Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The weekend leading up to that moment was full of disheartening signs. The labored breathing increased, more reluctance to eat food and overall an obvious dissatisfaction with being weak.
That Saturday, our family came home to Pal embarrassed from getting sick. Helping him up too more effort than ever before. Here was a dog, so full of pride that even though every step was a challenge he wanted to go to the bathroom outside. His front legs flew forward unevenly, I knew what I was seeing, every sign pointed to a neurological issue was taking place, seizure, maybe, could have also been a stroke. I watched in horror as my dog, my friend went through a exorcism like scene. Eli held Pal and prevented him from injuring himself. Watching the episode run it's course prompted me to leave a very panicked voicemail for our veterinarian.
The conversation of, "when do we make the call?" was on the table.
Now what? Can I really make this decision? Really, now ... we have to have this conversation now?
My logical side said, "yes, of course. This is your responsibility. It will be sad, however he has lived a long good life. Everything will be okay."
Then the emotional side kicked in and kept me busy testing out ideas to move the end further out. "What if we try this? Oh! He ate something. A sign for better days ahead!" I made pancakes, meatballs, and syringed chicken broth into the old dogs mouth. I even attempted to force feed him that aggravated him enough to growl at me for the second time in his life. Okay, I get it. You don't want any of this ... you are tired.
I am still heartbroken.
Making the decision wasn't something I personally had ever done before. Here was an old exhausted dog that was still refusing to go the bathroom anywhere but outside, and still could summon up energy to greet guests coming in the door. Both a trip outside to go to the bathroom and greeting put him into a deeply tired state that triggered coughing fits, gagging and overall frustration. I saw the two sides of him, the dog that was the master of making friends with every person he met and the dog that was tired of gasping for air, and pain. Sunday night Eli and stayed on the couch in the living room listening to his labored breathing, his coughing and eventually a short streak of sleeping. I woke up several times to cover him with a blanket, offer him water and once again, wish my tiny efforts would lead towards better days.
Dr. Heather, veterinarian had called us back moments after I left my panicked voicemail. She was optimistic then, that was until she came on Monday to visit us. Pal has refused to eat all day. I had been giving him chicken broth and Smart water. The breathing is what struck her, labored and forcing Pal to tilt his head in awkward ways to pull in enough air. Then the process repeated all over again, over and over, the effort per breath was furthering his weakness. Everything was a blur, I was in shock. I remember being unable to move from his side. Forever will I be thankful that Eli spoke up. "I want Clara to be here", he said. Anxiety of what was to happen diluted as I knew it would be hours before we could pick up Clara and bring her home. I got a little more time, we all got a little more time with our sweet Pal.
Okay, emotional side, you can be selfish and tend to this dog for a few more hours. Then, it's time, "okay, okay I understand", my heart agreed.
I was in the middle of exercising a freedom, the freedom to give final relief from all suffering. I witnessed a peaceful end to a beautiful and love filled chapter of our lives.
Surrounded by people and animals that adored Pal, he was relieved of his suffering at home free from stress and filled with love.
Thank you for the twelve years, memories, love and friendship dear sweet Pally Wally. We will always love you.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Every day is a new beginning, a new start. Unfortunately, I have a habit I need to taper and let go; each new day I drag along pieces from my past, expectations for the future and an attitude of "someday I will be truly present".
Thursday, October 9, 2014
|Tweedle, my lost but now found hen. |
This was her secret hiding place for over a month
|The one and only Autumn baby that hatched.|
It's mother, Tweedle is one of my oldest and most determined of hens had disappeared. After an hour long search the night she went missing, and a few laps of investigation around the property in the following days I thought she was gone for good.
If a chicken doesn't show up for the evening ritual of check-in, find your spot and settle in for the night they are not coming back. Raccoon, weasels, the neighbor's cat and even just plain old little no-mercy nature can show up at anytime and demand a chicken tax. Getting attached or choosing a favorite chicken is accepting they may not be in the coop the next time I go in there. A missing bird is a little easier to process than finding them lifeless on the floor.
Gardening in the late evening I heard a chirp, a peep, convinced I wasn't going crazy I went looking for the peeping chicken. After over thirty days of not seeing Tweedle there she was. I scooped her up to hug and give her love. She did not return the gesture, she furiously attacked, bit and tried to get away from me. I didn't mind, I was so delighted to see her I ignored the attacks until I was done hugging.
She had gone broody, her hormones had kicked in and she was determined to hatch eggs. There under her was a tiny baby chick, no bigger than a small plum hatching before my eyes. It's long wet wing sticking out of a now broken shell. How adorable! Where's my camera. I found my lost chicken and *POOF* a new baby has arrived. Then the gloomy thought began to sink in, I knew the baby's chances were slim. Yet, why not let life have a shot and let Tweedle carry on doing what her raging hormones were telling her to do, even if they were risky?
