M age 12 1/2 in 2008
One evening about 12 years ago, I took M out for a quick walk before going to the theater. There was a yellow light at the very busy intersection we needed to cross, and I decided to make a run for it. Sadly, I was wearing giant platform heels at the time which lead to my landing face down in the middle of the street JUST as 3 lanes of cars started to head right for us.
The leash had flown out of my hand, probably as I was mid-air, and you know what M did?
He sat down - facing the on-coming traffic - right between my head and the cars.
Oh my little shaver.
I have several memories like this, examples of him gallantly trying to save my life, or at least keep me from hurting myself.
Every year before I had Penny, M and I would drive to the Superior National Trail in Minnesota and spend a weekend hiking together. The trail is not really designed for out of shape, uncoordinated city girls like me - and yet with M's help, I could walk across a log over a rushing stream, climb narrow ledges and make it back to the hotel (ha! you didn't think I camped - did you?) in one piece.
The few snapshots of those hikes that I can recall are:
- A path so narrow I could only walk with one foot in front of the other, alongside a drop-off that had to be at least 50 feet - we were high above the tops of trees. I put his leash on because it seemed like we should be tethered together in this scenario. At one point, I of course slipped and I can vividly remember the way M clenched his nails into the ground and pulled away from me as I used the leash to help me climb back up.
- A make-shift bridge linking two rocky hills. (sorry, I don't really know the correct terms for any of these nature scenes). Whenever a foot bridge could be seen ahead in the trail, M would run ahead, cross it, come back, then wait for me at the head so that he could be with me as I crossed it. He liked to test them first before letting me get on!
- Getting to the top of a huge hill (mountain?), overlooking both the autumn-colored forest and the crashing waves of Lake Superior. I sat down, and M sat next to me and together we smiled wide-eyed, and breathed in deeply and KNEW that we were both feeling the same awe together.
These are some of the things I'm thinking about today, as both the vet and kind family and friends talk to me about quality of life and making loving decisions.
And the thing is, I know deep in my heart that M does NOT want to go now. Maybe soon, but not right now. I'll keep you posted.