Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My spirit dog

During the hike I kept drawing comfort from my spirit dog Bayle.  She chased the marmots and chipmunks, sneaked into my tent to keep me warm and to infuse me with playful spirit and companionship.

Bayle has been my dog, friend and running mate ever since she joined my Vermont family Julie, Frank and Marina as a puppy.  Everytime I would go to Vermont, there she was, so excited to see me and play with me.  Evenings by the fire, outdoors in the snow, sun and splashing in the river.  Protecting us all and making sure we are ok at all times.  She inspired me to get my foster dog gypsy. Except during thunderstorms when she would go bonkers and the older she got, the more determined she was to go through whatever it took to get away from the noise - doors, screen windows, walls….

She was getting old and frail and I visited the Kelleys and Bayle right before my hike, being quite certain it might be the last time I would see Bayle.  She was having a hard time getting up, she didn't hear and smell and see well anymore, didn't eat well, soiled her bed and the house in general, her hips wouldn't move ….all the signs of getting to a final resting place.  Frank called her bed the geriatric wing of the house.

When we last talked, they made the brave decision to have the vet come to their house and in the midst of the family put her to rest.  I knew it would happen on the first day of my hike from Tuolomne Meadows and felt so blessed that I was able to exchange emails with the Kelleys for the days surrounding July 29th.  The night of the 29th, when I was so tired and exhausted I thought I could never uncramp and never make it, there she was.  In all her love and glory, right next to me, looking at me, crawling into my tent with me and walking with me in the meadow.  She walked with beside me and kept playing in the nature she loved with the exhuberance and loyalty she always had all along the John Muir Trail.  Thank you, Kelleys, for sharing her with me. 

And the Kelleys:

And another companion in spirit was Spike, The Ciszewski-Best family dog who I loved as well, always ready to welcome me and help me with my bike and getting comfortable on the couch.  He was ready to go to his final resting place just before my hike and I felt his spirit in the mountains many times as well.

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