Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Losing Darcy

Our tricolor Cavalier, Darcy, died on June 27 of chronic valve disease, also known as mitral valve disease. It's a common health problem in Cavaliers and tends to strike them much earlier in life than it does other breeds. Darcy was a classic example of that, being only six and a half years old when she died.

Now, five weeks later, it's still hard to believe she's gone. We knew for months that we had only a limited amount of time left with her. I had hoped that the anticipatory grief would be helpful. It wasn't. We were fortunate, however, to be surrounded by friends and family who loved Darcy too and understood our sense of loss. No one, not even our terminally tactless neighbor, said "Hey, buck up, it was just a dog."

People commemorate beloved pets in numerous ways. They light candles, have the pet cremated or buried, turn them into diamonds, drink a toast, or make a donation to an animal welfare or health organization. We did a lot of those things. But more important, we arranged to start The Darcy Fund, which will finance research into the causes and cures of CVD. The Darcy Fund is set up in conjunction with the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club's Charitable Trust. It's our hope that through it, Darcy will help other Cavaliers live longer, healthier lives.