Years ago, and what began this crazy idea of selling everything and living life to the fullest, this post was created. That video set us in motion, highlighting the regrets of the past and the avoidance of regrets in the future.
Our dog Sparky lived a full life of adventure and fun. Many days were spent sailing, flying, hiking, camping and fishing. He was an awesome dog. A dog I thought, and hoped, was immortal. Reality came the day before Christmas 4 years ago when, selfishly, my attempts to prolong his life via thousands of dollars of vets and homeopathic treatments accumulated in his painful death in my arms as I cried. Not a day has passed where I do not absolutely hate myself for how selfish I was in trying to keep my dog going for one more adventure.
That day Sparky was not the only dog to die. Nemo did partially as well. Sparky gave him purpose, a challenge, and company. The day Sparks died I saw an immediate aging of Nemo. It was not until 2 months later when Ayashe, the great Cairn of the North, arrived as a pudgy, needle-toothed demon, who tormented the hell out of Nemo, that he finally emerged from a state of depression. Ayashe was not Sparky, but he was a great dog just the same.
In the past 4 years we have done what we can to make our dogs’ lives fulfilling. I have learned many lessons on raising dogs. Ayashe has been the luckiest in both emotional strength and training. Nemo, an insecure shadow, has always been Autumn’s companion, howling and sad whenever she left.
Realizing that our dogs time was fleeting, in the past few years Autumn said the hell with the rules and regulations of her federal employer. Nemo stayed with her in her office, in the government vehicles, and even joined her on field visits. He was a lighthearted fixture in an otherwise drab workplace.
While Autumn did receive a reprimand for this once, it was her only disciplinary action in 16 years. Needless to say, the next week she basically told them to fuck themselves and continued bringing him. Her boss was not too pleased when he arrived on her last day to close out her employment only to find Nemo sitting in her office complete with three balloons tied to his collar.
Following her departure from the federal workforce, and in line with Escape with the Dogs mission to make our dog’s live fulfilling, this past spring and summer we set out to give our dogs’ and awesome day everyday. Nemo got to see Niagra Falls, much of the AT hiking trail, Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland. He was able to swim in many rivers, smell the salt air of the St Laurence seaway, eat dead cod and crab in Newfoundland while camping and hiking every day. He did not have a bad day for the past 6 months. He lived well and upon returning home got to enjoy a warm and pleasant fall sleeping often in the warm sun, eating fresh bread, and many, many home made french fries.
As the leaves fell and the weather turned cold and rainy…so did Nemo’s health. From the vibrant and happy dog he was this summer, he turned quiet, stiff, and sleepy. We did our best to keep him comfortable with the wood stove and pillows.
Eventually the pain grew to the point where he could not eat or drink, and the decision was made to bring him the vet. Tests were run and his kidneys had failed, similar to how Sparky passed. He was in terrible pain. Remembering the lesson we had with Sparky, we let him leave this world held by those who loved him, relaxed, and in peace. There was no fight, for we feel he was ready….he simply crossed his paws as he did often at rest, nestled his head down next to Autumn, and went to sleep one last time as he had done thousands of time before.
We will always love you Nemo you will not be forgotten….. And our mission will continue every day with your little brother, who will hike beside your and Sparky’s spirit.