As a child seeing a dead animal was a crapshoot between horribly traumatic or intensively interesting and curious. The spectrum of my reactions has softened over the years. I now understand that life has no guarantees. As my husband would say, "good thing chickens don't understand statistics" as their life contract seems to be poorly written. Unless I heavily intervene a clutch, a group of chicks chance of making it adulthood seems to be about 60%. Six out of every ten chickens get to see if they crow or make eggs.
|An example of a |
Sad? Sure, that is one feeling that bubbles up when I see a sulking bird. There have been cases I have been successful in doctoring a chick and getting it to scramble into adulthood. Extending life means a little bit more life, but once again no guarantees. I have buried plenty of doctored birds before their second birthday. Tough gig.
The little Autumn chick showed me it's Charlie Brown pose yesterday. In general the little bird seemed willing to go along with it's mother's insisted prodding, it would eat food when the hen pointed it out, and drank alongside the hen and then follow her a bit more. However, it seemed to know it's body for whatever reason wasn't progressing, it was slowing down, shutting down.
Today, I found a tiny lifeless chick in the chicken coop. The tiny body only knowing the earth for a little over a month now on a bed of hay, eyes closed, body out stretched in a peaceful rest. Tweedle still fighting off other chickens from getting too close, just as she had done for weeks. She too was tired, but not willing to give up. I scooped up the chick to find a proper place to bury the baby. Tweedle wouldn't allow me to comfort her, when the chick's body was removed she instantly left and went back to normal chicken routines of looking for food, dusting herself and such.
I couldn't comfort her even though I would have liked to. She went about her business and seemed to tell me. as she did when I found her after a month of her being missing, to go about mine. Okay, universe, give me a hint to this lesson. I don't completely understand.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Throughout growing up dogs have created a special role for themselves in my life. They squeeze into the role of being the 6:30AM alarm clock. They nudge and prod into the role of reminding me to be responsible, take them out, feed them and of course daily full body massages.
There are two four legged carpet sharks roaming my home. Both dogs are seriously lacking in a lot departments:
- The ability to open and close doors
- Feed themselves
- Control their overpowering desire to eat the other dog’s food
- Sleep in past 6:30AM
I am not ready to accept the idea that his or anyone else’s days are truly numbered. A morbid fact I am not willing to dedicate brain space to today, maybe tomorrow, but not today.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Notice the energy? Feels different. Even as I increase the space between me and the news and the negative the eerie unsettling feeling washes over me.
I know we are swallowing more fear knowing it will sicken us.
I know we as a culture are letting our commitments be pushed aside by our complaints.
I feel like everyone around me is treading water in their lives in hopes of maintaining just enough air for another day. The mention of years in the distance instantly provokes tears. They all seem exhausted. I too am tired.
Just because this isn't a lucky year doesn't mean I haven't been blessed. Just because I am tired does't mean I am close to giving up.
I can either choose distance or connection. I can choose to break down the walls or build them up. I can choose to break through or be broken.
Submitting to becoming broken is a thought that enters my mind then I beat it out like a pest with a broom. Shoo! Be gone from my mind, don't tread on my heart, there is no space disease that weakens my mind, attempts to dilute my vision and lessen the value of my divine commitments.
I choose to break through.
Monday, June 30, 2014
I have learned to seek understanding.
Instead of expecting the best,
I have learned to expect to grow.
Instead of inviting resentment,
I learned to nurture and speak my own needs.
Instead of accepting assumptions as truth,
I have learned to ask questions and receive reassurance and clarity.
Instead of accepting unfounded fears,
I have learned to be vulnerable and find freedom.
Instead of turning away,
I learned the power of turning towards.
Instead of looking for evidence we were growing apart,
I have learned that looking for ways to grow together creates passion.
Instead of counting the years,
I learned to appreciate and treasure every moment.
Today, I am thankful for the last seven years in marriage. Thankful for continued commitment, investment and confidence in our friendship. Thankful for my best friend and the love of my life, my husband Eli.
Friday, June 27, 2014
We grow up being praised for being right. The praise, the rewards and the glory of being right is often misdirected. There are those exceptional leaders that mention and attempt to facilitate the concept of being right but not at the expense of others. Did I hear that part correctly? Being right but not at the expense of others. That piece doesn't sink in unless I am actively paying attention, actively choosing to create a safe space and continually being committed to being present.
Being right is often wrong. When I feel myself distancing myself from those who care for me and snuggling up to being righteous - I am wrong. Pulling out emotions and using them as ammunition to be right is a bit like picking up sand and stones from the ground in a nasty defensive and immature fit.
Emotions are not facts. Every emotion I have ever had was twisted, pulled and pushed from various sources. The weather, my blood sugar, the comment I took personally that had nothing to do with me and all of the other things. The clutter in my mind makes my emotions unreliable as sources.
Giving into being right and allowing being righteous to be who I am is investing in a pursuit that only leads to distance from those who care for me. There is no space for them, at least not a safe one.
While I am not responsible for the feelings of others I am committed to my relationship with them. The unspoken covenant I should learn to share is that I commit to crafting a safe space, one where I will support them, listen with empathy and speak my needs without hesitation. It's a work in progress.
Cheers to a life that chooses connection over distance. Cheers to a life that chooses nurturing and love. Cheers to a life that doesn't seek out happiness but instead finds joy in growth together.