Friday, March 21, 2008
Emma’s gone. She died at the end of January after a brief illness of severe arthritis combined with spinal stenosis that incapacitated all four of her legs. Twelve and a half is old for a dog like Emma whose mixed heritage of Sharpei, Pit Bull and Black Lab frightened more than a few passersby. But for most who met her, the wrinkles congregated around her face and her sleek black coat combined into a regal beauty and loving demeanor.
As a pup, she challenged us every day, as she ate batteries, table legs, one fur jacket, wood trim, plaster walls, and dismantled a steel cage. A constant moving target, she skittered up and down front stoops, sniffed bushes, and reversed direction halfway across a street.
Emma moved from puppy hood to old age overnight. One day she leaped onto our bed, balanced on her hind legs to open the laundry room door for a drink and raced down the street to chase a squirrel. And then she didn't.
In November, Emma refused to walk more than five feet past the front door of our building. She stopped walking up stairs to her bedroom mat. Food lost its charm. I carried her outside, fed her herbal supplements and scheduled acupuncture treatments.
The last weekend in January, our entire family assembled for the Waisman screening for Indestructible. She seemed to rally. Late one night, when Ben needed help, Emma licked Elizabeth, his caregiver, until she woke up. But after everyone left, she collapsed for the last time.
Every day, I miss Emma’s crazy tail whipping against my leg, her smushy face and sweet eyes. I still hear her coming up the stairs to visit me at my desk. She enjoyed a full life, was well loved and is missed by many, pretty much what we all hope for.
1. Love with abandon
2. Find joy in the small moments
3. Stand firm when it matters
4. Show respect for the alphas in your life