Wandering Around Out There With A Canoe On My Head

Nancy’s Last Portrait 1/10

by Preston
December 17, 2022

With a broken heart and an empty space in my home, I wanted to let you all know that my absolute best friend of the last 15 is now gone. Last Saturday Nancy started to feel particularly unwell, so we got her looked at and were monitoring her closely. But on Tuesday evening we got devastating results. Her bladder and kidneys had large growths and were partially blocked, and while no one could know when it would happen, it looked like she could very soon suffer an extremely painful end. Considering her age, treatment wasn’t practical. I made the very tough decision to take Nancy home for one last day of quality time, spoiled by whatever treats she would eat, and hugging her for as long as she’d let me. She passed, calmly and quietly in my arms on Wednesday afternoon.

Nancy was 19 years old, so it’s fair to say that I can’t ask for much more than the time we had, but I have to tell you it really doesn’t seem fair. I’m glad she is no longer in pain and has been saved from the worst, but it was incredibly hard to figure out when – or even whether – to let her go. She gave me 15 years of everything she had, and with that gratitude I’m honoured to have been there taking care of her, even when that meant confronting the hardest situation I’ve been in.

It’s taken me four days to get to a place where I feel like I can talk about it with everyone, and I’ve been thinking about how I was going to do that. How do you sum up a whole life in a hashtag and a photo? I’m not sure you can, even with a novel-sized post. But I really don’t feel like it’s good enough to write a quick goodbye and be done with it. So I’ve finally decided that I should honour my friend with the best way I know how: to write about her story. Over the next few days I’m going to do that in a series of posts I’ve (half) written. They’ll come out sporadically as I put them together. Going through all the photos I’ve taken over the years is quite the undertaking. She was such a great model, after all. And seeing them, confusingly, is both painful and comforting.

Please hug your own dogs tonight, and tell them they’re good dogs. Also know that I’m doing quite well, all things considered of course, thanks to a very supportive village of friends and family. I’m just going to be a little sad for a while, because I lost the best dog there ever was.

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Preston and Nancy the dog pose with a Paddle in the Park Contest paddle
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