I was scared. It all started on a very normal Monday morning but by the next day nothing felt normal anymore.
Jilly woke up a year ago and just didn't seem to be her usual tail-wagging self. As we started out on our walk, she lagged and I knew something was bothering her. I just didn't know what. So I walked her carefully back home and called the vet.
After three visits, X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, we got the 'bad' news call. The vet told us Jilly had cancer on her spleen and she only had a few months to live. If we did emergency surgery and then chemo, she might live another 6 months. That is, if she lived through the surgery which is a big risk for the animal bleeding out and dying on the table.
We said no to surgery and chemo. And we said yes to Jilly living out her life joyfully doing all her favorite things even if it was only for a few more months.
Jilly went to the beach on vacation.
She barked and barked and barked at us to play ball. We hesitated. Why? Because the vet warned us that too much activity could kill her.
But, you see, Jilly knew differently.
Jilly woke me up every morning with tail wagging and kisses, then went back to her bed and waited for me to do her morning belly and ear rubs. She had breakfast, a walk, more treats and a nap. She ran up to all her favorite people at the park tail wagging. She bounced at the ducks and geese. She insisted on all her favorite treats: peanut butter cookies, chicken liver purée, eggs, waffles, yogurt, cheese, apples and oranges. I even let her 'steal' tomatoes and strawberries from the garden.
I've learned a lot from Jilly throughout our relationship. Her training. Her difficulties. But mostly, I learned a lot about faith and fun and, yes, life.
Every morning, I used to wake up worried that today would be her last day.
Now, I wake up smiling because every day that my hand gets covered with sloppy Jilly kisses is the best kind of day.