Sunday, November 7, 2010

pack of 3, now a pack of 2

my heart aches as i try to put words together for this post. in fact, i wasn't even going to post this. but yesterday it became obvious to me, i knew i just had part of the healing process and as a tribute to CHAMP, the very inspiration behind JOY biscuits.

1 week ago today........champy passed away.

i'm slowly picking up the pieces of what life was like with him and trying to put them back together in a way so that i can move forward. the overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss is gradually giving way to fond memories of champ and what truly made him such a sweet good dog. (he was SUCH a good boy.)

my husband and i put together an email we sent out to our family and friends who knew champ, which i will copy below. the transition back to a pack of 2 is very difficult as it's even hard to imagine what we were like before champ came into our lives. as the days pass without going through the daily routines with champ, petting his soft belly, and the spontaneous outings and walks, one thing is clear: JOY biscuits is not only what champ inspired for us, but it has now become champ's legacy.

Dear Friends and Family,

Almost 2 years ago a retired racer came into our lives and found his way into our hearts. Champ was definitely a looker, and a conversation starter ("He's a greyhound not a whippet. Yes, he used to race. Champ's markings? It's called blonde brindle."). His gentle temperament and soft fur left a strong impression on many.

As many of you know, our boy Champ started acting not like himself in late September. The three of us started an intense journey that ended this past Sunday evening. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, he succumbed to lymphoma, which buried itself in his spinal cord and bone marrow. His passing, here at home, was incredibly peaceful and serene. The look in his eyes that morning let us know it was time to let him go...this was undoubtedly a very difficult decision to make.

After a warm sunny fall day of enjoying time together, feeding him his favorite foods (including JOY biscuits and even some rabbit) and relaxing outside, we sent him on his way. Joy and I can both say that he was probably the most relaxed and peaceful one in the room. He just knew...he was a true champ, in so many ways.

Joy and I were lucky to have had 1 year 9 months and 7 days with him. He came into our world as a hardened racer with a stoic persona, a stellar on-track record, and always looking for a job to do. He left us as a loving family dog that wanted to do nothing more than to please us. He was highly intelligent, but rather than just knowing how to out-maneuver other dogs on the track, he learned and accumulated a library of tricks that he could and would do at any time. All he wanted in return was a pet or a treat.

We'll never forget his soft fur and ears, his propeller tail and how it wagged more and more with time, how he learned to play with his toys and do 180 and 360 degree jump turns in our main room, and how he learned to sniff smaller dogs (as opposed to putting them in his mouth). He literally made our jaws drop when he "opened up" and ran super super fast (faster than what we thought was his fastest) kicking up dirt and dust on us at the horse corral up in Marin. Champ knew what to expect from the person behind the counter at any pet shop, how to pay close attention to the kitchen floor when we were cooking, and how to "counter sniff" instead of counter surfing. Something I know we miss dearly is how he loved to give and receive affection.

During the journey of the past month and a half we bonded with one another and many of our friends more than we could have ever expected. Champ was a very compliant and patient patient, trusting us every step of the way. We can't thank enough the vets that worked with us. Also, thank you to all who visited with Champ, raising his spirits and giving him a distraction from his pain. Your support has lifted us up in ways that are invaluable to us. Additionally, thanks to those of you who welcomed him into your homes and your hearts.

The lessons Champ taught us, such as living in the moment and loving unconditionally, remind us of what is really important in life. We are grateful that he let us into his life as his proud parents, even if only for a short period. We miss our sweet handsome boy. Champ will always be a part of us.

Carpe Diem,

Jamie & Joy