It has been a year since we lost our five year old dog, Oso to a sudden heart attack.
This was my first real experience with an unexpected, premature, devastating loss of someone important to me. I acknowledge that Oso was a dog and the loss of a pet rests on an entirely different platform than the traumatic loss of human life. But this was a significant event for me and was a catalyst to the changes I decided to make in my life over the last year.
While many things contributed to my having the courage to leave my job, I feel like Oso’s passing was the first time I sat back and seriously considered what I was doing to make the most of my life. It was the first time something was taken from me both before I was ready and without warning. He was suddenly gone. It was a startling and vulnerable realization of our temporary existence.
I know this isn’t an original sentiment. To make the most of the time you are here. To live every day like it is your last. That you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Clichés like this are sometimes called old chestnuts; stories that become tiresome because of their constant repetition.
I thought about Oso over the weekend, aware of the calendar and my wanting to write something for him. And then I found myself in a grove of chestnut trees. Literally immersed in my own “old chestnut” thinking of my old dog.
He comes to me this way. In weird signs to let me know he is still with us in spirit. Just the other day I was stuck in traffic behind this car.
Oso beso is Spanish for bear kiss. Just a few minutes later I pulled up to another car with an Airedale Terrier in the back. It was a sign. Oso’s kisses were always impressive.
He was the only witness around when I found out I was pregnant with Harper. (We went on an extra long walk that morning.)
He stuck with us through four moves in less than three years. We had only been back home for about six months. I felt like our life was just beginning, but it was the opposite for him.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the future that I forget about right now. Thoughts about someday are important and inspiring just as goals and hopes and dreams keep us moving and motivated. But Oso reminds me that right now is for the taking. Right now is also just as important as the planning and the strategies for tomorrow. It’s okay to stop everything and carpe the shit out of this diem, as the meme goes. I’m so thankful he gave me that much needed perspective.
I owe much of my happiness today to Oso. Today, I’ll be going on an extra long walk as I remember him.