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My phone rang early Saturday morning, before eight, in fact. Caller id flashed the name of my vet’s clinic. I knew as I answered that it probably wasn’t going to be a good call.

And it wasn’t.

Camelot, our oldest dog, a gentle-hearted hound, had been sick the day before. I left him at the clinic for treatment and observation throughout the weekend. He had passed away during the night.

There will never be a time that I don’t cry for the loss of any of our dogs. They each become a piece of what makes up my everyday life. And as I hang up the phone, I cry for Cammy.

When the call came, I happened to be away from home, in Lexington, VA for a horse show my three daughters were taking part in. The weather was gray and heavy, and my emotions took on the same grayness. Sadness pulled at me, and I had no desire to shake it off.

I’ve had a lot of loss this year. My sweet grandmother last winter, my dear Thomas, the chocolate lab who held on to life for a year after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

Loss and sadness are tricky things. I think we need to feel them, but it’s a tenuous balance, trying to keep our heads above the surface.

There’s really only one way I’ve found to accomplish that. Once I’ve let myself cry, as many times as I need to, I force myself to think about the incredible life of abundance I am living. And by abundance, I don’t mean material things. The abundance in my life has been love. Both giving and receiving.

Losing Camelot this weekend made me think about how his life would have ended if we hadn’t brought him to our home to foster over a Christmas weekend when the county shelter euthanized any pets without a place to go. I thought about how doing that for him completely enhanced the meaning of Christmas in our home that year. I thought too about how obvious it was in the beginning that comfort and good care had not been a part of his previous life. I remembered his deep love for his big comfy pillow and how he grew to know the exact time of day when treats are given out in our house. You could set your watch by his accuracy.

It’s easy to focus on what we’ve lost or don’t have. But I am far more comforted by acknowledging how enriched my life is by the abundance of love I have known. And sweet Camelot let me know on a regular basis how much he loved his life. I’m grateful for my time with him. Grateful too for the fact that we made a difference in each other’s lives.

That’s the kind of abundance I for sure want to know in this life. It’s really the only kind that matters.


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Barefoot Outlook: Nashville, Pt. 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Novel Soundtrack)