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The Bucket List

Something magical has begun.

Some time ago I bought a little black book with a gold title engraved into it, simply called, "Bucket List". I've looked at if for some time, maybe even a year or more, as it sat on the glass table at the foot of my bed between the two rose colored chairs and couldn't think of a thing to write in it. I mean, my whole life has sort of been my bucket list, right? Did I really need to write it all down? Purchasing the book seemed like a good idea at the time, yet I found myself stymied on what to fill it with and it sort of became another of my several "to do" lists and I started to feel pressured. I set the thought of filing it with things I "had" to do, or feel guilty for not doing, aside.

Then I realized something. The book can write itself and it has already begun.

Two weeks ago I got on a plane with my German Shepherd, you, Trakker, and this will end up being my first entry. However, the book began writing itself a few weeks before that even happened.

We recently bought a house in NJ, and knew we needed to get to it from Arizona. The choices were five long days driving (hotels, meals, etc...) or flying. I knew flying was the best way and I started thinking about it... a lot. I started thinking and getting excited, not stressed, but excited. I was excited at the thought of a new experience flying with my GSD (disclaimer my GSD is registered to fly in the cabin with me). Getting you across the country was a new challenge I had never done before, one that would not only make me feel more capable as your handler and caregiver, but one that would open a whole new world to you of smells, sounds, climates, plants, trees and people. What I did worry about was that the move in and of itself would be stressful, and stress is something to avoid with DM like the plague. But just because travel and a new environment was involved, did that mean it had to be stressful? Does any and all change equate to stress and damage? Could these activities be any more stressful than you dealing with the the loss fo your brother Rusty in July and the disease itself on a daily basis? Meeting new people along the trek can be socially stimulating, new environments are mentally interesting and I know what you look like and what you do when you are stressed. I also know that you mirror my emotions often, and if I am ok, can you then be ok too? I contemplated this decision greatly. Would this be the best or the worst idea for you?

On October 19th, we boarded American Airlines Flight #854 at Phoenix Sky Harbor en route to Philadelphia Airport. Using my cross-body sling we tethered to each other and made the journey side by side. You were wonderful. We navigated like pros. People asked about your harness, gave you love, petting and admiration. I was so proud of you (us). We boarded, you settled at our feet in bulkhead, tilted your head back and forth a few times when the plane started to move (why am I moving but the floor is not ?!?! ) and then promptly fell asleep with your snout on my shoe.

Landing and deplaning was easy, we even took the shuttle bus to the rental car agency. Once there we settled on a bench outside while Dad went in to get the keys to the car. Little by little a crowd formed around you, and as it turned out, all the employees at Enterpise wanted to say hello to you. One of the guys was laughing a lot and pointing behind me. I turned my head to see three really big guys standing on the other side of the glass window, too afraid to come out, but waiving and looking at the handsome shepherd. Our first welcome in the east was by wonderful people who gathered and celebrated your arrival. My heart was bursting through my chest.

Then you jumped (sort of) into the trunk of the Nissan Rogue and off we went. And you are OK.

I am coming to know that life is full of bucket list events and there is no need to plan them or write them down in a "to do" fashion. Just live and be aware of the moments while they are happening to you because life is full of these list moments, if you just look for them. Hence, this will be my first bucket list entry in my "post" bucket list book.

Trakker, looking back you may have just given me the most bucket list moments in my life. I am feeling grateful and I am looking forward to more bucket list moments at each other's side.

Trakker in bulk head on American Airlines.

The Enterprise rental car employees will never know what they meant to me.

Trakker from the back of the rental car, "I'm in, now what"?

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