Monday, September 13, 2010

Priorities

She's just a dog. A stupid dog.

When she was young, around one or two, she liked to bolt out the front door and we'd have to chase her down until we finally gave up. I'd tell her if she didn't like living with us she didn't have to come back. But she always did.

After she got older, sometimes she'd run off into the woods behind my house and be gone for hours, coming back covered in mud and cockleburs. I'd curse and yell, and wash the chunks of mud down the drain, cut out the thorn branches stuck in her hair. I told her if she wasn't careful some wild animal would eat her. I fenced in my yard.

She stands at the back door wanting in and out, in and out, worse than a kid and annoying the hell out of me. Or she barks at nothing at all, even in the middle of the night, until I tell her to be quiet. Once, she knew there was mouse under our house and shredded the carpet and the baseboard trying to get to it.

Five years ago she was attacked by a German shepherd. She was in bad shape. She almost didn't make it. But I insisted we fix her, spending more money than we had, more money than a person should on a dog.

But she's my dog. That's what I told Darrell that Sunday morning in the Emergency Clinic. She's my dog. We have to fix her.

This weekend, while I was gone, something happened. She started walking into things. Sunday night she fell down the stairs. Twice. She continued falling down, her legs on her right side giving out. I thought it was her back, which was injured when she was attacked. Why didn't I know better? Yet, I did.

The vet sent me home this afternoon with a pharmacopoeia of medicines. Predisone, muscle relaxers, pain pills. The vet said it could be a pinched nerve until I mentioned she went to the neighbors house, thinking it was ours. Then she leaned heavily to a neurological cause.

Brain tumor.

I left, shockingly numb. It wasn't definite. It could still be a nerve, but it a nerve didn't fit. I spent the afternoon in denial.

I've watched her get worse and worse all afternoon and evening. She can hardly walk. When she tries to stand, she falls until she finally gets her sea legs and stumbles around. I just took her outside and watched the wind knock her over and over, until I was sure she was done and carried her in. I set her in front of her food and water and waited, the shield I erected around my heart crumbling every time she slipped and fell on her side, smacking her face on the hardwood floor.

All too familiar feelings wash through me. Foreboding hovers over my head. A cloak of grief I know to well.

I have lived this before.

I asked myself, when I allowed myself to release the tears-- how many times will I lose the ones I love? Will I always feel so helpless?

She's lying at my feet now, waiting for me to finish this post. She's always near, waiting. I call her my shadow, but I can feel the darkness slipping in, the fingers of death creeping close to do what it does best. Steal.

She's a dog. A stupid dog. But she's mine and I love her.

19 comments:

Shelley said...

Oh Denise, I'm sorry your beloved pet is so sick. I pray that this will be something simple to fix. I'm sorry that you are hurting again.

Trisha Leigh said...

I am dying. Crying with you. It doesn't take much to make me feel this pain like its mine. We've become too good of friends, and I love FiFi too. Her big girl attitude, her bared teeth, her standing on her hind legs to snuggle in a chair.

You shouldn't have to go through this. She shouldn't have to go through this. Your kids shouldn't have to lose one more thing they love; not now, not forever.

This is the way of things. It still sucks. I'm still bawling. I'm thinking of you all, little FiFi included.

Kathy said...

So sad...Beautiful post. So sorry, Denise. They're part of the family. Some people don't get that but dog people do. Let me know if you need anything, even if it's just some girl time. Loves ya.

C.A. Marshall said...

OMG Denise! I'm in tears over here and had to go run and cuddle with my own pup.

I hope that whatever happens, whatever decisions you have to make or procedures you have to go through, that you have a bit of peace to take with you, weather it's hope or memories.

Mollie pup and I send our love to you and Fifi.

Christina said...

Damn it Denise! Why did you have to go and make me cry?!? My heart goes out to you and your family, and of course that lovable, silly dog.

C.L. Moyer said...

I am so sorry that FiFi is going through this! I need longer arms so I can hug you from Oregon!
:-(
I am hoping for a pinched nerve, something else to explain her behavior. I love you, sister!
Cynthia

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

So sorry that you are having to say goodbye to her. She has been there with you and she will always be there with you. The hardest part is letting go when it's time. They love us without fail and unconditionally. So, so tough. Hang in there. I hope she miraculously recovers.

Kat said...

Hugs to you and the family.

Hoping for a miracle.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Oh man..... I'm so sorry. Our furry kids can be aggravating, but also so dang loyal....

Beth said...

so so sad! Been in your spot..hated it..it still brings tears...hang in there!

Darcie said...

Oh Denise...I am so sorry!

Eisley Jacobs said...

As a friend of Fifi... my heart is breaking. The tears are running down my face and I am praying for all of you. *hugs* If I could I would jump on a plane and be there for all of you.

Lu said...

*sniff* I can't stop crying after reading this... I feel awful for you to have to go through this. I get hysterical over animals in the road but Fifi is a dog I know and I feel like it's an aunt or uncle that's sick, not a dog, and it's so so so so sad. =( *hugs*

Brandy said...

Add me to the list of criers in the crowd. Oh Denise! I'm so sorry about her. Pets are more than pets...they are family. {{hugs}}

Heather said...

I am so sorry. I lost my one and only dog two years ago this Christmas. After 17 years we watched her fade away all Christmas day and spent a wonderful last Christmas with her as a family. I am NOT a dog lover and never wanted that darn dog but grew to love her in all her stupidity. My Husband brought her home temporarily because someone was going to dump her in the Cali desert to die. He told me he would find her a new home but 17 yrs later she was still here. My first and eldest child was 18 months when he brought her home and they grew up together. God that dog used to annoy me so much with her hair and slobber, constant nails clicking on the wood floor and jumping on people. Its funny because I never knew how much I really loved her until she was gone. No dog could ever compare so I will NEVER own another one.

Heather said...

I am so sorry. I lost my one and only dog two years ago this Christmas. After 17 years we watched her fade away all Christmas day and spent a wonderful last Christmas with her as a family. I am NOT a dog lover and never wanted that darn dog but grew to love her in all her stupidity. My Husband brought her home temporarily because someone was going to dump her in the Cali desert to die. He told me he would find her a new home but 17 yrs later she was still here. My first and eldest child was 18 months when he brought her home and they grew up together. God that dog used to annoy me so much with her hair and slobber, constant nails clicking on the wood floor and jumping on people. Its funny because I never knew how much I really loved her until she was gone. No dog could ever compare so I will NEVER own another one.

The Gotch 5 said...

So sorry. I too am not a dog lover unless it is MY dog then everything changes.

Sarah said...

I'm sorry. :/ Remember you aren't alone. My dog passed a little more than 2 months ago. She liked to run away and cause trouble too. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery for Fifi.

wingepr said...

Its never just a dog. Those with beloved pets know exactly how you feel. I'm so so very sorry. I hope that she improves. The last 3 years of our Peanuts life he was on 2 - 3 medications a day with special food. All money we didnt have, but like you said, he was ours, we had to try. I hope it gets better.
Peggy