Ode to Kristina's "Man Flint"

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Flint, what a dog to bless my life in so many ways!

It is very hard to say goodbye and it deeply saddened me to let him go. He wouldn’t want me to be in sorrow over him, rather celebrate the joys he brought me. He was a fighter and happy even through all his health problems. He taught me so much about dogs and the great sport of schutzhund.

The most impressing thing I learned from him is to live to the fullest and make the best of what you have. Do all challenging things with joy, as he lived his life.

Diagnosed with severe Sub Aortic Stenosis at age one, Flint lived with a severely compromised heart. He functioned on 30% bloodflow, but most of his life you wouldn’t have guessed. Each day he lived was a blessing. I knew I could lose him at any time. On June 27th Flint went into cardiac arrest in the waiting room at the emergency vet.

They took him on a gurney, and I paced nervously, waiting. A copy of Spot in the waiting room happened to be one in which Flint was pictured. I was comforted to see him, lying happy as can be by his Wolfking :-).

They came and took me to “the room” — you know, the private one with comfortable couch. I thought for sure Flint was gone. At one point the doctor came and said they were performing CPR, that Flint’s heart was not beating, and what did I want to do. Unable to reason, I asked for the doctor’s guidance. He left for what seemed like forever, and I could “feel” Flint with me. The doctor returned and said they’d gotten his heart going again!

We consulted the cardiologist, and tests indicated his heart was not in correct rhythm and he was now functioning at an astounding 6% heartflow, shocking even the doctor. We set Flint up with medication to keep him as comfortable as possible and I canceled other tests and appointments and began visiting all his favorite people.

It was a very special thing to me.  What an emotional roller coaster! It is life with dogs, and I wouldn't change it for the world! He was amazingly happy and perky through most of it. He enjoyed special visits from our friends, our many naps together, and walks in the yard where he rolled in the cool grass.

Flint was preparing me, and he gave me two more weeks to say goodbye. On two separate occasions he had “episodes” when his heartbeat became erratic and he panted and slept heavily. I sat on the floor and held him. He awoke both times, the shine back in his eyes, the smile on his muzzle, and proceeded to play and beg for treats as if nothing in world could be wrong.

After one wonderful Friday afternoon visit Flint settled in to nap. Right as I was getting off work he went into an episode. This time it was different — I knew he wasn't coming out of it. He was very uncomfortable so I took him in to have him put down. I really didn’t want to make that choice and was praying a great deal about it. He made it to the vet and they took him to prep him, and would come take me back to say goodbye when it was time. Suddenly they rushed in to get me back there: his heart was stopping on its own. We got our goodbye, and before they could medicate him he was slipping away. They did sedate him then, to ensure his peaceful passage. Flint passed away at the age of 4.

He didn't make me decide. :-) It was time and he knew it. He will be greatly missed and I am so thankful for the last two weeks that I got to share with him.

Flint wouldn’t want to leave anyone on a sad note, so I’m sharing a picture of our latest trick. He had mastered the task of carrying my lunch pail from the office to my car.

Thank you all,

Kristina Holven

Update

on 2010-10-01 21:13 by Spot Magazine

Editor’s Note:  Several weeks after Flint passed Kristina began to resume her new life without him. Eventually she determined she couldn’t bear being without a companion and began seeking a Boxer to share her new life with. At press time Kristina was anticipating meeting a little girl she found through an Oregon Boxer rescue. Like all of us, our lifelong loves live within us forever. . . . The business of living invites us to let new love come, and live forever too.