Kira is my dog. An Alaskan Malamute. When I say she is my dog I really mean that she has decided to share her brief life with me and accepts me as I am as I do her. If you have ever owned a dog, especially an Alaskan Malamute you know what I mean. They are willful, independent, loving, loyal and exasperating. They are headstrong and do just whatever it is they want to do most of the time. They are skillful in making you believe that you wanted them to do just what they did even if, initially, you did not. Kira is all of these things. Kira is also dying.
She was diagnosed with cancer about 4 months ago and the effects are now showing. The cancer is inoperable and the vet was of the opinion that we could try to operate but the chances of success were almost negligible. He stated the best thing to do for her instead of her spending the last 6 months or so of her life recovering from intensive and extensive surgery was to make her comfortable, let her enjoy the last few months of her life and see her to her end.
I’m doing that and she is happy right now but showing signs the cancer is winning. I won’t go into detail but she receives drugs 3 times a day and pain medication when she needs it. If any of you have ever gone though this with a pet you know what’s happening right now and how heart wrenching it is. She has been a great companion. We have had wonderful times and I will miss her greatly when she is gone. I am doing my utmost to make sure her last days are happy and pain free ones.
I’m not writing this to elicit your sympathy. I’m not writing this to have you feel sorry for Kira. She’s happy and I’m delighted I know she has a limited amount of time and I can do something to make that remaining time meaningful for her. The reason I’m writing is to share this with you so you can understand this does not apply only to beloved pets. We all will die. That’s an ironic truth of life. It eventually ends for all of us. Some of us know when that time comes because we are told of our condition like I was told of Kira’s. Others of us have no idea. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to know Kira’s time is limited.
My challenge to you today is to look around you and find those important to you. It may be a parent, it may be a pet, it may be a spouse or a child. What if they were gone tomorrow? Would you feel that you had done everything you could do to indicate to them they were special to you? I admit that for years I have taken Kira for granted. She was there when I came home from work; she was there when I howled with rage with issues at work or simply sat and watched a movie. At those times I did not show her how special she was to me. I suspect I’m not unique and many of you do the same thing. We lead busy lives and have many responsibilities. I understand that. But how long does it take to tell or show someone they are special to you? How much effort does it take really?
I’m fortunate that I know Kira will be leaving me soon. Most of you are not as fortunate when a loved on leaves you. Just like seeing the beauty around you or taking in the scents that make up our world take the time to identify those that are most special to you and make sure they know it. You life will be richer for doing so and so will theirs.