I’m not really sure why my mom thought of the name ‘Bathsheba’ for my little ball of fur puppy. Yet the name stuck, although mostly she came to be known as ‘Sheba.’ Now, fourteen years of happy life later, my now beautiful loyal Akita/German Shepard dog is on her last days here in this world.
Many people here in my one-horse rural town think of dogs as a tool for guarding, hunting or herding livestock. They would not understand my devastation about my dogs recent stroke and resulting paralysis of her hind legs. They cannot relate to the sense of stress and sorrow I feel as I monitor her hour after hour, day after day…awaiting the inevitable…her death. I pray the Lord will take her, yet her apparent joy for life is still strong, and indeed it may be my decision to have to put her down. So I have made time to be with her a much as possible in this tiny window between now and tomorrow…between life and death.
I find it fascinating that she herself seems to know this and is also taking full advantage of our last minutes together. Normally, my very ‘lady-like’ ‘Queen’ Sheba would never venture outside in the heat of the day, with all the dirt and bugs. It is customary for her to be disdainful and aloof all other critters and people. No longer.
As if she is preparing for her reunion with Mother Nature, she seems to revel in the feel of the dirt beneath her hide, lying watchful under the stars at night, enjoying the sun warming her body during the day, and showing keen interest in the friendships of all other life around her. She can no longer see, yet she turns her head at the sound of voices near, and chickens there. This morning, she even laid down with her handsome kennel mate with one paw stretched over his foreleg in a completely abnormal, yet loving embrace.
Her obvious love of life in these final days, truly makes me aware of how we are all interconnected here on this earth. It makes me realize that we often take this gift of life for granted…choosing not to risk the inconvenience of dirt or bugs, not to let the sun embrace us or enjoy the stars above, choosing not to allow other people into our lives. Sheba’s last days here on this earth are a great reminder to me, to treasure each and every moment, and to embrace all living creatures in my circle of life.
Yes, perhaps many here in this tiny little town will not understand the depth of my sorrow when she transcends this world. But I do wish that they could witness this beautiful gift of the joy of life that she is leaving behind.