Saturday, August 29, 2015

Counting my blessings

In the last few weeks, several friends have had to say goodbye to their beloved dogs.
These were not "just dogs", these were best friends, constant companions, hearts.
I never met any of these dogs or the friends, however I knew the dogs and I knew how their human loved them. And I know how big the hole in their heart is.

Twice this summer I thought I'd lose Bugsy. It wasn't my imagination, it was the projected diagnosis from highly accomplished specialist veterinarians. In each case, we had to wait nearly 2 weeks to get answers. I prepared my heart for the worst and began to think about how I'd know it was 'time' and what life without him would look like.
So although I haven't had to live that yet, I know how large the whole in my life will be.

Fast forward to today, as I sit on the porch of a cabin, high in the mountains of North Carolina, enjoying his very Bugsy antics; such as knowing he isn't supposed to go to the edge of the slope but doing it again and again after he makes sure to catch my eye and with his tail wagging that "I am the devil" wag or jumping on and off the porch instead of using the steps.
Taking him for off-leash walks down the steep gravel road and observing his investigations (including finding and eradicating the threat of a black snake skin).
Admiring his adaptability to new environments, swiftly seeing each new place as his homestead. Yesterday morning we saw his body stiffen, nose to the air, and he took off. Two loose collarless dogs were running up the gravel drive, about 100 ft from the cabin however he had smelled them, sensed them prior to them becoming visible. He stopped in his tracks on my whistle.

We'll celebrate his 10th birthday in a few days: he is a bit slower but remains frenetic. He sleeps more and more deeply. His muzzle has just the slightest hints of gray, of course the skin "issue" has patches of affectation in various locations. Still powerful, despite the muscle loss, when he stands at attention, nose to the air, he has an elegance or majesty about him. The size, power and confidence combine to make it easy to believe in him.

I am rambling now. I blame the beautiful vista in front of me.

I realize I am exceptionally fortunate to still have Bugsy and still have him so him.
I mourn with my friends for their losses.
And I am sad for those that have never loved a dog the way my friends loved theirs and how I love Bugsy.  I have said this before, I think his soul is one of the greatest I've had in my life. When he's gone, all the lessons I have learned from him will remain, my soul is forever improved for having him in my life.

Knowing that the time ahead of us is shorter than the time we've had, I see each day as a blessing

Sunday, August 2, 2015

lessons in perspective

it's been a difficult summer for Bugsy although he'd say it's been great
It feels like every week has had a vet visit for one thing or another.
Last week I asked him if he wanted to come to work with me and he leapt into the car ready for what adventure met him.
Sadly it was a day at the surgeon's having 7 biopsies.
The next day when I left for work he bolted out of the door and excitedly waited by my tailgate ready to come to work.
I felt sad. Poor dog really wants to go anywhere with me even if it's the vet's.
He tried the same thing the next day.
He is not easily dissuaded.

It is this eternal hope and excitement joy that makes Bugsy, Bugsy. Sure lots of dogs are happy, he takes it up a notch though.

Today the surgical sites must have been feeling better, he was bouncy and cheeky all day long.
In the late afternoon some friends came to visit that we haven't seen in a few years. You'd have thought they were his long lost owners.
First he nearly tackled the female as she tried to get out of her car, then once she did get out he jumped in the car, dug around and came out with a half full water bottle and trotted around with his trophy.
He jumped and trotted and flung his water bottle only to pounce on it.

Literally for hours he was entertainment. With toys and cheekiness, he kept everyone laughing.

I, of course, was thinking, OMG those surgical sites are destroyed!!!

After several hours of him behaving like the nuisance he was at 2, I put him to bed.
His cone is on.
His foot unwrapped.
And finally after about 30 minutes of trying to get out of the bedroom, he sleeps.
Oh the benadryl may be a factor too.

The footpad that has been troublesome is looking worse for the wear
A front footpad was reopened.
Two other sites had been bleeding.

I imagine all of which hurt somewhat.

But if you asked the Beast, I am sure he'd tell you about the piece of blue cheese he got, how he stole someone's shoe off their foot, that he finally destroyed the bunny toy once and for all, that he got to sip beer after he bumped someone's arm so they spilled from their glass, how he helped cook burgers, got a chip someone dropped, etc.

It is impossible to not be taken in by his positive energy (and there is a lot of energy) Happily I ride along with him and understand that although sometimes I have to put a premature end to his circus tricks to benefit him, mostly I can let that joy flow.

The void he will leave behind will be gaping. In a week's time we may receive news that tells us that is sooner, rather than later.

Pray for this happiest of dogs. He has far too much life in him for his here to be over