Four weeks ago today we lost our family pet. The kids named her Arwen because Lord of the Rings was a big deal when we got her four years ago (the second choice name was Laia – perhaps we watch too many movies).
So that Tuesday I took her in because she had a lump near the back of her mouth. We found out she had “Blasto” which apparently is relatively common in rural north woods, though I had never heard of it. Turns out I should have been more aware since we live near water, which is the prime culprit of this fungal disease. My friend’s husband, the DNR water specialist, said anywhere water rises and falls a lot is a potential blasto site. So much for letting any future pets play near the short swampy path leading to the lake.
By Friday the vet said Arwen was gravely ill, but since she was drinking water, there was hope. It was my intention to stay up with her and squirt water into her mouth every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Since I would be babysitting and micromanaging my dog, I conceived the idea to embroider her image. It was supposed to just be an outline image.
With her passing, it became part of the grieving process to fill in the outlines, and so for a while I became a little obsessive with memorializing this dog that once actually swam out to the middle of the lake to check on me and round me back to shore (it was incredibly annoying at the time, though now it speaks to me greatly of her unconditional love as she was no great fan of swimming).
Later I learned of two other dogs that had passed from blasto. In addition, a fifth grader who lives nearby was sick for over a month with it. Thankfully the fifth grader is doing better and should make a full recovery.
For now we’re in no rush to get another dog. It will be hard to replace her spot in the family and in my heart–I know that’s a sappy and sentimental cliche, but sometimes the truth comes out that way.