I've always had German Shepherds. My first was Thor, a pup of german imports, when I was 4 years old. 6 years later, we moved to a small apartment, and Thor was sold to the police K-9 academy. A heartbreak. We moved again shortly after. Then came Athena. A rescue from a pound. I wasn't even sure if she was purebred, or not. She might have been, I'll never know, or care. She brightened my life in every way. We went for car rides to the dog park, every other day. I could watch her run and play for hours at a time. We watched movies together, having a contest to see who could catch more popcorn in our mouths. She always won. She was just wonderful, my best friend. She was always there for me. I was working at the time, and hated leaving her. I worked at a pet supply store, though, so I always came home bearing gifts, and treats, the newest releases of dog pleasures. I had been saving for years to buy a horse, I was an equestrian to the core. Well, for one thing, Athena was a runner. I guess that's how she ended up in the pound in the first place. Especially if kids were outside and the front door was opened...she'd get by. Many times I would get calls saying, "I got your dog" and have to go pick her up in a neighboring subdivision. As we got closer, she'd get out, I'd say her name, and she'd stop in her tracks and come back home. She loved me, and I loved her, it was unconditional.
One day, I was at work and in a good mood, I'd had a wonderful playdate with Athena before work, when all of a sudden my mom came in the store. I was confused. She whispered something to my boss, and he told me to go home. I got a cold sweat down my back, was a relative in the hospital, was everything alright?? I went outside and my mom gestured to the car. "Athena got out the front again, it's bad. She got hit by a truck on 23 mile." I started crying. The cop wanted to put her out of her misery, saying it was probably her neck that was broken, but my mom said no. There she was. In the back of the car on a soft blanket. When she heard my voice she lifted her head and searched for me. I felt a little spark of hope. It couldn't be her neck!! We raced to the Emergency Vet Clinic right down the road, and made it in record time. After Athena was in the exam room, my mom told me the story. She hadn't been home, and a neighbor came over to play ball with Athena, and borrow something. There were children outside playing, and as soon as the door opened she had slipped out. My neighbor called to her, but she just kept going. My mom got a call, rushed home to try and catch her...then they got a call saying to come to 23 mile rd..
The vet came out. They said there's a small chance they could save her. It would cost $3000, and there were no guarantees. I said, do it. My horse money, the years of hard work, I could see no better use for it. Upon further tests, though, it was decided nothing could be done. I petted her, crying into her fur, telling her how much I loved her, as she slipped away.
Losing Athena was tough. Really tough. So tough that finally, 6 years later, I'm opening up my heart again. My Bella. My beautiful puppy, the hole in my heart is finally being filled up.
I know I'll see Athena again. She'll be waiting for me, at the bridge with my kittens and cats I've lost over the years..