Sunday, June 10, 2007

Still a Miracle

Yesterday was one month since Bama's accident. I had hoped to post more pictures and a celebration of her progress. Instead, the previous post conveys sad news. It describes how I lost Bama on Friday. I wanted to let you know what that post contained before you read it.

My hopes for Bama's recovery were high, as those of you who have followed this blog know. The vets and I were blindsided by what happened. They are still discussing possibilities, and you might want to continue to follow this blog for a while. If they discover the cause for her rapid decline, it may be something you will want to know.

I debated about deleting this blog when Bama's path to recovery did not end as I hoped. I wanted so badly to be able to take Bama in to visit people who are coping with illness to inspire them with her fight to live. Then I realized that Bama's efforts deserved to be memorialized and celebrated. Even in her death she inspired me. Some of the vets have been following this blog, and after Bama died, one of them said to me, "You can't give up and go on disability. You do have more to give." Yes, I will honor Bama's memory by continuing to give what I can.

I refuse to taint Bama's memory by false guilt. I am human, and I made a costly mistake. My love for my little dog was pure; I would never have intentionally hurt her. Dogs do live in the moment. Dad kept Bama in a dog bed on his lap after she was injured. Much to my surprise, when I let Bama out on the driveway to walk, she walked to back of the van and looked up at me expectantly to put her in with the other two dogs. It wasn't a question of forgiveness to her. She never associated me with what happened to her. That's another lesson I want to remember. I think it's easy to try to make people feel responsible and guilty for things they do that are unintentional. I want to give others permission to be human, too.

This little dog gave so much to me. Four years was much too short to have her in my life. A wise person once wrote, "It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." You may wonder if I regret the thousands of dollars that it cost to keep Bama with us for an extra thirty days. I don't regret a penny. In those thirty days, I learned how much she meant to me; I was able to convey to her how much she meant to me by my care of her; and she taught me never to give up. I am not poorer; I am richer because of those thirty days.

What do I hope to accomplish by leaving this blog on the Internet? Many people have shared stories of their not-on-purpose with a dog. Because of what they have shared, I have added stickers with the word "dogs" to the handle of my car door and my window to help me remember when I am busy and distracted that the dogs are in the back of the van. I will never use the remote to close the van when the dogs are traveling with me. Perhaps those of you who are reading this will also take these lessons to heart. Perhaps, like me, some of you will be inspired to keep fighting when life becomes challenging.

I hope that some of you might be inspired to add a rescued pet to your life. Maybe you have hesitated because you remember the pain of losing an animal you loved. Bama's life is etched in mine, and I am better for it. I have come to believe as Cesar Millan says that dogs come into our lives for a reason--to teach us about ourselves. Bama certainly accomplished her purpose, as has every other dog in my life. When the time is right, I will welcome the next dog to enter my life with open arms. I hope you will do the same.

If Bama has touched your life, please add a comment. Let's bring as much good as we can from her memory.

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