I love dogs, more than some people. My BF and I have two; Mushka, a 11.5 year old Lab Shep mix I brought to the relationship and Strelka, a 1.5 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback my BF and I adopted last year. One of the reasons I knew my BF was a keeper was that he LOVED my Mushka right from the start. True, genuine love of that dog. That was important, 'cause the girl came with the dog as a package deal.
I got Mushka a few months after my previous dog Lajka, a sweet Lab, died unexpectedly of stomach torsion. I picked Mushka out of a large litter of mutts when she was just a couple of weeks old. Damn she was cute! She's been my best buddy and room mate for over a decade, getting me through break-ups and other bad times, as well as many good times. Mushka became my constant running buddy and a great mountain biking trail dog. Running with her was so much fun. She was so completely joyful, it made me happy and dragged my ass outside many a day I would have otherwise sat on the couch. She adjusted to her new home in Colorado very well and I only wish we had moved here when she was younger so she could have gotten more out of the fabulous trails in this great State.
Mushka began slowing down on the running this year, which I attributed to age. Then she got sick this summer; a cough that wouldn't go away despite antibiotics. To make a long story short, the wonderful Vets at CSU finally confirmed that Mushka has genetic degenerative heart disease. No wonder she was slowing down. Her illness cannot be cured. All we can do is manage it with medication so she lives the rest of her life in comfort. With meds, we are hoping to have her around for awhile and are fortunate this disease came on late in her life, otherwise she may have left us a long time ago. However, her lifestyle will change dramatically. The saddest part about it is no more running, her all time favortite thing other than food (she is a Lab mix afterall). I will truly miss her joyful company out on the trail. Running will not be the same.