Every day counts

So many of us go about our day to day business never really knowing the importance we have in the lives of others. I have personally struggled with this in my life, especially in recent times. In recent days, even. Yesterday, Dublin the Dog and I found ourselves downtown at high noon, thirsty and hungry. We decided to dine outdoors at Mary’s Secret Garden in beautiful downtown Ventura because we noticed that the outdoor tables were all populated by people with dogs. Ordinarily, I shy away from outdoor dining, especially when the sun is shifting and can get uncomfortably glaring. But on this day, I was drawn to the thought of sharing my time with strangers and their dogs while enjoying a salad at my favorite restaurant. So we sat, and ate, and watched…and enjoyed the attention and tummy rubs from passersby. Well, I enjoyed the attention, and Dublin enjoyed the tummy rubs. 🙂

When we got up to leave, we walked by a table at which sat an earthy, smiling, middle-aged couple. Between them sat a huge Rottweiler with the softest brown eyes and the gentlest temperament. His name was Elvis. Dublin and Elvis exchanged sniffs and kisses and then settled quietly beside each other, after Elvis failed at retrieving the treats in my pocket with his giant wet nose. I stood there for about fifteen minutes chatting with these very articulate people (Val and George) about how Elvis, way into his senior years, had recently had cancer treatment and was actually on the mend.  We talked about my sweet border collie, Sadie, who was a month shy of her 16th birthday when I put her to sleep after her hips failed, just four short months ago. We talked about how I’d thought I’d never get another dog, but how adopting Dublin had eased the healing process by saving the life of another. We talked about issues such as how food production in this country is going so perilously wrong. We talked about music, and they revealed that they are both musicians, and that they have been looking for a violinist such as myself to record on their next album. We exchanged cards as we left, and then discovered we were all headed for the same place…the Wharf – a wonderfully, fun place to shop if you have pets.

At the Wharf, we spoke again briefly as Elvis and Dublin sniffed inquisitively around the generous assortment of bones and cookies that spill over from tubs located throughout the store. Before they left, George found me in the back of the store and gently shoved a CD into my hand. He was giving me a gift of his and Val’s music. His generosity warmed my heart. I thought about them last night before I went to sleep, and smiled.

This morning, after a completing a three-mile hilly hike with Dublin, we came home, plopped ourselves down on the couch, and I immediately opened my email. There in my inbox was a letter with the subject “Thanks to Dublin.” I don’t think Val and George will mind if I share that email with you here. Please check in with me again, at the end of the email. I know it’s long, but it’s worth it. Here goes:
Hello Samara…

Just wanted to send a special thanks to you and Dublin. You were the last new friends Elvis made in his life.  He died this morning. We will be in touch, but I wanted you to have the message I sent out to everyone and thank Dublin specially for being his new friend and helping him on his journey.

Peace and love to you,
Val and George


Hello Dear Friends,

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during our time of fighting Elvis’s cancer. The good news is that we beat the cancer. He saw the vet yesterday and she said he was winning. She was really impressed with how great he was doing and how great he looked. The bad news is that he died this morning. It was probably a heart attack brought on by the chemo drug, but we won’t know for sure ’til the PM is done this week.

He seized in the hallway on his way out to walk with me and we brought him back with CPR. He stood up, got his leash on and proceeded to drag me out the door and down the sidewalk. We got him in the truck and he seemed fine. About 2 miles into the drive he seized again and I pulled off. George and I kept up CPR for a long time…he came back twice but we just couldn’t keep his heart beating.

When I looked up to see where we were, I couldn’t believe it. I stopped the truck right near the farm where our mare, Rosie was kept. We could see her stall from the place we stopped. We put Rosie, our rescue, down this past Monday because her body was finally tired of being in pain from the torture she endured. She was completely ready and we all did well. She died peacefully and quietly. Once she was gone, we found that, indeed, the coffin bone was going to push through the sole of her hoof very soon, causing great anguish and rendering her unable to stand. We knew it was a good decision because we saved her from this pain.

Now Elvis has gone to run with her. The only logic I can see from him is that he saw how heartbroken we were to say goodbye to Rosie, so he decided to go to so we wouldn’t have to be heartbroken twice. What a great love he was.

Yesterday was a big day. We went running around in my new truck visiting people, went to the vet, and walked in the woods with our friend Greg and his new dog Molly. It was a fine last walk. We ate breakfast at an outdoor cafe with some other folks and their beagles. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant, Mary’s Secret Garden, in Ventura. Elvis sat on the sidewalk and ate Mary’s almond cheese with fresh vegetables. He met lots of other dogs there too. It was a great last day. The last dog he played with was “Dublin”, fitting on the Saturday of the St. Patty’s Day Parade.

Thank you all so much for your love and support during these trying times. Please hug your pets for us today.

Love to all,
Val and George

I say right now, as I dab the persistent tears from my eyes, that you just never know what this life will bring. You are guaranteed sorrow and you are guaranteed joy, and often they will arrive together. But through it all, there’s always a place in your heart for the friends you have met and the beauty you have shared together. That, in itself, makes it all worthwhile.

Peace and Love,

The Philosopher

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