Dearly missed by Dorothy and Josh Crow
Lark came in to our lives June 22, 2007. As soon as I saw her posing ’til closing when we walked along the kennels I knew which girl was coming home with us. She was stretched out in her kennel; paws crossed, and chin on her paws with her big eyes looking up at us. She looked like a perfect little angel.
Lark spent almost every workday with Dorothy at her Pilates studio where she quickly became the main attraction (no offense, hon). Dorothy’s clients doted on Lark, brought her treats and presents and generally made clear their disappointment if Lark stayed home one day a week with her pop.
We signed her up for almost everything we could think of. If she had bigger paws we would have looked in to piano lessons.
Despite lots of walking and running, we noticed that her trunk had less junk than when we got her so we started her on warm water swim therapy at Heavenly Spa in Fall City, four times a month. Claire McLaughlin took her from a limp, wet noodle and turned her in to a bigger bunned swimmer. The combination of massage and swim laps did wonders for her.
As time went on, Dorothy began taking Lark to get acupuncture every three weeks in West Seattle at Lena McCullough’s Kingdom of Basil clinic, and later when she couldn’t ride in the car at home with Richard Panzer. As soon as the needles went in, she fell asleep on the couch. After the sessions she had renewed energy and enthusiasm.
On February 22nd, 2014, we lost Dorothy’s father to a long illness. 12 hours later as we were getting ready to drop Dorothy at the airport, Lark yipped and jumped up off the couch, unable to put any pressure on her left front leg. Dorothy cancelled her travel plans and we rushed Lark to Seattle Veterinary Specialists in north Kirkland.
After 3 days in the hospital and an MRI, it was discovered that she had herniated a disc in her neck. Given her age, we opted to forgo surgery and take her home for rest and recovery. She seemed to recover from that fairly well, but it soon became clear there was more going on. She had a stenosis of the spine that made it very difficult to coordinate her hind legs.
These two in concert made it almost impossible for her to lie down or get up on her own. After some time, it became clear that we needed to let her go before she lost too much.
We were new to greyhounds when we brought her home and she provided us with many lessons along the way.
When we first got her home, she stood at the bottom of the stairs to the loft as if to say, “Hey guys, I think there is something wrong with your wall.” Soon after, she bonked her noggin trying to walk through a window and looked around to see why the air here was so hard. Don’t assume anything, every experience is unique and approaching each one with wonder leaves you open to more discoveries. Assumption leads to misunderstanding and frustration, it is a waste of time. She preferred to keep her eyes wide open.
Early on, it was clear that she was a special girl. She loved people; so much so that one of our first lessons was to be open to meeting new people. Neither Dorothy nor I are particularly gregarious when it comes to strangers, but Lark didnâ€™t care about that. She saw a person that hadn’t met her yet and sought to remedy that. We met so many people that were in awe of greyhounds; and she was a great ambassador. People constantly marveled at her gentle, calm nature no matter the surroundings. After her injury, people we had never seen before inquired after her around our apartment complex. Every time I took her out, someone would walk up and ask how our girl was doing. All of those compassionate people made us feel like we weren’t alone; it gave us hope.
She taught us to be present. I often think of a scene from the Jet Li movie Fearless. He is taken in by mountain villagers and helps them to plant rice. In the afternoon, they all stop planting to face a breeze washing over them from higher up the mountain. He continues to plant rice as fast as he can in order to be the best while failing to notice the joy of the moment. Lark never failed to notice the joy of the moment and she made sure we noticed, too. I sat many minutes in the wind with her.
The last lesson she taught us (at least we believe) was about attachment. What you hold in your hand or even your head is not the thing. Those are ideas and representations; what is in your heart is the essence of the thing. Letting Lark go has broken our hearts, but we need to figure out how to live in this world. She isn’t gone and she will never be forgotten; but the loss of the physical presence seems real. I can close my eyes and see my girl; I can remember all of the good times we had. That is the real essence of Lark. That is also our struggle.
Lark was 15 years, 3 months and 23 days old. She leaves behind a broken hearted mom and pop that are struggling to understand the last lesson. And she hopes that the lessons she left behind help others that face the same situation.