posted in: Uncategorized | 6
“It takes a while for the essence of a being to leave a place.”

Today I walked up the road…alone. Leaves fluttered down from the maple trees lining the road with orange and yellow specks. As I walked, I thought I heard the jingle of Tess’s dog collar, or the shuffle of her feet as she headed off through the woods, but it was only my imagination. When I came to the field drive that leads to the path through the woods, I caught myself as I almost said aloud, “Not today, we’re going up the road.”  I walked alone….no need to tell Tess which way to go.

Tess (2007), her first day on the farm next to her pine tree.
I can hardly remember the last time I took a walk alone. It seems that Tess has been by my side forever. Other than sleeping hours, or time away from the house, Tess went where ever I went. Whether I headed outside to do chores or to work in the garden. As I headed out, I would hesitate to hold the door for Tess so she could come along too. She would dance along in front of me, looking over her shoulder, barking, as if to say, “Where to?” I only had to give a short command and Tess headed in the direction I was going. 
Last Friday, I took Tess’s crate out of the dining room. I had put off doing that task. It seemed so final, so definite….Tess would not be coming back. As I folded it, I could hear Tess asking what I was doing. I simply said out loud, “Tess you are not coming home.” She always got concerned when we folded her crate. That was her home, her place of safety and security. Usually it meant that we were going on a trip, together, as a family, but this time, Tess was going alone. 
Tess (9-25-2012), her last day on the farm-next to her pine tree.
On Monday, September 25, we had the vet come up to the farm to put Tess down…she was only 5 1/2 years old. Tess had been living with a disease known as Megaesophagus, in which the esophagus has no muscle tone and can not push food into the stomach. We had managed her disease for almost exactly a year since diagnosis. I feel that Tess suffered from it for several years, if not her entire life. Late summer, Tess began having trouble. This fall, her condition worsened and she began losing weight. After a very difficult week, I decided that her time had come. 

In typical Border Collie style, though very weak from lack of food, Tess spent her last hours playing fetch and going on one last walk in the woods. She now rests in our side yard, next to the pine tree where she always hid, waiting for you to throw her ball. When no one is home, I still call out for her, “Tess come”. My voice carries across the yard and fields. I know she won’t come running from around the corner of the house or barn, but I still call….I still hear her….I still hold the door for her….I still expect her to be waiting for me in the front yard when I return from being out. As a dear friend said to me, “it takes a while for the essence of a being to disappear,” and Tess will be with us for a while…if not in body….in spirit.


6 Responses

  1. Growing Organic

    This was such a beautiful, sweet and sad post Kim. Tess was the best dog ever! She has a spirit that will remain in our memory and hearts forever.

  2. Tombstone Livestock

    so sorry, border collies are so special. I have had a least one and as many as 9 since 1988, just have one now and a great pyrenees. Hope you find another one to fill the void.

  3. Jennifer King

    Oh dear Tess, a sweeter border collie never was. She will be so missed by your family but also many others who visited your farm.

  4. Stephen Andrew

    I’m so sorry. The cycle of love and loss with dogs is so hard. Especially when the cycle is unnaturally short. There are two border collie/English shepherd puppies I think I might be bringing home next week, I’m excited and nervous. Always had labs, and never two at the same time but they are rescues and apparently inseparable so I will make due. I lost my 11 year old yellow lab Sienna last December…eventually got rid of her things and thought I was finished as a dog owner. Now I’m buying all the stuff again–in doubles! Again, so sorry for the loss.

  5. AllisonInPhilly

    Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to read about Tess. I know that with my pets, it’s like I see them in the places where they often were for a long, long time after they’re gone. Take good care of of yourself,

    Allison in Philly

  6. Craftsteader

    My condolences at the loss of Tess. I know how it is to lose a friend like that. Your blog is a lovely tribute to her.