hunger strike

Those of you that have been following my blog since the beginning know my past with dogs – namely, that I was not a dog person until rather recently. To be more specific… I was not a dog person until I met James (and Phoenix). 
You see, James adopted Phoenix from the pound loooong before I was in the picture. She was just a little year-old puppy and James was a young buck himself. Those two had been inseparable for around 9 years when I showed up in the picture – so that was some sacred ground I was encroaching on. But slowly, over the course of our relationship, Phoenix began to feel less and less like James’s dog – and more and more like our dog. (I’d say the main transition occurred when we moved in together almost two and a half years ago – and therefore began to share the responsibilities of owning a dog – i.e. walking, feeding and poop-scooping.) 
Those of you who’ve met Phoenix know that she’s easy to fall for. (She’s even been known to convert some other not-so-much dog people… *ahem* – Will and Josh…) She may be almost 14 years old, but the dog has puppy-dog eyes that don’t quit. (Most people think she’s only a few years old when they first meet her… it’s a little ridiculous!) She is a sweetheart to the core and insanely protective of her little family – especially her mama (that’s me!). 🙂 In fact – in the last year or so Phoenix has gotten so attached to me that she apparently is a little lost when I’m gone. 
We first noticed it when I went up to Wisconsin for a few weekends here and there this past year. I’d come home from just a night or two away and James would tell me that Phoenix didn’t eat all weekend while I was gone. As my trip to Mexico at the end of February neared, I started to worry that 5 days was an awfully long time for her not to eat anything… and hoped she’d suck it up after the first day or so of me being gone and get back into a normal routine. 
Turns out – that wasn’t the case. When I arrived home, James told me that she ate the day I left (he claims because she didn’t realize that I wasn’t coming back right away) – but then didn’t eat a thing for the next four days. (And then immediately scarfed down a bowl of food the night I returned.) What is up with this dog going on hunger strikes whenever I’m away?? 
Since I’ve been back she hasn’t been able to quite get back on track with eating normally though and it was starting to worry me a bit last night. Of course it probably didn’t help that my lovely husband planted a seed of worry in my brain during a phone conversation we had over my lunch break yesterday… We somehow got on the topic of Phoenix being old (I think because she had thrown up shortly before he called me).  And James, being the realistic person he is, decided to bring up the fact that we could very well have to put her down in the near future… because, as he so kindly stated – Christy, she’s dying
I of course told him there’s a difference between being old, and being terminally ill and only having a month left to live. I like to argue that Phoenix is the former. Thankyouverymuch. (I mean, half the time she runs around like a little puppy, right?!)
So having this lovely seed planted in my brain – I came home from work yesterday to find Phoenix not greeting me at the door. Apparently James was right (dang it)… she wasn’t feeling well. I rounded the corner to find her laying on our bed under a blanket. She looked so old and tired just laying there… and as she glanced up at me when I walked in to greet her, I actually started to get choked up. (I. blame. James.) I sat down next to her and sighed… her tired little face looking up at me. How can a dog be this cute?! 
And then I started to think of all the times I complained about her shedding all over the house… or her stinking up our bed because she needs a bath… or how she made me late for work because she decided to puke right before I was about to run out the door… and I felt terrible. Because, as James has pointed out many times before – when she’s gone, I’ll wish we had fur all over our house, and that our bedding stunk of dog… because it would mean that Phoenix was still around.
As these thoughts ran through my head – I decided to just lay there for a bit and enjoy her presence in my life. I scooted closer to her and petted her, while whispering (so James couldn’t hear me from the other room) – I didn’t used to be a dog person… now look what you did to me. I’m sitting here crying into your fur for no reason… I love you Phoen-Phoen… Stop being so old… please? 

And then she did as she so often does (because she can read my moods like no other).. she stretched out her paw and set it on my forearm, and then licked my face – as if to say, Don’t cry mom. And I laughed. Darn dog – making me cry and she’s not even gone yet. 
Though I have a feeling when that day does come (hopefully somewhere far, far in the future)… She’ll be the one sending me on an involuntary hunger strike. And then we’ll be even I suppose…
(I couple pics of her I snapped this past weekend… Cutest dog ever? Perhaps…)

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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!