(One of the posts I wrote on my Swell 24.7 blog in my previous life as a gift store owner in the busy tourist town of Provincetown on Cape Cod; posts that are grouped here under the category What Else Is Swell?, and are generally about life in Provincetown, life as a retailer, our fabulous dog Jack who sat outside the store for well over a decade, and other random things that grabbed me at the time.)
This weekend Dr. Lear, Jack's acupuncture vet, told us that, despite how much he loves it, Jack should no longer go running on the beach in the mornings with me. That at 13 or 14, or whatever age he is, he's just too old and his legs can't take the impact. He thinks that Jack gets minor injuries that we don't even know about but that are contributing to the severe stiffness in his back legs and making it difficult for him to use them comfortably. Long walks are fine (in fact they will help to keep him the happy healthy dog he is now); just nothing that involves running. It might sound like the beginning of the end for Jack but the vet assures us otherwise. He says that other than his stiff back legs Jack is very healthy and could easily have 2, 3 or even 4 years left in him, and we don't want to end up with a dog who is perfectly fine but can't walk.
It all sounds very reasonable and logical; but I am utterly devastated by the news. I mean illogically, over the top, irrationally gut wrenchingly heartbroken. You'd think the dog had died the way I'm feeling about it.
For me running in the morning with Jack is our thing. We've been doing it about four times a week for eight years, first in Provincetown and then in Truro with a fantastic view of Ptown across the water. A lot of times it's the happiest half hour of my day. (Some times it's the only happy half hour of my day!) It's how I keep my weight in check, cure hangovers, subdue PMS, clear my head, keep myself sane. It's what gets me out of bed at 6am in the summer when I didn't finish work until 10 or 11 the night before. Some days, especially in the summer when the store is so busy, it's literally the only outdoors time I get.
Sure, I can still go with out him. And I will, eventually. But it's not going to be the same. And I don't care what the vet says or how much better off Jack will be without it, it's the end of something very special to me.