“She makes snow angels,” Keith said to the vet and her assistant as he fed liver treats one after another to our Freya dog. “We call her our Iditarod dog because of her love of snow.” Keith spoke about her amazing intelligence—she understood almost everything we said—her rule-following, and her rough start in life, before we adopted her when she was about three years old.“ There was certainly abuse before she was rescued, and she spent some time being feral. She never did give up scavenging.”
But there would be no more adventuring for Freya. The sarcoma on her left hind leg had burst. It involved an artery and therefore was inoperable except for amputation. She also had a large tumor around her spleen. At thirteen and a half, she would not have tolerated such insults to her body. And she would not have been able to do the things she loved to do. So, our decision was an easy one.
Though later in life, she came to me for attention and care, Freya was Keith’s dog. He had adopted her from the shelter in the fall of 2012 while I was with Heathcliff in Connecticut and selling my mother’s house. Freya and Heathcliff were instant buddies. When we adopted Cato puppy, Heathcliff took on the job of teaching him the pack rules. When Heathcliff died, Freya took over.
Now there is one, Cato, and he is grieving as we are. No more adventures together or playing bitey-face or challenging each other to the nest bed or sitting to lick dinnerplates or waiting one’s turn to go outside and “hurry up” before bedtime. For us, no more combing or brushing Freya’s thick coat every day or rubbing Vaseline on her sarcoma to keep the skin soft or giving her medications three times a day or keeping her water bowl filled or getting up day and night to let her out and inside. Now it’s her empty collar, her food bowl washed and put away, her palliative care medications ready to go back to the vet. It’s also many, many wonderful memories of our Freya dog. Her tail thumps when Keith whistled, her head butts and belly-ups for attention, her big brown eyes and wolf-like grins.
Freya’s ashes will join Heathcliff’s here on the mountain. Another heart name on my keychain.
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