia was around. She instantly put everything into perspective. I’ve never loved anyone like I loved Georgia. She was an angel from Heaven, and I like to believe that she’s returned home and is waiting for me.

I met Georgia in March 1996. I was at the Humane Society looking for my first grown-up, on-my-own dog. I took most of the dogs out for short walks to get a feel for their temperaments. I skipped over Georgia’s kennel several times. She was skinny and had dirty, stick-up hair. I was focusing my attention on the dogs I found aesthetically pleasing, but they weren’t interested in me. Each enjoyed going out for a walk, but there was no connection. After exhausting all the dogs, I sighed and took Georgia – her name was something else, I can’t remember what they called her – for my final walk. I found her so unappealing. I thought she looked like a junkyard dog – so undignified. As soon as we got outside, Georgia dragged me across the parking lot to a grassy knoll, jumped on me with all four paws, and knocked me to the ground. As I laid in the wet grass, covering my face, laughing, she was jumping all over and around me like a crazy nut. If she could speak English she would have been saying, “Let’s go!” Her message was unmistakable. I just kept laughing and telling her, “Okay, okay.” When I went in and told them I wanted to adopt her, I found out she couldn’t come home with me straightaway. She’d have to stay at the shelter another 72 hours for spaying. I thought I’d die. I didn’t want to be without her. I’d spent my whole life without her, and suddenly I couldn’t imagine being separated from her for those three days. I vividly remember those three days felt like a year. I never thought she’d be mine.

She died in my arms. She’d been having seizures for several months. They were most likely from a brain tumor that I decided not to test or treat. She was 13 – an old, old, lady – but she was still in good spirits. In fact, we even took a short walk the day before she died. (In 12 and a half years, we only skipped our daily walks three times.) During one of her seizures I couldn’t contain myself. I got on the floor with her and held her in my arms, crying. She licked my hand. I’ll never forget that. She was in the midst of suffering, and yet she was concerned about me. Her final seizure was violent. I thought she was dying. She lived through it, but the damage was irreversible. I let her rest all day. She didn’t eat anything. In the evening I took her to the hospital to have her euthanized. I helped her into the back seat of the car. It was warm out, and I drove with all the windows open. In the rearview mirror I could see her sitting up, enjoying the full rush of air on her face. She was smiling.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Georgia. Her pictures are all over the house. Sometimes I dream about her. I mostly think about her life and not her death, and I think that’s a good thing. Sometimes I do think about her death, though. I had never seen death until she died in my arms. One second she was alive, and the next she was gone. Life is so fleeting, so impermanent. I thank God for allowing our paths to cross. She was my teacher in life, and she’s my teacher in death. She’s still with me. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true.