Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Do You Spell Relief?

You spell relief N-E-G-A-T-I=V-E.

We just got the good word from Dr. Pearson that Magic's tumor was not cancerous.

Here's hoping our Little Miss lives to be an old, old lady.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today--Actually This Very Minute--Is All You Have II

It's one thing to think philosophically in the abstract. It's quite another to look at a philosophical proposition right in the face--or directly at the backside--as it happens.

Yesterday, Magic had a growth removed. It was right under her tail, just above her anus. General anesthesia is a little tricky for her because she stresses in strange places, which makes it problematic for her to spend her initial recovery at the vet's, where she can be monitored professionally.

So, as soon as she can stagger drunkenly to her feet, we bring her home and watch her as closely as possible, keeping her warm and talking to her and patting her when her breathing becomes shallow or irregular.

She's now beyond that stage and even took a shortened walk this morning. She has also discovered that she can maneuver to attend to the source of her discomfort which means she will spend many hours in a e-collar. Her stitches don't come out until October 18!

But the real concern is the pathology report. We hope to hear within the week. Last time we waited for path reports on both Magic and Bingley, it was two weeks, but finally, we got an all clear.

The concern this time is that Magic was intact for at least four years and that puts her at risk for this type of cancer. I don't know what the odds are, but I do know that for Magic it will either be 1 or 0. We're hoping for 0.

Meanwhile, Magic is concerned about staying out of the e-collar and enjoying the extra canned food yummies that mask her anti-biotic and pain pills.

Dogs know how to live.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today--Actually This Very Minute--Is All You Have

I just read a death notice. A much loved Greyhound, Simone--Simi "Crossed The Rainbow Bridge" yesterday. Her family is in mourning. I extend my sincere condolences to them. Simi lived with her "forever family" for six short years.

Simi was adopted on September 17, 2005. That date caught my attention.

Simi wasn't the only Greyhound adopted from Greyhound Adoption Center that day.

September 17, 2005 was the day John and I met and adopted the great, unforgettable Zephyr.

Zephyr died January 2, 2008.

Not even two and a half years after her adoption day.

I have no quarrel with people who buy pure bred puppies from responsible breeders. The only way that the wonderful multiplicity of dog breeds can be preserved is through the efforts of breeders who devote their lives and energies to dog breeds that capture their fancy.

But making the change from buying pure bred puppies from responsible breeders to adopting homeless dogs from rescues has affected my attitude toward life in ways I would never have anticipated.

Probably if I had been given a choice on September 17, 2005 to adopt a dog who would live two years, 4 months, or a dog who would live six years,I would have adopted the dog who would live six years.

I would have missed Zephyr.

The pain of losing her was awful. But she was worth it.

We have had Bingley for three and a half years. We have had Magic for not quite two years. If someone could promise me today that both of them would live with us for six years, I would be ecstatically happy. Today.

But as that sixth anniversary approached, I would be frantic with despair.

Yesterday, Magic wouldn't eat. She seemed listless. By evening, I could almost touch my fear.

Today she ate her breakfast promptly. Bingley ate his breakfast within reasonable time. Today is a very good day.

Perhaps Bingley and Magic will both set new longevity records for our rescued dogs. Perhaps they won't. But every day they bring their unique gifts to our lives. And that is more than enough.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

I was awakened by a nearly hysterical call from my daughter, who lives in Mountain Time, an hour ahead of California.

The Twin Towers had been attacked. The Pentagon had been attacked. More planes were in the air and who knew what they would hit.

"Turn on the television, Mother!"

I told her I would first walk the dog.

Daphne was a sight-hound/terrier mix. Our first rescue. The five months she had been with us had been a steep learning curve for John and me in the ways of a canine who had spent formative puppy months learning to survive on the mean streets of L.A.

Dog walking is an anchor to reality. The dog might sense that its human is upset, but there are still smells to be smelled, friends to greet, business to be done. The fine September weather, the well kept lawns, the still leafy trees, reassured me of the normalcy of the world. A normalcy I was loathe to give up.

When I returned home, I had a delusional moment when it seemed that if I did not turn on the television, none of the terrifying news would be true.

But I did turn on the television and it all was too true and would have been true regardless.

Like most Americans, I spent the day transfixed by horrible scenes and unspeakable reports, trying to grasp the atrocity that was taking place live, in real time.

As I sat weeping, I felt a nudge. Daphne, the street wise dog with "issues", was offering me her most treasured toy. A pink dolphin that she had pilfered while I shopped at a pet supply store.

"Here, Judith, take Dolphin, he always makes me feel better."

Within a short time, Daphne had presented me with her complete collection of treasures: stuffed toys, chews--and even her beloved tennis balls.

Not long ago some recently retired friends were touting the wonderfulness of being "free from dogs", so that they could come and go as they pleased.

I really can't relate.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bingley!

I know it's Labor Day. A National Holiday. The Official End of Summer.

But in our household, today has much greater significance than that. Today is Bingley's Birthday. Bingley's EIGHTH Birthday!

Bingley is now our oldest surviving rescue dog. He is the first of our rescues to have attained this advanced age.

He celebrated this auspicious day quite inauspiciously--at least for me.

At 4:35 a.m., Bingley awakened us this morning, whimpering and refusing to go back to bed. A quick turn in the back yard did no good. Then we realized that there was some thunder and lighting off in the distance. It's sad to see a courageous, happy-go-lucky dog turn into a shaken, frightened creature and be unable to reassure him.

There was nothing to do but get up and take Bingley and Magic for their early morning walk a little earlier than usual. Outside, facing the elements head on, Bingley calmed down and went about his business. Magic, on the other hand, who was perfectly calm in the house, took exception to the thunder.

But it was a lovely morning. The thunder and lightening stopped and a cool breeze freshened the air.

It did start to rain just as we returned home.

The weather report says that we could have two days like this.

I wish we could convince Bingley that it's all in celebration of his Big Day.