My Girl, Athena


July 29, 2018 by Laird

I wrote an “Athena” post in 2011. Nothing has changed except that the hourglass is trickling down. I’ve decided to post this update today while I am in my right mind.

Athena loved Montana. We stayed at my brother’s house up in the mountains near an old logging road. She ran free and chased (unsuccessfully) deer and rabbits from spring into fall. Later, I rented a room with John Langan and his family in Rifton, NY. Athena flourished there with Langans’ big dog Piper and several acres to roam. She enjoyed greeting the many household visitors, especially the kids. Hustle and bustle suited her well. Athena loved everyone and everyone loved her.

In 2015, Jessica M and I moved into our current house, a tranquil place a few miles from the Catskills. Another rescue pup entered our lives the following year. Athena had slowed down and wasn’t particularly enamored of the little terror who delighted in tormenting her 24/7. But she bore it cheerfully. And that’s Athena, a sweet and cheerful soul.

Last year, Athena nearly died from a sudden onset of grand mal seizures. She endured a medically induced coma to reset her brain and three more weeks of semi-consciousness (via heavy medication). I bargained with the death gods for just a little more time. They granted us another year and change.

As I type this, Athena is lying in  her favorite spot in the yard very near where we will, barring a miracle, bury her tomorrow at sunset. Her snowy muzzle is pressed against the grass. She is gray and tired and the look in her eyes communicates to me a depth of love and sadness that is difficult to bear. We have been inseparable for a long time. Now, she needs to go on ahead and I have to figure out how to do all this without her.

Over the past decade and a half, many colleagues and readers have expressed love and affection for Athena. Her veterinarian, Dr. Banister, and his compassionate staff, have seen her through cancer operations and other maladies. I know she would hug and kiss you all if she could.

athena puppy


22 thoughts on “My Girl, Athena

  1. shubbie58 says:

    My heart goes out to you Laird. Thanks for sharing about Athena.😓

  2. Karin Jeffery says:

    Laird, I’m so sorry. My own girl is starting to slow down and show her age, and I don’t know how I’ll face it when the time comes.
    You are all in our thoughts!

    • Karin Jeffery says:

      PS – just reread your earlier post about Athena. Loved where you said, “God damn, that dog was a trial.” I felt the same way when I brought Cassidy home from the shelter. Seemed like one of the biggest mistakes I’d ever made. I feel differently now.
      My heart goes out to all of you.

  3. Israel Finn says:

    My love to Athena. She hit the doggy lottery when she became a part of your family. All the best to you and Erin.

  4. Sharon Lawson says:

    I am so sorry, Laird. There is little anyone can say to ease the pain. We can only show our understanding in your time of sadness. It is unfair that these beautiful souls are in our lives for too short of a time.

  5. Patrick Bagley says:

    Athena’s a beautiful dog, and from what I’ve read, she’s had a beautiful life. I’m sorry she has to leave you, my friend.

  6. lucyasnyder says:

    I’m so sorry, Laird. She’s a lovely dog. Gary send his sympathies, too.

  7. I’m so sorry, Laird. Athena has been such a fighter through so much. And so have you. ❤ You guys are very much in our thoughts right now.

  8. Roger Taylor says:

    All my best in this time of times to both of you.

  9. kfwils says:

    So sorry for your loss, Laird. I asked about Athena when you were on The Lovecraft eZine and it caused some emotional distress for you.I felt very bad about that. I know that your love for her runs deep and she will be in your heart till the end of days. RIP, Athena.

  10. Mandy Griffin says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. James and I, with pups Desmond and Honeyboy, send our love to all of you.

    We lost our basset, Roscoe, and year ago, and we of course still talk to him. We’ve asked him to look for Athena.

    You guys have loved each other well. Thank you for sharing Athena with us.

  11. Curt Jarrell says:

    Sending prayers for comfort and peace. I wish I’d met her myself. Your love and friendship was a precious, beautiful thing.

  12. edwardky2 says:

    So sorry about Athena.

  13. chimerapoet says:

    no words, just so sorry.

  14. jmwilson529 says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Animals hold such a special place in our lives and hearts. You have given her an amazing life. She knows. I know it’s small comfort right now, but hopefully you’ll be able to look back and it will help. Sending love.

  15. My heart breaks reading this and my mind travels to my own experiences. This is a unique kind of grief…one that pet lovers understand. Take some modicum of comfort that you and yours are surrounded by empathetic hearts. Sending love and light, Laird.

  16. Fred Kiesche says:

    Our condolences. It’s hard to let them go (as we did in February with Ms. Mocha), but it is our ultimate responsibility. Be well, Laird!

  17. Robert Levy says:

    Sending you guys so much love. XOXOR

  18. Jonathan Sprague says:

    As the loving companion to a 13.5 year old Bichon Frise Shih Tzu named Logan, I empathize with your grief over your loss of Athena. Logan has arthritis, his rear legs tremble and he does not cover ground the way he used to. But my little guy’s heart is strong and the vet assures me that Logan is not leaving us anytime soon. Regardless, every day I savor the time with my little guy. And when Logan dies my grief will know no bounds. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life with Athena. By sharing, you helped others deal with their own losses both in the past and, in my case, the future. Athena would be proud of you.

  19. When I saw Yves’ posted drawing of Athena, I had an idea something awful had happened. I know words can’t express the sympathy we all feel for your loss, but the comments and condolences above speak well enough. Your compassion for this brave canine, who left you too soon, speaks volumes.

  20. Damien Angelica Walters says:

    Laird, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how much Athena meant to you. You gave her an amazing life filled with love and adventure, and I don’t think any dog could ask for anything more. No matter how long they stay, it’s never long enough.

  21. Pam says:

    I am going through a difficult time in my life; I am not sure i could make it without my own girl, Rosie. She was born in a puppy mill—I can tell from her physical ‘defects’ that inbreeding was a problem. Since I find imperfections endearing, it mslesm e love her that much more.

    There’s ben far too many deaths in my human family lately, so I’m fearful that my girl will die, too—I know she will one day, so I’ve gotten morbid.

    I focus on how good she makes me feel-she prefers my company to anyone else’s ! She comes to me for help! She trusts me! She sleeps against my back! She has a 1000 adorable mannerisms!

    I’m enjoying her while she shares her life with me. It’s all we can do with our beloved.

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