So now I have a story, it’s down on paper and it’s tucked away in a drawer, or in actuality, typed in a Word document and stashed in a folder on my hard drive. Now what? There it stayed for about a year. Occasionally I opened it up, re-read it, tweaked a word here and a comma there, and put it away again, unsure of the next step. I envisioned book signings with Soren by my side, giving kisses to adoring kids, but I just didn’t know how to get from here to there.
In October and November of 2015, I started to notice little things about Soren that didn’t seem quite right. A few times I had to carry him home from a walk as he was clearly struggling to go on. I chalked it up to getting older, or maybe a little more out of shape since his retirement from agility the year before and his new, less-active lifestyle. But in early December, he ran to see who was at the door and collapsed in the hall, and I knew in my heart that the time I dreaded for many years had come. Something was not good—not good at all. He seemed fine shortly after that, and I hoped maybe we’d dodged a bullet and it was just a fluke. But a few days later, he collapsed again, and again. The emergency vet and my own vet were unsure of what was wrong. On New Year’s Eve day, he was not doing well and we returned early from a trip to see our vet. His heartbeat was erratic. They did an ultrasound and he was definitively diagnosed with a tumor on his heart, wrapped around his aorta, and inoperable. After a lot of tears, we agreed we would try medication to stabilize his heartbeat and hope for some time. A few weeks later my own heart, and the hearts of many others who loved him too, would break when I had to make the gut-wrenching decision to say goodbye to the little dog who had truly changed my life over the past decade.
The loss of my best friend was devastating, but out of that loss came a new resolve to honor Soren’s life by telling his incredible story. It would be the perfect way to capture all my love, admiration and precious memories of such a special soul. I knew that, somehow, I had to find a way to share with others the inspiration Soren brought to me and to so many who knew him over the years. I thought of the book stored in the folder on my laptop, and I remember thinking, “Soren wouldn’t be stopped because it’s difficult to figure out what to do next. He’d just do it.” And so would I.