Instead of getting up at the crack of to swim with the master's team at 5:30, this morning, I got to sleep until 5:45 so I could head up to Denver, where my sister and marathon partner, Sarah, lives. Yesterday, Sarah learned that Bailey, her 15-ish year old hound, would have to have a cancerous leg removed to continue her life. That scenario was too much even for Miss B., who has had more lives than a houseful of cats. Sarah's very gracious and generous vet, who had a day off today, came by her house at 8:30 a.m. to help Bailey drift off to her next adventures.
For all her faults--halitosis and gas that could knock you into Nebraska; glassy marbles for eyes since cataracts had taken them over years ago; the firm idea that any flat surface, be it wood floor inside or grass outside, constituted the perfect bathroom; a shed rate so high, Sarah could have made bucks making dog fur coats, if her fur had been soft, not stiff--Bailey was a love. She wasn't necessarily a running dog--her why-exercise-when-you-can-sleep demeanor always overruled her Kenyan-esque frame--but she's the kind of dog that you want to come home to after a long day, a bad workout, a fight with a boyfriend. (Actually, all dogs fit that bill.) She loved and licked unconditionally and always had a wag, albeit one that left a trail of fur, for friends or strangers.
Before she headed to the greenest pastures, where fresh hamburger meat is never in short supply, where dogs off all kinds co-mingle and gossip ("Did you see how she sniffed his butt? Dude, she's looking to have a litter!"), where there's always a pack up for a good romp, Bailey got to leave this world with her head resting on the lap of the person who loved her best.
We should all be so lucky to have that be the last finish line we cross.
Rest from your journey, then run as hard as you want--on all four, healthy legs--Sweet Bailey Jane.