I know I’ve been writing about summer a lot lately. I seem to be more into it this year than usual; maybe it’s the new house and all of our land and privacy bringing my love of outdoors to the forefront. It could just be that we’re having better weather than usual this year, it’s been much warmer and drier than past years it seems.
I do know I’ve been hyper-focused on enjoying the summer. We just got through a health scare with Sheba and thank goodness all the blood in her urine meant was that she had a UTI. The blood cleared up quickly, but her appetite, which had been off for a few weeks, wasn’t really coming back too quickly. We feared it truly was the cancer that was making her lose her appetite. The lumps on her side have been back for weeks now but she seemed to feel fine until this latest episode.
I’m happy to say now that her appetite and energy level seem to be back to normal! The UTI must have been coming on for a while before we became aware of it. However, I can’t help knowing in the back of my mind that this will probably be her last summer with us; and maybe that’s why I’m so focused on enjoying it.
Declaring this the “Summer of Sheba” doesn’t really change anything we’re doing – we already have planned to enjoy each day we have left with her to the fullest. We will take her for walks and swims and play daily with her and her siblings as always.
I think it’s more a state of mind thing for me. I want to remind myself to enjoy every moment with her and to savor it. It’s the little things – stopping to smell the roses, so to speak – that I want to enjoy. I am mostly a person who can’t sit still unless I’m on the computer. Either my mind or body has to be occupied at all times. Relaxing isn’t something I’m good at. But for this summer at least, I’m trying to do better. I want to just sit in the sunshine or shade with the dogs, take a deep breath, and appreciate all we have.
We are planning a BBQ later this month for family and friends, so I am busy painting and decorating and getting the house ready to show off. We’ll have our first overnight guest so we need to have an area ready for her to sleep in. I just need to balance all of that with making sure not just Sheba, but all of the pets also get the time and attention they need.
Once that party is over, I plan to take a break from working on the house and focus on enjoying the rest of the summer, exploring our woods and the roads around us with the dogs. Other than a weekend away at the beach with the girls it will be all about the dogs. I want to get back to a more consistent training schedule with Luke along with more regular walks with each of them.
Life will be mostly as normal, with just a little more emphasis on savoring it. I’ve been buying extra toys and letting Sheba and Luke just destroy them as they choose. Stuffed toys, which were usually restricted for indoor play, have been finding their way out into the yard, and we just try to remember to bring them in if it’s going to rain!
It may turn out to be fortuitous that I lost some bookkeeping work this summer, and though financially that is tough, I am glad to have the extra time and I’ll worry about more work in the fall.
A few months ago, when Sheba had her second surgery, I felt confident that we would at least have her with us through the summer. I wanted her to have the pond I’d promised, but that just couldn’t be (for financial reasons). I have read that the life expectancy for her type of cancer is 8 months after metastasis (to the lungs). We haven’t seen any sign of that yet – no coughing, struggling to breathe, or much slowing down (other than when the UTI was bothering her). Now my hope is that she will be with us for her next birthday in late October.
My hopes may be higher than they should, but no matter what happens, I want to always have my fond memories of the “Summer of Sheba”. I want the smell of a lake to remind me of her first swim in Goose Pond. When I throw a towel over the deck rail I want to be reminded of the first time I did this when coming home from that swim this year, or the many times I’ll do it after the dogs are wet from their pool. I want a trip to the local farm stand to remind me of my first trip there this year when I bought broccoli and cabbage for her homemade meals.
I want bittersweet memories of long summer days of play time in the morning followed by swims before lunch (on days I don’t have to go to work). Somewhere in there I find time to write a blog and do some chores, and then we’ll fill the pool and play some more. I want every first smell and sensation of future summers to remind me of our first wonderful summer in our new home, and how Sheba was here to happily share in it with us.