Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Journey by Crystal Ward Kent

When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey - a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever,for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.

Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures - jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears. If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower - except when heading home to the food dish - but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field. Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details - the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig.

Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own. Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life's most important details slip by.

You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie - with a cat in hot pursuit - all in the name of love. Your house will become muddier and hairier.

You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound. You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind that says, "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together." Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.

And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway. If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be - the one they were proud to call beloved friend.

I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down. And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet's time on earth is far too short - especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for awhile, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.

The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end.

We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken. But give them we must for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more. "Godspeed, good friend," we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Why do rescue work?

The Starfish... Making a Difference

An old man walked up to a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm.

A young man was picking them up and flipping them back into the ocean.

"Why do you bother" the old man scoffed."You're not saving enough to make a difference"

The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water."Made a difference to that one" he said.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

DOD - what's happening with you?

Since my return last week, DOD has slowed down. He's still eating, but not with his usual gusto and he's no longer the first one up in the morning. On Monday Susan gave him bath and a massage, which he seemed to enjoy immensely. He even got his toes done!

He doesn't seem to be ill, just lethargic...spending a lot of time sleeping....but ready to go for his car rides.

I'm a bit concerned. Something is amiss. It's almost like he's in a form of "doggy Alzheimers" with the fog that surrounds it. I'm going to call Dianne today to see if she will check him out before I leave for Canada.

I've got to go up to look at possibilities for a new home for our move in June. Part of my rationale is to find a place where we can walk together by a river. DOD loves the Concord River. On our walk Sunday he headed right for the river where we checked out all of the animal tracks on the river bed and scanned the sky for birds. Unfortunately, all of the ducks are still on vacation in warmer climes, so we didn't get to run and chase any ducks.

Ever since my experience with Molly, I tend to get a bit panicky when things aren't perfect. I'm going to call the vet as soon as they open and make an appointment. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is just something minor.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hello again, DOD

Sunday evening I returned home after 10 days away from DOD. He seemed happy to see me in his DOD way - the tail wagged at 1/4 time. I've got to wonder what he was like in his prime.

DOD seemed to weather well during our time apart. He promptly deposited himself on his bed beside mine and soon was dreaming of whatever DODs dream. The next morning I was awakened by a wet kiss on my nose (which was intended to remind me that it was time for breakfast)so I arose and we fell into our old routine again.

He seems quite content to take our daily walks and chase the ball 6 times before returning to the comfort of his bed. I'm glad to have him sleeping by my feet as I click, click away on the computer keyboard.

It's good to see you again DOD. I told you not to worry when I left because I'd come home to you again....and that's exactly what I did.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wondering about Dear Old Dog's Confusion

I'm not sure what's happening now, whether it's cognitive or caused by the loss of hearing and diminished eyesight, but H has spent a lot of time staring off into space and isn't as focused as he has been in the past. I know that he still hears some things as the squeaky ball seems to continue to have an impact on him.

Maybe it's time to get the Cholodin down out of the cupboard to see if that gets the neurons firing again. Choline the main ingredient in Cholodin, acts as a precursor to neurotransmitters and maybe when the cells start talking to each other regularly H will be able to once again "connect all of the dots."

When I thinking about H today I was reminded that I could qualify as a geriatric home for dogs and cats, as all of them are in advanced age. It must be great to be an old cat, no wrinkles or thinning hair - just a warm place to sleep in the sun, lots of good food and positive strokes. The temperature is going down below 0 tonight. I hope that all cats and dogs have a warm bed to sleep in somewhere out of the cold.

I'm going to give H some cholodin and then tuck him into his bed with his new fleece blanket. Tomorrow maybe he'll be himself again, but if not, that's okay with me. He's earned his senior moments.

Good night H, gray muzzle, broken ear and're still quite a charmer, and you've got my number!