Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blaze Through the Years

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Yesterday was a very sad day for our family.  We had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Blaze.  She had bone cancer in her left front leg, and we weren't able to control the pain well enough for her to be comfortble anymore.  She was 14.

Blaze came to us from the SPCA of Wake County in 2000.  She was found roaming the streets of Raleigh and was about 1 year old.  I was volunteering at the shelter then mostly fostering puppies.  Everyone loved Blaze (Aubrey was her shelter name) for her unique auburn color and calm temperament.  While the other dogs would jump on their doors and beg for visitors, Blaze would sit near the back of her kennel patiently waiting.  For a short while, she was adopted out to a family, but they brought her back.  The mom got her for her kids, but returned her saying that Blaze would only bond with her.  The foster moms took our puppies and a few older dogs to Petsmart one Saturday, and Blaze came with us.  She spent a good part of the day sitting on a captains chair looking as cute as could be.  (Does anyone have a picture of that?)  Still no interested parties.  I suggested she come home with me for the rest of the weekend to get a break from her kennel, and it was okayed.  She never went back.  Poor thing was quite timid and hand shy and definitely preferred women over men.  Of course we'll never know why she was so scared, but we hoped she would eventually come out of her shell.

For a while, I was just fostering her with the hope of getting her more comfortable so that she could go to another home, but I was in love with her and also felt that she needed a real dog family to manage her.  Soon, I adopted her.

Those who lived near us and visited us over the years can atest that she came out of her shell.  She got used to men, really enjoyed children, started to try to boss other dogs and critters around (well except when her boyfriend Jake would saunter through or my foster puppy Zoe would sneak over from her home nextdoor), and became a real friend and joy to family and friends.

She handled Kitty's arrival a couple of years ago with minimal issues, and she transitioned well when we moved last July.  As long as she was with her family and had her doggie bed, she was content.  But earlier this year, she fell one day and yelped badly.  I thought she'd sprained her leg somehow, but no bruising or swelling, and she avoided walking on it with no improvement over a week.  An x-ray at the vet showed that she had bone cancer.  Not at all what I was expecting.  So sad...

Although I've had to say goodbye to other beloved pets over the year, particularly to my Leo who died of heart cancer at 4, nothing ever really prepares you for it. Especially hard was letting the boys know that she was sick and explaining why we weren't going to let her suffer anymore.  Hard to manage my grief and their's at the same time.

I think I'll be looking for her in her spots by the fireplace hearth, near my bedroom door, and under the kitchen table for years to come...missing her.

Johnny wasn't able to read without her last night, but I hope in a few days he can find a new routine and get back to his reading.

A special thanks to Dr. Rodriguez at Fuquay Verterinary Hospital for crying along side me yesterday as we said goodbye.

Donnie took great care to prepare a place for her to rest near a dogwood tree in the front yard.  Daffodils are growing nearby, and I put a sasanqua camelia over the grave.  We'll remember her well when we look out over the front yard.

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