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Kansas City MO 64131

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Cindy Maddera

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Thursday morning I took Hooper back to the vet for his follow up appointment. He made an odd grunting sound as I picked him up and put him in the car and I thought to myself "Oh...this is bad". I left him at the vet office so they could look him over and do X-rays and then I ugly cried my way to work because I knew it was going to be bad. And it was. Hooper had a mass on his stomach and kidney and maybe even his liver. He was one sick dog and the vet said he thought it would be best to put him down. So...that's what I did on Thursday. I said goodbye to my dog. It really seems like 2012 has been the year of death. Losing my husband and my dog all in the same year is kind of a shitty deal. I've been looking at it from many angles. Someone could easily look at my life and see that I may have gotten the monkey's paw of a life. Good things come at a sacrifice. If that's the case, thank the Gods I didn't win on that lottery ticket I bought the other day. All of this also kind of makes me feel like I'm the Grim Reaper and the playlist running through my head right now ranges from Hole's "Violet" to Eric Carmen's "All By Myself". But I call bullshit on the whole sacrifice thing. Good things, bad things they all balance themselves out. It's just that mine seems to balance out in years. Good years/bad years. There's no way to sugar coat this year as a good year. Good things happened this year like my trips to New York and Atlanta and new babies in the family.

There's many of you who are probably wailing to the Heavens "WHY TAKE THE DOG THIS YEAR TOO?!?!!?". My reply is why not take the dog too. Hooper was old and I knew he didn't have much time left on this planet. That's the way of dogs. They just don't get as many years as they deserve. But the truth is, this year, next year or even the next year wouldn't have made it any easier. Kind of like ripping a band-aid off. Do it fast and get it over with. It's one less thing to mar the next year. For the first time in many years I have no one to take care of but myself. So maybe 2013 is going to be learning how to care for me for a change, which will be weird.

So...I'm adding to my collection of ashes on the bookshelf. I'm turning into a macabre version of that little old lady who swallowed a fly or a Tim Burton like children's book. All I know is that I'm ready for that balanced year of good.