I have never been depressed in my life, but I finally got the picture of what depression felt like.
Then...it got worse. Our favorite dog, Golia, our big teddy bear, had a problem. My husband was walking him across the street, on a leash, when he crossed paths with a woman and her small dog. We pass by this woman and her dog almost daily with no incidences. That day, Golia decided to lunge for the little dog, and not being able to get at him, bit the owner's leg instead...badly. It was awful and traumatic for everyone. (The woman is going to be fine. She is healing from some extensive plastic surgery on her leg.) We fell apart. After some days of trying to calm down, we consulted several German Shepherd and animal behaviorist specialists. We all were able to put together an understanding of why Golia did it. Since my husband was home sick all year, Golia felt stressed and sensed the change in the house. (He was always extremely tuned in and sensitive to us.) There were small changes in him during the year that indicated stress that we did not see. Also, my husband did not walk with Golia except a few times during the year; I walked Golia daily. So, Golia became extra protective of Antonio and Antonio lost some of the dominance he had over Golia. Because the incident happened in front of our house, the dog was also extra protective. Golia was also a rescue dog, so we don't know what else could have triggered his fear, and ensuing "misdirected aggression", from his past. The experts agreed, he was not attacking the woman, but taking his aggression out on the closest thing to him when he couldn't get to the dog. We were left with the option of keeping him away from people for the rest of his life, muzzling him when we left the house and never taking a vacation and leaving him with anyone, or...putting him down. After much heartbreaking reflection we decided to put him down. We could not risk this happening again, and potentially being worse. We put him down two weeks ago.
We rescued Golia 5 years ago, and he had been abused and had a hard life. It took a lot of work to break through to him, but when we did, the pay off was huge (as it so often happens with rescues.) It is so difficult to explain to those who didn't know him, but he was one of the cuddliest, sweetest, friendliest big dogs either one of us had ever met. Anyone who came to our house fell in love with him, even to the point of ignoring our other dog. He was my daily walking partner. He was a 105 pounds of happy, bouncy, appreciative, expressive and loving presence in our house - especially this last year when we needed that lightness so. We miss him tremendously.
On a lighter note, my husband is improving daily and that is bringing so much joy back to our lives. All the things we take for granted like standing in the sun, listening to music, taking a walk, driving a car, eating what you want, and more, he couldn't do this last year. Everything is a gift to him right now, and in turn a gift for me, too!
I will be leaving for Italy soon- taking a group of wine and food enthusiasts on a week long tour of Tuscany. Lucky for me that I have lots of friends in Italy that I will be visiting and staying with. The trip will be a salve for my tired soul. I don't know if I will be posting anything from the road, but you will hear more from me on the trip, before and after for sure.
Another beautiful thing I have planned to put a smile on my face is a camping trip this weekend with my nephew Nicholas. I have written about him here before. We will explore Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California.
I leave you with a big thank you for all the blogging friends I have made out there who have sent me the kindest notes of support over the last year. I also leave you with this beautiful picture taken yesterday of my husband who is slowly becoming more active and our other dog, Ruby.
More soon my friends!