Heart Disease, Hiking & CJ…Yes We Can

The past few weeks have been busy and has left me little time to write. They have been great weeks and I’m ready to start my new career this Monday and get settled back into writing and doing more hiking. But this week we had a scare.

As you know CJ usually goes on most of my hikes. He’s been my hiking partner through many trails and trials. This past week CJ was not feeling well. He was having trouble breathing and the look of fear in his eyes broke my heart and scared me. I did what I could to comfort him as well as tried to NOT show my own fear.

While at the vet I heard three words that caused my heart to drop…congestive heart failure. CJ has lived most of his life with a heart murmur that we knew would someday worsen. That day has come.

After returning home from the vet I spent the rest of the day by his side giving him as much comfort as I could. At one point he let me hold him, his front paws wrapped around my neck tight and he wouldn’t let go.

I prayed the meds and rest would do their thing and return CJ back to his normal happy energetic self. It was a long night for all of us. A long night of no to little sleep.

Its been three days since our scare and I’m happy to report that CJ is doing great. The meds are working, he’s eating and drinking normally and his “hoppy” self is back. When CJ is excited about being in the outdoors he hops, ears flapping, tail straight up and a smile on his face. That distinct look that only he can give is back. He’s hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. And this morning while out on our walk it’s like the other day never happened.

While his diagnosis means his hiking days are over, no more mountains or long treks, it’s not stopping him from living life each day to the full.

Congestive heart failure you say; heart murmur you say….it’s not stopping CJ. I can’t isn’t in his vocabulary.

You might say he’s just a dog, but to me he’s a companion, friend, has been a lifeline for me during my separation and divorce and an example of how to live life one day at a time.

Oh…and as for those long distance hikes and mountain top walks, he’ll still go. Carrying him on my back every step of the way will be worth the time we spend together. For us congestive heart failure and a heart murmur isn’t the end of our adventure…it’s just the beginning.


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