Monday, December 1, 2008

"Livin' on Borrowed Time" - John Lennon

As I feared, last night was not without drama. Otis woke us up in great distress and I found myself at the Dove Lewis Pet Hospital at 3:45 in the morning. They stabilized poor Otis before an ultrasound revealed the cancer has spread to Otis' spleen and beyond. Surgery would not even be an option. My next step, if we make it through this night, is to take Otis to see Dr. Judkins and determine if steroids might buy our boy some comfort and time. Presently, Otis is resting peacefully at the foot of Sam's bed, where he has rested countless nights before. Only this night it's different. Sam and I tearfully said our goodbyes to Otis, just in case he needs to move on. Sam, bless his heart, told Otis all on his own that it is ok for him to let go. I can guarantee that it was the single most difficult thing he has ever done. But it didn't stop us from saying a night time prayer where we asked for at least one more day. Is there anything more gut-wrenching than losing a longtime pet? Where does this emotion come from? As I said in the previous post, I thought I'd been preparing myself for this. Trust me, you can't prepare. Throw in a distraught ten-year-old son who speaks to his dog some of the most honest and poignant words you'll ever hear and you see the injustice of the brief lifespan placed on such a wonderful creature. 

Anyway... is one of my favorite poems:

by Billy Collins

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to his doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance--
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off he goes into the material world
with nothing but his brown coat
and his modest black collar,
following his wet nose,
the twin portals of his steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of his tail.

If only he did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all her food
what a model of self-containment he
would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only he were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in his welcomes,
if only I were not his god.

1 comment:

Debbie B said...

Cool poem. 2 points struck me and ring true and resonate. 1. You can never be prepared, and 2. "If only I were not his god"

My dog Henri has suffered a slow decline of renal function, a disease that contributed to my uncle's demise about 10 years ago. I think he'll make it to Christmas and probably see the New Year, but maybe not Valentine's Day, and certainly not spring.

It's a weird sort of limbo to be in for the time in between. But we'll certainly take it.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and yours and Sam's extraordinary vision/experience.