I took my dog out in the snowstorm we had today. Under any other circumstances that would be no big deal. But, Rocky has cancer, and degenerative neuropathy. The prognosis is not good. He probably has six more months to live. I wanted him to enjoy one more run. One more roll. One more lick of the crisp white snow. As we were trudging up the hill we saw a hawk swoop down and pluck a bright red cardinal from the ground and fly off. The ebb and flow of nature? Or harbinger of things to come?
Rocky has shown remarkable courage throughout his ordeal. Two surgeries, weekly blood tests, chemotherapy, and routine visits. His motto must be, “Never complain, never explain,” because he has never so much as whimpered during this misery. When I come home from work he still greets me at the door flashing a grin and wagging his tail. Even when he is logy from the chemo he still nuzzles me for a pat on the head or a good knuckle in the ear.
I realize I will still be paying the enormous debt I incurred long after he passes. In the past eighteen months he has seen a surgeon, an oncologist, a neurologist, two general practitioners as well as assorted vet techs. I spent the better part of a semester of college on his treatments and medicine. But I cheerily do it because nothing can come close to the bond I have with this dog. He is my touchstone to lower blood pressure; my living, breathing, eating, pooping, teddy bear, as well the consummate nap buddy.
Animals have the luxury of not dwelling on their mortality. Unfortunately we as humans do. I try to be positive and hope for the best. I call the vet if he so much as doesn’t eat a favorite treat. I realize that sooner or later he is going to give out. I dread the day that it happens, but the greatest gift of love that I can give him is to let him go.