So last week was supposed to be a great week. However it turned out to be very difficult.
My anniversary was on Monday. Jess and I have been married now for 13 years. My plan had been to write about the things I have learned over those 13 years. I had planned to talk about how I have learned that marriage is work, it takes energy, you need to put into it in order to get something out. It is a wonderful thing, but at the same time, not every day is going to be like your wedding day. The inside of my wedding ring bears the inscription, “Love never fails”. I believe that to be true, love doesn’t fail – its perfect. However as people, we do fail love. We are not perfect. We make mistakes, we don’t follow through, we become selfish, we choose the “easy” path instead of the challenging – but correct path. We as people cause love to fail. To me, the biggest trait of love is sacrifice. In order to find love, we have to be willing to sacrifice. I think for everyone that looks a little bit different. But we have to be willing to put ourselves second. That is not an easy thing to do. I know that it sounds so easy to say, but to walk that out every day is not so easy.
It means to be willing to forgive, when you feel like you can’t. It means to turn the other cheek, when all you want to be is angry. It means being willing to forget, when all you want to do is remember. It means asking for help, even when you don’t want to. It means going to a chick flick instead of an action movie. It means turning off football. It means doing those things you know that you should, but for whatever reason just don’t feel like doing. Above all, it means doing the right thing, and not expecting anything in return. To give freely with no expectation of anything in return is what love truly is. We live in a world in which we are supposed to always get something in return. Love is giving freely with no expectations. Once we can do that, we have found love.
It has been 13 years, some of the best times ever. However it has also featured some of the lowest times ever. But through the tough times, our marriage has seen perseverance, sacrifice, a willingness to ask and receive help, a commitment to work through things together and and the willingness to fight in order make it work. Here we are 13 years later, now with a little gray hair – Ok at least me, but still as one, looking forward to many more years in the future.
Back to the reason for the tough week – no it wasn’t my anniversary that got me down. We had to make a very tough call with our super buddy – basically our first child (sorry Colby), our black lab Logan, we made the choice to put him down last week,
Growing up, I always wanted a dog. My Dad though was allergic to dogs, so we could never get one. We ended up with Bingo – a Grey Cockatiel. (insert wuhoos here.) Yes I grew up with a bird as a pet. Bingo and I never really did see eye to eye. Most of the time, was spent with him trying to bite me. He would bite and poop about every 20 minutes, yes he would poop on people! The moral of the story here is that I really wanted a dog.
After Jess and I were married, one of the first big decisions we made was to get a dog. We settled on a black Labrador. We named him Logan. After the mountain in Canada. He was born in 2001. Our first year of marriage we lived in a townhouse on Cougar Mountain. It was great, but had no yard, so we had to take him out to go to the bathroom, rain or shine. We had Jess’s sister Tara, come over on her lunch break each day to let him out. We started him out early with hikes and walks. When he was super little, he used to just stop on walks and would refuse to move, thus you would have to carry him home sometimes. But he was a quick study and soon he was a super trooper when it came to hikes, walks and runs. He was trained to never poop in the middle of a trail and soon went on every hike with us. He has hiked just about everything in the I-90 corridor. His high point is the South Sister in Oregon (10,000 ft.). His longest continuous hike is 42 miles (straight through). Besides being my constant morning running buddy, he helped me train for 3 marathons and 3 ultra marathons. His list of peaks would make most people jealous – as when I say just about everything in the I-90 corridor, I really mean everything. He has hiked Cascade Pass in the North Cascades national Park (yes that one landed me a nice fine as dogs are not allowed there!) He hiked Mt. Pugh – which features 5,800 ft of gain. I could write several pages of his list of hikes and places that he has been that are awesome.
He was a big fan of the snow and used to look like a porpoise in the snow cruising down while I would be skiing. My favorite snow place to take him was always Mt. Amabalis off I-90. One time he actually cut right into me and totally took me out and sent me head over heals down the mountain – complete yard sale. Although not trained as a hunting dog, he has caught a grouse.
Throughout all of my training for mountains, running races, adventure races, etc., Logan was my constant trail buddy. I have done lots of solo trips in my life, but I also did lots of trips with Logan – which made them not so-solo trips as he was with me. He was the perfect trail buddy. He never complained, always was ready for more and was always there.
He was a lake dog too. He perfected the art of jumping off Chuck and Gayle’s dock into lake Sammamish. He was a fantastic swimmer and could swim with 3 tennis balls tucked away in his mouth. Taking him to the dog park to swim would always mean saying sorry to all of the dog owners whose tennis balls Logan would steal in the water. It was rare to see a dog that could fetch in the water faster than Logan. I always wanted to enter him in a Waterdogs contest.
Once we had kids, it was harder to take him everywhere. However I loved the fact that he was super pleasant and friendly, but if you messed with Colby or Cade you would get one angry 90lb lab. He was very protective. One of the sad parts for me is that Colby and Cade where not old enough to really see Logan in his prime. They were both too young – the Logan they saw was when he was older and not the same beast he was when he was young.
Logan developed a tumor. We had been watching it for quite some time and the last couple of months, it became aggressive. We didn’t want to put him through surgery and months of rehabilitation. As there was no way to asses how much damage the tumor had caused, even if it was removed. In the end, he was unable to walk or really even move. I would pick him up to take him outside to go tot he bathroom. He was on some strong painkillers. It was just time. On Monday night (our anniversary), we all slept in the family room, watched Star Wars, ate popcorn, had licorice. Logan had a whole package of Snausages – his favorite treat ever.
We talked to the kids about Logan and what was going to happen next. I have to admit it was hard to talk to them about a tumor and it causing problems that would ultimately end Logan’s life. Saying that Logan had a tumor like Dad does, was not so comforting. The biggest difference between Logan and me being Logan was 88 in human years, vs. me being 36 – but both having to deal with a tumor. It was a great family night with our buddy, our “first child”, our trail buddy. A great final night to spend with our Logan.
I know Logan is in heaven running, hiking, swimming, jumping off docks, and catching tennis balls, but I still miss my trail buddy.