In memory of Sweeper 2005-2018

She was lost, I remind myself. I watched her decline over the year and every time I thought this might be it, after a bad week, she bounced back and appeared to be herself.

Kind of.

She still walked into walls, got stuck in odd places, didn’t know if I was home or not, twitched, paced, walked in circles but she didn’t appear to be suffering or hurting. I remember one time, there were so few lately, I walked onto the porch and she looked up at me, right at me. There you are! I beamed. She beamed!

Those moments were rare and worth it. I was told it’s her brain. I often wondered…her quality of life…sleeping all day, incontinence, but she ate, kind of. Sure, I felt I had to bring the bowl to her mouth at times or help her locate her water…but she didn’t appear to be suffering. At times I tried to walk her, even though it was about two houses down before we returned. I brought her up to me and snuggled (as she always loved before) and tried to guide her but mostly she wanted down, to wander, stare, walk in circles, pace, until she made it to her bed.

I pushed all feelings aside for a year, found myself snapping at others, irritable, and it weighed on me. Is she in her private hell? I tried to read what she wanted or needed in each moment but she appeared lost.

I took a day off and the night before, she started to cry. She stood there in her bed, not wanting to lie down, look at how skinny she is. You’re not happy. I picked her up and rocked and snuggled with her until she fell asleep.

As usual, in the middle of the night, I woke up to her crying. I helped get her settled and the next day, my day off, she just started crying while standing in her bed. I tried to rock her, no good, she kept crying, whining.

I made the call.

I wrapped her up and rocked her until she fell asleep. She stopped crying.

Dearest Sweeper, I have missed you for a year. My jogging partner, my therapy dog, my ‘go everywhere we go’ girl, my protector, my friend, my excited and happy and friendly and jumping up and down, sweet and accepting mate. I have so missed you. It hits me, the painful year, where I pushed all my feelings aside a lot, hits me hard and I can’t stop crying. I miss you so much.

The guilt that comes with saying goodbye looks at me squarely in the face, and so I write. Sweeper, have you been found? #pet #animalcompanion

About the author

Kim Hiles (Dancing Feather) was born in Pennsylvania in the 1960s. Her mother was from Germany and met her father while stationed there. The family moved several times before settling in a town called Millis, Massachusetts.

Kim developed severe anxiety and depression as a child and struggled to find her way. Growing up, Kim was told by her grandmother that she wrote beautiful letters and had a way with words. Later in life, this memory would be a catalyst for sitting down and writing her memoir.

Continuing to say yes to life, Kim talks about her struggles of addiction, anxiety, depression and relationship issues, to name a few. She considers it her life mission to help empower others and uses her memoir as a way to offer guidance in living a more authentic life, following your dreams.

She has overcome much adversity and enjoys walking with others as they find their way. Kim has also co-written a young adult fantasy with her husband Will, called Little Wonders. Their pen name is K.W. Hiles.

Kim is a successful Educator, Social and Emotional Learning Specialist, Behavior Specialist, Mediator (Restorative Practices), 3rd degree Reiki Practitioner, and blogs regularly. In addition Kim offers online classes at Shamanic Passages Institute

Kim is considered highly sensitive and intuitive. Utilizing her gifts, her mission is to channel inspiration and healing and help spread some light. Empowering others to create the life of their dreams is the ultimate goal.

Kim is happily married (21+ years) and lives with her husband, son and their animal companions.

"I had a teacher who told us to go out that week and see how many Mercedes cars we noticed. When I came back I told her I had seen a lot! She asked me if I had seen any junk cars. I told her I didn’t remember seeing any. The next week she reversed it and asked us to go out and see how many junk cars we noticed. Of course we noticed a lot but didn’t remember seeing any Mercedes cars. Where is your focus? Is it on the problem or on the solution and more importantly, where would you like it to be?" -- Kim Hiles

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