Wednesday, March 9, 2011


To make Routine a Stimulus
Remember it can cease--
Capacity to Terminate
Is a Specific Grace--

Emily Dickinson

Two weeks ago, I was reminded that I am lacking in the Specific Grace of a Capacity to Terminate.

Bingley pulled up on his right rear leg and yelped. First I froze and then I cried. Clearly, he was in pain.

I gave him some pain medication left over from Magic's eye surgery and cried some more.

I had been down this road before. Zephyr had started to favor her right rear leg, then limp. I spent several days telling myself that it was a muscle pull--a strain of some sort. But it wasn't a muscle pull or a strain. It was osteosarcoma. She had only six weeks to live.

My Bingley. My sweet tempered Bingley. The sweetest tempered dog I'd ever known. How often had I held his face in my hands and told him he was to live to be a very old dog? As if that could affect anything. As if that could change some aberrant cell deep within a bone.

I started to calculate when I should have the x-rays done that would confirm or deny my fears. John was ten time zones away but would be returning in a few days. I decided to wait until he was home.

Bingley was listless. He moved slowly. He didn't run his daily racing circuit around the living room. He ignored Harvey the Rabbit and Clyde the Bear. His skin felt loose.

I cried some more as I watched the little plane on my computer screen move along the arc from Ataturk Airport, Istanbul to O'Hare Airport, Chicago.

I swear that when "Landed" appeared under "Flight Status", Bingley perked up just a little bit.

Bingley did not limp again. By the time John came home, Bingley was moving more naturally. John and I decided that it would be safe to wait a week and watch Bingley before subjecting him to the general anesthesia that diagnostic x-rays require.

Gradually, Bingley returned to his normal routine. A lap or two around the living room, a shake or toss of Harvey or Clyde, a quick run in the back yard to chase our resident rabbit.

It was, indeed, just a strain or a muscle pull. Bingley is fine and healthy.

But Bingley is a seven year old dog. Even if he lives to be an Old Man, I won't have him for as long as I would like. But now, more than ever, I feel as if every day with him is a gift. It always has been.

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