Tomorrow is a big day - we go see Dr. Brady our awesome vet to find out if Mack's cancer has returned. Mack is our 7 year old rescue , a wild, crazy, funny, sweet boxer-boy, my fierce protector and willing co-conspirator for the last 6 years. Mack had a spinal stroke in May 2009 and learned to walk again after many, many weeks of therapy. He walks a bit like Chester from gunsmoke, but he can still run like a deer - one of the wonders of neuro damage. In April 2010, a bump we'd been watching for 2 years almost doubled in size overnight - the vet confirmed my worst fears. Mid-surgery, they found that the tumor had crept several inches in all directions. It was a gory and painful recovery, and Mack never really got his wild-boy mojo back, but he still knows how to have fun and we had a great 1 1/2 years ... until I found another growth just recently.
Our appointment is in the dreaded end-of-workday time that's reserved for euthanasias. It wasn't easy, but we've agreed (hubby & I) that we won't ask Mack to suffer another invasive surgery so we can try once again to postpone the inevitable for a few weeks or months. I have had pets literally my entire life, so it's remarkable that I've never been in this position before. It's got me thinking alot about dogs and people and the value of the relationships I share with both species.
For me, relationships with people are complicated. I've always been pretty independent and self-contained - I don't mind being alone, in fact I crave it at times. I'm not easy with new people, and it takes a while for me to be comfortable after meeting someone. I tend to cultivate a few very good friends, and many of what I call friendly acquaintances, but certainly haven't christened as trusted friends. In fact, I've been surprised a few times along the way when a person I don't feel I could call a good friend says that I'm her best friend, or confides something extremely personal, or asks me for a favor (or a loan) that I would never impose on someone other than my very best friend. I often feel a bit like I was raised by wolves or came from another planet when I'm in social settings with people (mostly women) who all act like the best of friends but compete and cut each other in sweet voices with smiles on their faces. I defy any woman to say she hasn't had such an experience, and I've never figured it out.
I said all that to say all this: the more I know about people, the more I like dogs.
Dogs don't care how much money you have, what kind of car you drive (windows are good!), or how much that tennis ball you threw cost.
Once a dog trusts you, he will share his bed, his food, his favorite toy - it pleases him to make
you happy because you are his friend.
Dogs don't withhold love when they are mad. They will bite you if you deserve it, and then they want to make up.
Dogs don't lie. They don't cheat. And they don't steal unless it's something really good and you should have shared anyway.
Dogs live in the moment - they don't worry about tomorrow, they don't hold grudges because of the past, they just want to enjoy this moment, and they want you to enjoy it with them.
I have been fortunate enough to keep company with dogs all my life. I can't honestly say that about all my people. I guess that's why they call dogs "man's best friend".
I read somewhere that of all the domesticated animals, dogs are the only species that chose to live with men. I am so very grateful that they did. And I'm so very grateful that fate brought us to Mack - he is my soul-dog.
If you can spare a minute, say a little prayer for Mack. And go hug your dog.