A couple of weeks ago I got a reminder from Princess Sophie’s vet in California that she was due for some of her vaccines. After confirming the name with my son (the elder), I made an appointment for her with the vet that my family has used since before I met them. At 11:15 my girl was sitting happily in the passenger seat of my car, and we headed out there. We were only a few blocks away when I realized the reality of the last time I had been there.
It was May of 2016 when Jacob-Pup went in. He was in pain, having suffered from a degenerative illness that essentially fused his spine. I had a difficult decision to make – either pay for a $12,000 surgery which had a less-than-50% success rate, or say goodbye. I held my best friend in my arms as the pain (and his life) drained out of his eyes. He was so brave, and even then he was trying to comfort me, reassuring me that I had made the right decision.
It is nearly six years later, and as we approached the clinic I started to weep, just thinking about it.
There are not many positives to the restrictions that the Covid pandemic have forced upon us, but had I been able to walk through the front doors of the clinic I might have lost it. As it was, handing Princess Sophie off the the technician at the door, then sitting in my car in front was not easy.
The doctor called and we had our quasi-tele-vet appointment. As she kvelled about how wonderful my little girl is (beauty, temperament, and health), I was proud… but holding back tears, remembering the last conversation I had with her.
While I never needed an excuse, I have always been an emotional eater. As we drove down Trafalgar toward the highway, I tried to avert my eyes. There is a pub along the road that makes among my favourite buffalo wings in the city, and how easy would it have been to stop in to pick up a pound or two? Who would have blamed me if reliving the death of my best buddy was the impetus for a cheat meal? I doubt it would have been one meal. It would have been the first step at jumping off a very dangerous slope, and I could not do that to myself. As Leslie said this morning, hate the diet, love the results. It would have been so easy, and so easily explained, had I just fallen off right there… but there are 365 days in a year, and if you live long enough, every day is another memory of something that would be another great excuse to fall off the plan.
I drove right past the pub, speaking with Leslie for much of the drive. She is a great support when I need it. I had an errand to run (which involved walking through a supermarket full of tempting food), and then we were home… and I had not veered from the program. I did not even, as I said I might, go straight for my meal replacement, a little earlier than normal. I put my things away and sat down to write.
After I press Send I will have that meal replacement, and then I will sit on the balcony with a cigar. Princess Sophie might join me, and if she does, we will honour the memory of my Jacob Doggie, taken from me way too soon.