Sunday, November 23, 2008
Year of the Dog
...or, How I Spent my Summer Vacation.
Today is "black dog's" 13th birthday. (I think. Could be his 14th.) What's the equivalent ... 91 human years? Although he still romps and grins, B's mush has turned snowy white; his legs appear arthritic.
Recently when B became seriously ill, Hubby and I came to peace with the idea of saying, "Goodbye, God-speed." Despite our love for our dogs (or, should I say because of it), we'll not allow him to suffer. But, like the mythical Phoenix, he bounced back from surgery, displaying what the vet called "an amazing will to live." So be it.
And, while I'm inclined to pamper both dogs, I've not actually thrown either a party. (Sing "Happy Birthday" and toss an extra piece of cheese their way? Well, ya!) Realizing this may well be B's last holiday, I've insisted we take him on an excursion to PetsMart.
Now as some of you know, this is the same animal that nearly cost me my leg earlier this year. Love knows no reason, OK?
Originally destined to become an "assist dog" (no, I've no idea what happened), B eventually happened into our childless, quiet environment. Certainly, his voice and stature are enough to give any wanna-be thug second thoughts ... yet, he's a southern gentleman with a sweet disposition -- 99% of the time. Realizing that he's Totally Intolerant of high-pitched noise or sudden movements, we always obey leash laws and confine him to a back bedroom if the grandchildren visit.
Friday night, late May. I'd retired early, only to get the thirsties a little while later. Not paying much attention, I padded to the kitchen ... spotted a gargantuan insect scurrying across the tile ... and instinctively S-c-hrieked! Launching backwards, I collided with B, who'd been following silently.
Pressure, incredible pressure. Looking down, I realize B's teeth are embedded in my calf. The next few minutes, a kaleidoscope of chaos: "OMG, I think this is bad; would you grab me some towels?" "No, wait. C just pooped on the rug." (where did that come from?) "Never mind, let's get you in the truck; I can see your muscle. Now!"
Going from a Black Russian a few hours earlier to morphine ... bad trip. A slow night in the E.R., it seemed that every med-type on duty paraded through to peek and offer an opinion. 4 days later, I was finally paroled from West Valley Hospital (only after my threatening to "go Postal") ... contingent on my agreeing to another 2 weeks home-health care. You see, throughout the whole ordeal I never experienced any real discomfort; and no, I refused their goofy Viocodin after just one day. (Baaaad stuff.) Gimme my caffeine, my nicotine, I'll be Just Fine, thank-you-very-much. Oh. And may I please just go back to work?
In the ensuing weeks, B rarely left my side. And, God-bless those folks, orderlies and MD's alike, who asked in all sincerity, "Is your dog doing OK?" (The only time I wept, it was fear of him being taken away.)
Sacrifices? So, I won't be wearing shorts in public -- that's actually a relief since I've been self-conscious about my varicose veins for years. Too, I won't lose sleep over my decision to divorce a couple so-called friends who kept making unsolicited comments about "Cujo" and questioning our decision not to put him down. In fact, one person opined that B bit me because he's "jealous of you taking away his father"! Hey, you're welcome to your opinion, but please, just go away.
So, this Thursday I'll be sure and include thanks for B's long life and the fact I still have two legs that might not be so pretty, but they get me where I'm going! Meanwhile, I've got a date with a big black dog at PetsMart.