My Autumn



It seems fitting that my life should end in autumn. Dogs are born, dogs die. I’ve lived my life, now it’s time for Journey to live hers.

I’m not sad to have reached the end of my life. I’d like to live longer because I’m happy now, but it’s ok. You can’t have everything the way you want it.

It’s hard for people when they see my crippled body and hear my story not to pity me. But I feel no pity for myself.

I am a survivor. I survived against all odds. I survived cruelty and neglect. I survived two trips to death row. I survived near starvation and now I have survived a year since my cancer diagnosis.

Should I be bitter about the harm I have suffered? Or should I be grateful for the love and care extended to me by complete strangers? Bitterness is self indulgent. I’ve chosen to be grateful.

When you cross the bridge to a new dimension, you can’t bring a suitcase of your favorite stuff. You can’t even bring your body. Instead you leave your fur behind and only your spirit moves on.

I’ve got my spirit bag packed and ready. It holds memories of people and dogs I have loved. It’s bursting with joy over my life at Asherpark. It’s filled with longing for my mother, who promised she is waiting for me on the other side.

While I’m still in this world, I spend quiet hours thinking about the happy times I had with Ash. Even though I can’t play rough with him like I used to, I smile whenever I feel his boy energy next to me. I love that crazy dog.

But most of all I cling to memories of my human mom. In my mind’s eye I see her kneeling in front of me. As she looks into my eyes she strokes my head and whispers  how much she loves me. That’s how my life will end. The last thing I will hear in this world is mom telling me, “I love you, Shiloh.”

Until my final breath I contemplate one simple notion. “Life is but a journey; death is returning home.”¹

¹Rainer Maria Rilke

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