“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.” Author Dean Koontz
We are feeling a little diminished around here right now as our beloved 13.5-year-old Luna passed on Dec. 13. Not the greatest time of year for this loss but paradoxically it is an appropriate time to appreciate what we have had to offset the loss.
She was diagnosed with advanced kidney disease a couple of weeks ago so we knew time was short. As any pet owner knows, the grief with a loss is tremendous but we were lucky enough to spend some really good time together with the 94-year-old.
Our family was able to take a last beach walk together. She was slow but her tail was wagging and we were quietly smiling and crying at the same time.
As George Carlin noted, “Life is a series of dogs.” Her last hours were spent on the “Grampa” chair, a comfy ’50s lounger that has been home to other beloved pets. I would sit with her and we would gaze into each other’s eyes in staring contests that I would never win.
My family would like thank the doctors and staff at Huff Animal Hospital who helped to make her last days peaceful. It used to be that anytime we were driving north of 12th Avenue, Luna would start to shake because she knew she was either going to the groomer or the vet. The past few trips saw her far more relaxed and even happy to see the staff which was nice. Thank you for the lovely flowers and condolences as well.
On Dec. 13 we had occasion to be with another 94-year-old. As fate would have it, my mother-in-law’s Christmas party at KinVillage was the same day as Luna’s passing.
A couple of hundred people of all ages gathered in a beautifully decorated hall to share stories of Christmases past. Dozens of volunteers spent a lot of time to pull this event off. High school students, KinVillage staff and other volunteers served a fantastic turkey meal.
First-time servers and busboys attended to the guests with smiles and good cheer. A delightful musical trio, complete with fiddler, played all the classic Christmas tunes. It was heartwarming on an otherwise troubling day to see multi-generations of families celebrating together.
The kindness and love that filled that room was astounding and I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the organizers and the army of volunteers that were able to bring smiles to the faces of so many that probably don’t smile as much as they would like.
After the event, Peggy took her mom back to her room and I walked home, taking the long way to reflect on the day. The festive lights on a dry, chilly night absorbed me, and all cliches aside, gave me cause to appreciate what I have, and what I have had. I want for nothing.
Live in gratitude and give thanks. Merry Christmas to all!
Sleep in heavenly peace, Luna.
Mike Schneider is founder of Project Pickle and likes to write about growing, cooking and eating food. He is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution ambassador.