Friday, July 10, 2015

A Labor of Love

Right now B is working frantically in the dark, clocked into his second job, like he has been every night this week. We've both been working late every night, sometimes until I have to sit down and ice my knee, and it feels a lot like when we first moved into the house.

This flurry of activity is a labor of love. My sweet 15.5 year old Sugarbear is injured. While we were taking our daily walk last Thursday she was running over to say hello to her boyfriend when she yelped, fell over and couldn't stand back up. We didn't know what happened but it was obvious that she was in a lot of pain. I sat in the grass to comfort her while B ran for the car.

We were in a state.  We were set to go to the beach to visit Ladyjeans for the 4th of July the next day but it was clear that this injury was bad. We were up a lot that night worrying about what to do. The next morning it was clear that Bear needed to go to the v-e-t so we called and they told us that if we could drop her off  and they would squeeze her in. As luck would have it, they didn't have a free kennel, and my friend Brooke managed to find us a room so that Dr. Friend could see her right away.

I feared the worst. I was sick with it. When your dog is very old people feel compelled to share stories with you of when they had to make hard choices for their own pets. I've been told by a view different people that when they can longer stand on their own, the choice is clear. I understand this need to share. I understand the hurt and how it lingers. You don't want to talk about it but you can't not talk about it. 

So when we got to the vet I was a raw nerve. Stoic on the outside but all broken glass on the inside.

Dr. Friend, his real name and a true description, told us that she had torn her ACL. On a dog under 5 they would do surgery but that was out of the question here. She'd heal but she'd always limp. He gave her pain meds and we scheduled a recheck.

When we got into the car I said to B, "This is horrible."

And he said, "I'm so relieved."

I heard the worst, "She will always limp." and B heard, "She will heal."

We continued with our travel plans which...seems like a weird choice...but I think worked out great. Ladyjeans has cushy, even cut grass at her condo and a floor clear of debris, obstacles and distractions. The Bear got some much needed quiet and R and R.  B was my hero and carried her up and down two flights of stairs, even at 4 am. 

Sugar hates being carried. She once pooped on me when I tried to put her in the bathtub. It's hard to say which of us was madder.

When we got home we agreed on a course of action:

1. Our gorgeous, brand new, hard earned wood floor? Yeah. It's a skating rink. We need to cover it in wall to wall carpet.

2. We need to build a ramp.

So that's what we've been working on amid the chaos of new siding and HVAC. Priming, hauling, cutting, stacking and 4 trips to Lowes. (One of which was almost two hours long!) 

Every second is so totally worth it. 

Besides my parents there is no one who has lived with me longer than this dog. Not even my brother. As my friend B-Rice likes to say, "Who saved who?" 

I think about how powerful and fast she was as a young she could climb like a mountain goat, whip around the yard like a comet and do cartwheels for me when I came home. It makes me sad to see her so diminished. But she's a survivor.  She scavenged in the woods of Water Valley, beat the odds at the Lafayette County Animal Shelter, had tumors removed and a dicey tooth surgery at NC State and I know that when the time comes it will be on her terms. I pray every night for God to help me make good choices and one of those choices is to know when it's time. 

But in the meantime? We make her comfortable. We keep her belly full of treats. We work.

It's a labor of love.

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