The past year for me has been full of successes and sorrow (very likely true for all of us). I obtained my Professional Dog Trainer certification, took courses in wolf behavior, participated in K9 training webinars and virtual tracking conferences as we all tried to stay connected in cyberspace.
Going over my first post, I can see a foreshadowing of what lay in wait around the corner for me personally. Over the summer my beloved Red Queen, Casey, developed a wound on her neck that refused to heal. By late summer we knew something was very wrong (but still held out hope we could treat her) and by November confirmed what I feared the most. My amazing redhead had inoperable cancer and we were going to lose her. I swung between disbelief that such an epic personality should be snuffed out and wanting her remaining time with us to be as peaceful and loving as possible. This is not the way I envisioned her life concluding. Certainly not what I wanted her to endure. I am not ashamed to admit I was a complete mess.
Casey, however, followed her daily agenda almost until the end. Walks around the property, toting one of her precious tennis balls, Even modest search problems. My sister made fleece jackets for her as winter closed in, I learned acupressure and massage to keep her as comfortable as I could. We all spent every possible minute with her, soaking it up like you do when the first day of warm, spring sun spills over your face.
She left us in January, peacefully and on her own, during the full wolf moon no less. My partner of 11 years, dozens of searches, endless hours of training and exploring, finding the lost. Now I am the one who is lost. I focus on Piper and Quinn, confused and thrown by their own grief. I move forward as it is the only direction open to me. I mourn and try to think of the best way to honor her memory. Most of all, I am simply at a loss for the right words to convey her intelligence, spirit, devotion and the unique life she had. The quote on my first blog is now engraved on the beautiful cherry box that houses her ashes. “What is it you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?”
And yet…spring is coming again, the light is stronger, the birdsongs have changed. There is another redhead who may enter my life (I hope). I think Casey would approve. I think perhaps the best way to honor her memory is to share my life with another spirited little Bhanrion Rua (Red-Headed Queen). We shall see…we will heal…and we will continue to embrace our “one wild and precious life”.