Writing blog posts just hasn’t settled in as a habit with me. I may have to see what I can do about that this year. Today, though, it seems like the right thing to do to sit down and write some thoughts about our wonderful girl, Sobaka, and what her life has meant to us. Tomorrow morning, we have to say goodbye for now and send her on ahead to whatever afterlife might await. The tumors and other ailments that have been debilitating to her for months are continuing to grow worse, and we’ve made the decision to end her suffering. It’s incredibly sad, and I’ve spent hours in tears and anguish over this decision; but we know it’s the right thing to do.

I want to focus, though, on celebrating all the things that Baka has brought into our lives over these many years. We adopted her from Denver Dumb Friends 14 years ago. They figured she was anywhere between one and five years old at that time. I think we mutually chose one another there that day, and we’ve helped to define and shape one another’s lives since. We’ve been just about everywhere together, and our joy at spending time with Baka has helped to shape many of the things we like to do – driving somewhere in the West with our camper instead of flying off to possibly more exotic places without her.

Along the way, Baka has taught me much about how to look at life. She’s taught me to try to focus more on living in the present moment instead of worrying about what’s coming next and how I might or might not be able to shape it to my will. She never really seems to care what we do as long as we’re doing it together, showing me that relationships should take precedent over activities. She has suffered through illness and injury with amazing alacrity, never wallowing in the struggle but looking forward always. While she has obvious anxiety over being left alone or going to the vet, she bounces back quickly from those experiences and resumes her happy, peaceful life again and again.

Baka has shaped a lot of who Kat and I are and try to be as individuals and as a couple. She’s given us someone to care for and plan our lives around to a great extent. She’s helped us to focus on the simple pleasures in life that are more readily available and less on the more grandiose things that likely don’t mean as much anyway. When we see Baka take such great pleasure in snuffling her nose through fresh snow after some elusive scent, dunking her body in a stream or mud puddle during a long, hot hike, or simply enjoying the feeling of cool grass under her belly, it helps us to pay attention to the simpler things that give us joy and fulfillment. She has challenged us to live simpler lives and focus on caring for one another rather than run after empty pursuits.

Baka has also taught us so much about loving. She has never failed to come and greet me after a trip somewhere for days on end or just a day away at work. When she was younger, this would be an energetic run up the hill to track my truck coming down the driveway, barking her enthusiasm and excitement to see me. As she has gotten older, it is still a trot out the door to come let me know she missed me and is happy to see me home safe. It is a behavior that has transferred itself to how Kat and I try to be with one another. Baka has always been so incredibly sensitive to our moods. While our anger and excitement can sometimes cause her to seek a corner somewhere, she is always quick to come and comfort when we are sad and distressed.

Letting go and saying goodbye to our beloved girl is the hardest thing I have ever done. I can’t imagine anything more gut wrenching. As we count down the hours, we’re trying so hard to focus on living right now and celebrating the joy Baka brings to our lives rather than dreading what’s to come.

Baka, we love you with all our hearts. Thank you for everything you’ve brought to our lives. We look forward to seeing you again on the other side with a completely tumor-free and healthy new body.

As I went through our photo collection over these many years to pick out a few photos to add in here, I really was amazed to see just how many pics of Baka there are. We’ve really gone everywhere together and done so much. She has given us a wonderful start to our marriage, and I hope we’ve given her the type of wonderful, adventurous life that a dog should have. These are just a small fraction of the many hundreds or thousands of pictures we have to remember our life with Sobaka.