I have been trying to write this post for several days. Many of you, over 250 of you, have already read about this over on Facebook but because Cassie was responsible for the start of my Of Dogs and Writing posts, I wanted to write about her here on the blog at least one more time.
Last week, at the all-too-young age of 5, we had to make the difficult decision to put Cassie down. I will not go into reliving her many medical issues right now. All I will say is that her quality of life had fallen to such a low point that it was kinder, to her, to let her go. It is never an easy decision to make but I am firm in the belief that it was the right one. Still, that doesn’t mean the experience was easy. My husband and I have cried a lot of tears.
Cassie was a special dog, a heart dog. Even though I have had dogs all my life Cassie taught me how much I didn’t know about having, training, and living with a dog. And I loved every minute of it.
Cassie wasn’t that interested in other dogs. She was polite enough to wander over and say hello.
But she wasn’t interested in playing with them and couldn’t see much use in chasing them around the yard.
So she was an only dog. A spoiled, only dog who had her own Lazy Boy chair. It was good for presiding over the kingdom.
And it was good for napping.
Cassie took her naps very seriously. It was always a good time for a little shut-eye.
Her favorite TV show was Pitbulls and Paroles and she would come into the library and hop in her chair whenever she heard Tia’s voice. She also loved anything with horses or chickens in it.
But she was terrified of the movie The Hurt Locker.
She was very smart.
And very brave.
And willing to try anything I asked of her when I said the words, “Trust me.”
She loved being up on things for the best view. Like guarding the patio.
On the chest guarding the library.
Keeping an eye on what’s happening in the kitchen.
Pretending to be invisible on the antique settee.
She didn’t even mind if getting up on things made her look silly.
Or got her dirty.
She was the official inspector of all boxes that came into the house.
She was also the home improvement building inspector.
She wasn’t very good at playing hide and go seek.
But she knew exactly which door held the leash, and which door hid the high value treats.
And she was sure the water features in the yard were just big doggy water fountains.
Her favorite toys were a giant orange gorilla and a little blue ball.
And her favorite place to be was in the garden.
In the garden is where I learned many of my life lessons and writing lessons from Cassie. It’s where she taught me to be still, to be in the moment. Which is why I am not going to grieve forever for Cassie, although there will always be a Cassie-sized hole in my heart. To grieve always is to allow yourself to be locked in the past. That’s not what Cassie wanted. That’s not how Cassie lived.
So we have opened the door of our hearts to a new rescue dog, a white German Shepherd named Zoey, who will have more lessons to teach me and more love to give me. We’ll pick Zoey up in just a few hours. And she will sleep in Cassie’s bed and play with Cassie’s toys and wander in Cassie’s garden. And she will bring me back to the here and now, in the moment. And I think that will make Cassie happy.
For those of you who have asked, donations in Cassie’s name can be made to the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California which is where we adopted Cassie. As an all volunteer run non-profit, they can use all the help they can get.
Farewell my wonderful friend. You will be missed by many. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the love.