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It’s the next day and the loss of Athena has started to sink in. I’m so sad. I know, however, we had to say goodbye to her, and am relieved that she’s no longer suffering. Her eyes and skin had become so jaundiced and her eyes had lost their twinkle. Athena had eyes that could convince you to give her whatever she wanted. They were full of love, life, and manipulation. I certainly couldn’t tell her no. As for yesterday, I had mixed feelings about it. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel watching her being put to sleep. In the end, it was a relief that she was free of pain instantly.
She wasn’t your average dog and certainly deserved more than the eight years she was granted. I know we’re not the first to lose our dog (or animal) and feel this way. So many of the people I love have experienced the loss of their beloved pet, which is a total gut punch. I wish our dogs could live as long as we do. I would have loved to have Athena by my side for the rest of my life. It’s almost cruel that we get to share the earth with them for such a short time.
I didn’t grow up with dogs as my dad and brother were severely allergic. In fact, I grew up terrified of dogs particularly big dogs. My neighbors at our first house had a big, black lab that I found particularly scary. I even had a policy against dogs that could eat me like Rottweilers and pit bulls. Consequently, it’s a little ironic that as an adult I’ve had four large dogs including two black lab mixes and two terrier mixes. Maya helped me overcome my lifelong fear of dogs. Maya and Athena both tuned me into a dog mom obsessed with her big dogs.
When we first adopted Athena, I had no clue she had any pit or terrier in her. I sent a picture to the family group text and my sister-in-law pointed out the pit. Naturally, I freaked out due to my policy against dogs that can eat me and ordered a DNA test. Turns out Athena was fifty percent American Staffy with the other half being lab, boxer, and beagle. Or as the Mayor said, “Our dog is a bagel!?!?” What I learned throughout my eight years with Athena is that the breed I feared most made the best family dog we’ll ever have. She was the kindest, highest emotional intelligence, most gentle, loyal, and protective dog you’d ever meet. She was never inappropriately protective (I’m looking at you Anakin.) Athena would only become protective when someone in our family was threatened.
So here I am the next day missing my sweet angels. Maya and Athena brought us more joy than they could ever know. They opened a world to me that I didn’t think I could exist in. Now I can’t see myself living without a canine companion. At home, Anakin is grieving his loss. He’s been carrying around her blanket and his duck with impunity today. Athena and Anakin had a very special relationship. She was an instrumental part of Anakin’s life. It will take him some time to heal.