I received so many emails and was answering them individually. Then I realized that I needed to put it all together so I wouldn’t miss anything. Ari’s health challenges this year started at the end of April. I wrote the poem in May expecting to lose him then. He was up and down… not very far up and very far down from then until mid August. Those ups and downs are documented in posts in this journal…. in fact, that’s why I started it – to keep track. There is a video of him barely able to stand and each time he was bad I gave him days.
Then the upturn until about early December. From then on, Ari went downhill really quickly. My regular entries in his journal started Saturday the 5th... before that they were sporadic. I had an appointment for Monday the 22nd (today) for him to get his shot for his Addison’s and I was unsure whether he might need it before then so I picked the shot up in case I had to give it over the weekend. This was Thursday... ($63) I assure you that I would not have gotten it if I knew how events would turn around. So was I expecting it to happen as fast as it did….no.
Read this to see what I wrote on Friday morning before work
And read this post from when I got home.
I wrote this to someone yesterday (12/20/09)....
I am very calm about it. I shed SO many tears over Ari since May when I thought he was a goner that every day he was better was a blessing. I never would have even hoped to have all the good days and times that we had since mid August until... honest to god... 3 weeks ago when I took him to training and he was doing bitework and trotting around with a sleeve in his mouth! Here it is documented on video.
Friday I had a class that was over at 1:00 and had an appointment for him at the vet at 3:30. On the way to it I finally connected with Marilyn (my animal communicator friend) who I could tell was crying. I asked her if she had time to contact him and her answer was “I just did”. The conversation is on the site. http://arigsdjournal.blogspot.com/2009/12/marilyn-and-ari.html
...so I get to the vet sobbing and call them from the parking lot to tell them I’m there. When a room is ready, they came to the van to get me and take me straight in to an exam room. When I say “yes” after an exam by the vet, “I've made the decision”; they take me to a quiet room with leather couches and dog blankets on the floor and let me there for as long as I wanted to be with Ari. A sense of calm came over me and I was fine, as was Ari. There were no more tears - just talking to him as he lay by my side. In about 20 min. the vet came in. I didn't cry. It was so peaceful. Ari passed in my arms just like he showed Marilyn he would. It WAS his time. He had given me 4 extra months I didn't think we'd have. As I said, I wrote the poem in May because I thought it would happen then but it didn't. Now, he just couldn't give me more. It actually felt "right".
Dr. Jeff put Ari in the van and I went to Walgreens and got some dark chocolate (that felt right also) and bought the other dogs some large knuckle bones. Then I went to Dairy Queen for a peanut butter cup blizzard ...Ari would have approved!
Ari IS still with me and I'll be with him again. As my beliefs changed over the years I know that he is simply changing form and he is still all around me.... he's just not in his worn out body that was keeping him from doing all that he wanted to do.
Do I cry...of course... when I read some of the notes people write. The outpouring of love has been amazing. Not only did Ari touch many lives but his passing brings back memories to people of their experiences with the loss of their pets. Ari wanted me to get on with things and that's what I'm doing. He and I spent so much time together when he was here because he was my competition dog I trained and traveled with. There is a special bond I have with him that I don't have with any of my other dogs that only comes from working really, really hard together at something and succeeding. He truly was my teacher. He taught me that I can do anything I want to do enough, even though others say it can't be done. He taught me how to be resilient and to take setbacks as a learning experience. He taught me that failing is ok and if you aren't out there doing it regardless of failure, it's never going to get done. And he taught me to make it fun, no matter what.
This has been an incredible dog year. First Tori came back in to my life last fall and her saga ... raising the money for her health issues was so emotional and then placing her was gut wrenching. Then losing Teddy a few months later in February was heartbreaking, he was such a great dog... and then 2 months later, Ari's health issues started and I thought he was gone in May, then June, then July... and then he improved. I knew each day was a gift not to be taken for granted. As I said before, three weeks ago I took him to training with Brita and I and he got to play with the decoy and take the sleeve and run around the yard. We marveled at the decent weather at the end of November and I knew THAT day would be the last session for Ari. As soon as the weather got cold I saw a change in him. He needed to wear a coat constantly to stay warm and life was no fun anymore not being able to go outside. I believe that is why he went now and as fast as he did.
He lived a good life and crossed when his body wore out... you can't ask for more. He was a great dog and touched many lives and I will miss him desperately but know for sure we'll be together again. I refuse to be sad because it is life and we couldn't have asked for more.
Arsenal vom Keashaborn (Ari)
(April 21, 1999 – December 18, 2009)
CGC, Therapy Dog, BH, TR1, RN PSA-TC, PSA-PDC, PSA-1 Novice