Homer

My friend, Mark Cassity, is a good man who should share his writing more. He wrote this for the Triad Health Project (THP link) newsletter. He is the Director of Higher Ground, a day center for people who are HIV positive.And, yes, he said I could put this on my blog.

Years ago, we were minding my neighbor’s dog, Homer, when he had what amounted to a stroke during the night. Homer was about 140 years old so no big surprises, and I carried him out to the yard so he could use the facilities before I took him to the vet. He made no complaint. He didn’t show signs of pain or even surprise; he simply stumbled about in ever-tightening circles, diving his head under one leg and then falling over before I would right him and he could try it again. Homer did not cry out that anything had gone terribly wrong with the world but rather simply carried on with what the world gave him that day. His eyes suggested, I suppose this is what today is like. At least every time I fall over I get to see the sky. And the grass smells so sweet. It was one of the noblest things I’ve ever seen.

Homer held up to me the times I’ve caught the flu or my car wouldn’t start or I got a crick in my neck or bleach spilled onto my favorite sweater and I’ve wanted the world to stop. I somehow think this just isn’t right, it’s not correct, something must be done to set the universe back in proper order because this-won’t-do! With Homer’s help, I hear God reminding me that nothing’s gone wrong in the least. Tuck and roll. Why not smell the good grass I made for you? What if you needed help to use the facilities one day? Growing old, getting sick, these are merely parts of life, too; and when you finally fall down, perhaps you will notice the sky like you used to. Perhaps someone will come by and pick you up and carry you home.

Published in: on March 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)  
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We Loved Lucy

The retired man I live with and I fell in love with her.  We loved her enough to let her go.

Lucy had a respiratory infection at the shelter, which they had treated with an antibiotic.  She coughed some the first night, Wednesday,  so we took her to our vet the next morning.  Dr. Syska said it was pneumonia and prescribed a much stronger antibiotic.  Lucy was pretty droopy all day Thursday but would go outside and pee when we took her.  She was no better on Friday and spent most of the day with her head on my lap. She didn’t want to eat or drink any water.

Saturday morning she was worse and struggling to breathe.  We took her back to our vet, who was visibly concerned.  We decided to take her to the emergency specialty animal hospital to talk about admitting her for IV antibiotics and fluids.  We saw her lung x-ray compared to a normal one.  Both lungs were almost full of fluid.

We talked with the vet about possible outcomes, looked at each other, and I said “I think it’s time.”  Deciding to treat her in the hospital felt like agreeing to torture her, with no assurance that she would ever really be well.  The vet told us we were doing an unselfish thing.  Doing the right thing sometimes feels awful.

Lucy was lying on a fluffy, soft, blue rug on the exam table.  I wrapped my arms around her as the vet started the injection.  Her body relaxed, finally, and she was gone.  No more gasping for breath.  She was at rest.

We loved her, even if it was only 3 1/2 days.  We believe she is in heaven, happy, healthy, running and playing.  And waiting for us to come play.

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 9:15 am  Comments (15)  
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I Love Lucy!

God spelled backwards.  My daughters say (and believe) that “dog” is God spelled backwards.  I sure hope God isn’t as timid and exhausted as the the dog asleep on the couch in my den.  She’s lying on the grey wool  sweater that I wore when we brought her home from the animal shelter.

We put our 13-year-old dog to sleep a few months ago.  She had a sweet disposition and smelled like chocolate. Sydney was a golden retriever mix who shed a lot.  We still miss her.

Our daughter coaxed us into “just looking” at dogs at the pound.  She quickly found the website on the iPad. I had criteria–small enough to snuggle with, okay with little kids, not hyper (we are in our 60’s), NOT a puppy, and, of course, a connection that left no doubt she was my dog.  Based on online pictures and descriptions we decided to check out Munchkin, Smurf, Jake, and Brownie.

We–my daughter, her almost-3-year-old daughter and her 10-m0nth-old son, one front-facing car seat and one rear-facing car seat, the retired man I live with, and I–piled into the white Camry and left on our quest.  We included my daughter in Raleigh using our phones to talk and text and making many promises to send pictures of the dogs.  We were all excited.

The Guilford County Animal Shelter vibrated to the rhythm of barking dogs.  The kids were unfazed.  The place smelled good and was spotless–hurray for the staff and volunteers!  We walked up and down the rows of cages looking for Munchkin.  We found her in the second room, put her on a leash and paraded out to the fenced-in play yard.

Adaline tempted her with a tennis ball, but Munchkin ignored her, even when the ball hit her in the face.  Point 1 in her favor–she tolerated a rambunctious kid.  The dog explored the big pen we were in, came over to where I was sitting, plastered her body to my leg, and laid her head on my thigh to be petted.  Point 2–we connected.  She didn’t care about anyone else.

My daughter went back in to get the 3-legged dog we saw in the cage next to Munchkin.  I took her into the next play yard to check her out.  I’m a little disabled, she is disabled.  We had to try.  And we could really feel like heroes if we adopted her.  But…no connection.  She didn’t care that I was there.  Plus she drooled a bit.  Feeling like an executioner, I shook my head from side to side.  I don’t remember her name.

Munchkin, by this time, was on my daughter’s lap in the other yard.  I felt a pang of jealousy.  “Mom, do want to just get this one and not try any more?’  I nodded my head yes.  We never got to Smurf or Jake or Brownie.

We completed the paperwork and paid the fee and left her to be spayed.  The retired man I live with and I went back the next day.  The staff person brought her out from the back and stopped in front of us.  Munchkin pooped on the floor.  I wanted to cheer for her feisty little self!  Or at least laugh.  She clearly was ready to leave the shelter.

She and I rode home in the backseat.  She rested her head on my leg.  When we went in the house, she jumped up on the couch, I sat down beside her, and she curled her body around my side like a nursing baby does.

Oh–we changed her name to Lucy.  And she still likes me best.

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm  Comments (10)  
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Dog Food Diet

We drove to Costco to buy a big bag of Alpo for our dog.  While he paid and I waited behind the cart, a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

Why else would I be buying dog food??

On impulse, I told her that, no, I didn’t have a dog.

I told her I was starting the Alpo Diet again and that it was essentially a perfect diet. All you have to do is load your pockets with Alpo Nuggets and eat one or two every time you feel hungry.

The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again.

Even though I probably shouldn’t because I ended up in the hospital last time.  I lost almost 50 pounds before I woke up in intensive care with tubes coming out of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff a cute poodle’s butt and a car hit me!

Better watch what you ask me and be prepared for my answer.  I have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.  My hair is all shades of gray and I’m almost 60.  I figure I can get away with most anything.  Fooled you, didn’t I?

I bet you needed a giggle about now.  Share and make someone else smile today.

I stole this idea from my friend Lisa.  Check out her blog (click here) and her website (click here).  She makes beautiful cards and posters.

Published in: on December 9, 2011 at 11:13 am  Comments (7)  
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