Ive since found the other side of this perspective.
Its been through much adversity and suffering (or witnessing of) that our family has come to witness so many miracles. Its the miracles that I refer to as the other perspective.
I have shared a few miraculous stories on this blog over the past 2 years, there are more.
Today I dedicate to a special little guy - a close member of our family.
His name is Shooter.
We acquired Shooter 9 years ago, on the day of Kali's 4th birthday (coming up in May).
Kali was in the midst of her 3 year chemo treatments when she presented the most chilling question I wish I could forget "Mommy, IF I live through my treatments, can I have a puppy?"
Our family dog had to live with my mom throughout her treatments, due to her lack of an immune system.
Needless to say, we took our daughter shopping for a suitable type of puppy.
This selection process took over a year, ensuring we would find her a perfect match.
Kali, with the fam chose a Papillion due to the low allergy coat, size and personality.
A world renouned breeder in Calgary was approached by a friend, pups on a waiting list for up too 3 years. There were no pups available however, this breeder felt compelled to fulfill this very important wish.
Weeks prior to Kali's birthday a pup surfaced in the most divine way.
It was the breeders TOP young grande champion puppy, bred to perfection complete with personality and intelligence.
Noted by judges as THE perfect canine, Shooter was making his mark in the circuit.
We watched him clean up at the shows we attended.
Ironically Shooter stopped growing at 7 months old.
His career was over as he no longer made spec for the judges.
Shooter was a very small dog, topping his grown weight at 6 pounds.
The breeder placed the call that we had been waiting so long for.
Our family had faith that IF Kali fought, she would be rewarded and the right companion would find his way to her. She was and he did.
Shooters personality was a perfect match for Kali - both innocent, sweet and charismatic.
Weeks to follow, Shooter had a check up and a neuter at the local vet- it was here that a progressive kidney disease was discovered.
Our puppy was acting unwell, but I could not believe his condition was as severe as presented to us.
How could THAT happen after all that Kali had been through.
His health further declined, rather quickly.
It was recommended by our vet that we return our pup to the breeder and ask for a new one.
She continued with "the breeder should be responsible for putting him down - he's in kidney failure".
This was not an option for us. Shooter was our family, not just a pet.
I sought out a second opinion that matched with the first vet. It was recommended that we put him to rest as the vet bills would put us further into the poor house only to save a few months of non quality life.
Again - no option.
I took our dog home and cracked open my books. I was practicing as a Master herbalist and studying as a Naturopathic Practitioner.
Homeopathics and a diet of raw moose meat infused with a herbs and phytonutrients resulted in success.
Within 12 months, to the vets surprise, Shooter regained full kidney function.
Increased energy lead Shooter to tear around the house with his favourite squeaky "monster" in his mouth, so much that a wipeout down the stairs left the little guy with a broken leg.
A custom made pin and a bright orange cast lead the first series of structural injuries this poor dog endured. Despite his aches and pains, Shooter exemplified the definition of "happy".
By the time Shooter was 6, his knees were shot.
He had a strong, unwavering will, but his constitution was very weak.
With the absence of cartilage between his joints he had shut down and could no longer bear weight.
Again the vet recommended that we choose to let him sleep as it was the most humane option with the pain he had endured.
I sadly agreed this time, but took him home to be with the family for a few more days to say goodbye.
Gord begged me to reconsider as he had a strong feeling that it was not his time - even though he was crippled. Gords intuition, when exercised is not something to be reckoned with. I agreed as I get those same moments.
Back to the remedies - luckily I was able to find success again.
Shooter was walking within 3 days - his pain subsided, tail wagging, eating, begging and in desperate search for his monster.
Shooter learned to compensate, redistributing his weight on elbows now walking like a bulldog. It wasn't ideal but it allowed mobility thus preserving quality of life.
We learned how easily one can break bones, body systems, virtually anything structural. IF you have your will and heart invested, its difficult to break spirit. This little guy taught us that everyday.
Last year, 2 weeks prior to Kali's birthday, Shooter had a massive stroke.
Initially he had lost vitals and slipped away in Mandys arms.
We went through the process of shock then loss as the kids wept over his body.
Then he came back. Our friend Marina who is a vet and lived close by came to his side.
We all united as a family and prayed over our doggie.
Hours later we determined that his fate was inevitable - we said our goodbyes again.
Gord and I took him to the emergency clinic (of course after midnight when most chris's happen).
As I pulled into the parking lot his ears perked.
Gord shared his little gut feeling again - he was feeling hesitant.
I placed him on the road and lo and behold, Shooter starting to walk.
Granted he was very crooked and weak, it was like he needed to prove something.
We proceeded inside to notify them that we had arrived.
Shooter struggled out of Gords arms so he could walk around and check out all the scents of the other critters in the building. Needless to say we took our dog home.
The kids were shocked to welcome him home.
The next 5 days were critical as he stayed at the clinic in the care of our good friend.
We all said our goodbyes a total of 3 times as he roller coastered along confusing the vets and us.
We finally brought him home, in a weakened but stable state.
Within one month, Shooter had made a full recovery. He was back on remedies.
The hoarding of monsters, begging for treats, chasing off big doggies and soliciting extra attention showcased his determination to remain as the charming alpha in our home.
One year later, Shooter fell into poor health again. He had been on a very gradual decline these past months and to be honest I did not expect he would last this long with all considered.
These past 2 days Shooter had reverted to the same symptoms and behaviours since his stroke last year.
I kept him comfortable by the fireplace and last night I sat close and gently stoked his fur, asking for his recovery only if it was in his destiny or allow my little guy to just go peacefully. No more fuss, no more aggressive treatments. Again, the only priority was quality of life.
I took Shooter into the clinic this afternoon.
The attending vet was the one who neutered him 9 years ago, pulled out half his teeth 5 years ago, and assisted with his care with the stroke. She knew how special he was.
I educated her about his connection with Kali.
With tears welling, she explained her findings today.
Gord, Mandy and I held our dog, tears dripping on the table as our Shooter peacefully slipped away. As sad as it was, it was beautiful to witness such a perfect passing.
He was not trembling, he was not in pain - he knew it was time.
In the end it was his heart that had finally tuckered out.
One can say that he was just a dog. He was our family.
He taught us about spirit. He taught us perseverance. He was fiercely loyal, he taught us that dogs DO love their owners. He was highly sensitive, like Kali - easy to please, easy to teach, easy to discipline, easy to love. Yes dogs have feelings. Like a child he coveted, everyday obsessing about who was touching his monsters. He was happy, everyday like a trooper - even on the bad days. He just knew he was special.
Arkeno-Rodeo-Life-of-the-Party (aka Shooter) We will never forget you.
Thank you for loving us.