The pain we would live over and over…

Yesterday my friend and soul sister, Jane, had to part with her beloved Husky Boy Maska. Maska was a beautiful bounding bundle of husky fluff and joy. I only met him a handful of times, but was always welcomed for the husky love when I visited and the thing I’ll remember most about him was his insistence that I love him as much as possible while I was there. I speak to Jane most days in the mornings, and I’ve been through the last while with Jane doing all she could to keep her beautiful boy happy and well.

Jane’s love for her two huskies Rio and Maska, and for animals in general was, I suppose, what brought her and I together in a way – two meddlesome dog lovers asking questions and causing trouble at the pound in Wicklow many moons ago when Maska was only a young lad! I call her in the mornings after my kids have headed off to school. We chat dogs, chat to each other’s dogs (yes really, over the phone) and we generally take on the issues of the day and try to make things right. She’s seen me through my darkest days and I have done likewise for her. We’ve celebrated our wins, mourned our losses, and laughed buckets upon buckets of wonderful cleansing, joy filled laughter. Many of our conversations contain the sentence, “I can’t believe I’m going to say this out loud, but I can tell you…”

If you asked Jane about Maska, she would tell you that he saved her life. If you could ask Maska about Jane, he would say she saved his life. Rescued as a young dog, Maska came to Jane when she needed him as much as he needed her, and they grew with the ever lovely husky Rio into “Mac’s pac.” There were epic long daily walks many times a day, with Jane’s day largely revolving around getting the lads out for the walks! I’d go visit to fetch her from her home in Kilkenny to come visit with me in Wicklow, and while I was always welcomed, I often wondered if the lads hated to see me pull up outside and take her off for a few days – even though her son was always there to mind them in her absence.

I’ve heard her voice change as the realisations dawned about Maska’s failing health and she came to the unhappy conclusion that it may well be time to let him go. I could hear her heart break over the phone. It didn’t come easy but when it arrived, she knew. We know as the guardians of these beautiful creatures that there always comes a day that we have to say good bye, when we have to make that choice for our dogs, when life is too much and their bodies can’t keep going. It’s a bittersweet responsibility, but it never ceases to amaze me that you know, you just know, when it’s time. As dog lovers we sign up for this, over and over again, because the rewards are just to many to quantify with words and the love, joy and life our dogs bring to us somehow outweighs the pain of their loss.

Jane gave Maska the best home any dog could wish for. There were adventures daily. The best of food. The best of love. The best of her. She’d have moved mountains to make him well and have had him for longer, but it wasn’t to be. He’d have moved mountains for her too. It’ll be her and Rio now, walking the walks and making new adventures for the daily treks. A small pack diminished by a third but expanded by the love of Maska.

Godspeed and run free you crazy husky floof Maska. You were a truly joyful Totally Epic Dog and it was an honour to know you.

Love you Jane. xxx

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