Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sonka: Forever the Best Dog

Sonka
2006-2017
I didn't mention the illness of my black dog in my last post, though it has been the thing most weighing on my mind over the last month. There's something about your best friend facing death that can clam you up and keep you isolated, trying to protect both him and you.

At the end of March, Sonka suddenly collapsed at Emma's show. While it was immediately obvious something was seriously wrong, it wasn't until I was in the car on the way to the vet that I thought about how closely aligned his symptoms were to that of a human heart attack.

How tragically right I was.

Sonka, my 11 year old wild pinnacle of joy and energy, was found to have a significant bleeding heart tumor slowly pressuring his heart, crushing it and his life. While the vets worked on him, they gave me options. All were grim. His chances of survival were terrible, and the more invasive procedures could only give him a few more months with me. Months of possible pain and the same eventual outcome.

Knowing I couldn't subject him to that, I had the vet stabilize him and send him home. I knew the tumor would begin to bleed again and he would again collapse, an eventuality that could happen at any time. The vet gave him 30 minutes to a month to live. 

I decided to make the most of it, and so did he. Almost exactly a month of being thoroughly spoiled and loved, he again laid down and did not get up. He died in my arms a week ago Sunday, the very best of dogs until the very end.
The best of dogs, the best of friends, the best of partners. I miss you so.
He has been mightily remembered over the last week, which has been heartening. This medium sized black dog touched the lives of so many people. He made impressions wherever he went, and everyone loved him. The world is darker without his black coat shining in it, without his wild howling songs echoing over hills, and without his joyous feet pounding out miles alongside me.

No tribute to this dog could fully capture him, and perhaps that is for the best. His personality was much bigger than a group of words could attempt to hold. There are too many stories of his silliness, songs, crazy adventures, speedcuriositycuddly nature, majesty, joy, incredible athleticism, willfulness, soft coat, love of paper, intense intelligence, and protective nature to count. 

There are dogs you love, and there are dogs who take love to a new level. This black dog and I were were everything to each other. His unending devotion to me is something I never took for granted and could have never plumbed to the bottom. I miss him, and I always will. 
He will forever be my heart.

29 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute to a one of a kind friend and companion 💞

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  2. I will <3 Sonka, the best little black dog, forever. Such a good boy. I have so many great memories of him too - not least of which how great he was at keeping me company when I was a useless cripple at horse shows. Rest in peace buddy.

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  3. I am so sorry to hear that you lost him. It is never easy. Never. God speed Sonka.

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  4. He was the *very* best.

    I love the way you said it here most: wild pinnacle of joy and energy. <3

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  5. I'm sorry for your loss. I always loved the pictures and stories of his adventures.

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  6. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.

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  7. Awww, what a tribute. He really was the best dog. I am so glad to have known him, and to have passed out drunkenly in bed with him. I still think my favorite Sonka story was when he first met Tucker at your old apartment, and as soon as Tucker came in Sonka ran around the apartment gathering up all his toys and putting them behind the drafting table where Tucker couldn't get them. So smart.

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  8. So sorry for your loss. :( He was a beautiful baby.

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  9. I'm so sorry, it sounds like he really was the very best.

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  10. I'm so sorry for your loss :( He sounds like he was a wonderful companion and friend. What a beautiful tribute. <3

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  11. He left pawprints on the hearts of so many <3

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  12. Godspeed to the Best Dog. What a great love. <3

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  13. They leave a gaping hole in our hearts when they go. So sorry for your loss.

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  14. oh sonka :( he was such a lovely dog. I'm so sorry for your loss, the world is less without him.

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  15. I am so sorry Austen. My heart goes out to you and Lyra right now :( I'm glad I was able to meet him a year ago.

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  16. What a lovely tribute to a very special friend. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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  17. So sorry for your loss, Sleep well Sonka <3

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  18. So so so many hugs. Godspeed Sonka! He will be in good company up there.

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  19. Hugs. Tearing up reading this and knowing how heartbroken you must be. He lived a full and wild life with you! I'm sure he's running with you in spirit still.

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  20. I'm so sorry. Same thing happened to our lab, Amy, about a month and a half ago except hers was in her intestines. Dogs touch our lives in ways that I can't understand. Know that your pup had a better life because he had you. Cling to your other animals and they'll help you recover. <3

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  21. I have always seen pictures of him and thought, "That is such a striking, unique dog!" Even though I never met him in person, he made an impression on me. So sorry for your loss. It warms my heart that he went out with your love surrounding him. We all should be so lucky.

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  22. I'm so, so sorry. I can only imagine what you are going through. The thought of losing my own heart dog makes my eye glossy and this post caused some tearing up. How lucky he was to breathe his last in your arms, and to live the wonderful life you provided him. Big hugs.

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  23. When you put the request on Facebook for people's favorite stories of him, my throat choked and hot tears pressed on me. I wanted to write something, but I've never met the dog. Only seen videos, and read about people who were happy to see him. I'm crying again Austen, while reading this. My heart aches for you and while I'm so glad you had a splendid dog with you for a time, this must be cripplingly sad. Much love to you.

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  24. I'm so sorry. They are our whole worlds.

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  25. I am so sorry for your loss and my heart aches for you. It's so unbelievably hard to lose such a friend.

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  26. This made me cry so much. It's been a couple of years since we lost the dog who had been my best friend since I was a child and he too was the very best of dogs until the very end. I'm so sorry for your loss, I know the pain.

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  27. I am so so sorry (FINALLY catching up on the blogs sorry for missing this earlier) I love watching your huskies across your blog and am so so sorry that he is gone but you carried him on many adventures. Hugs to you and your family..:(

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  28. Beautiful tribute. So sorry for your loss.
    "Grief is the price we pay for love..."

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