Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wicked October - by Cara Potapshyn Meyers

Unfortunate occurrences seem to haunt me during the latter part of October. I had a bad car accident on October 21st sixteen years ago. I ended up with chronic pain for four years straight (one of the reasons I’m a Later Mom). I continue to have intermittent pain as a result from that accident, although I am thankful that I have quality of life today.
My father was hit by a truck walking down the street on October 25th and suffered a subdural hematoma (bleeding in the brain) ten years ago and required months and months of intensive medical treatment.
Yesterday, October 26th, at her bi-annual check-up, my female dog was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the spleen. She is not a candidate for surgery as she is 17 1/2 years old (120 years old in human years), and is too anemic to perform surgery on. The best we can do is give her quality of life for as long as possible.

Although she is 17, she has been a part of our family for roughly 13 years. We rescued her from a shelter at age 4. She instantly bonded with my husband and considers him the sun, moon and stars above. Her second favorite family member is my son. She has been his Nanny Dog since the day he came home from the hospital. When she would hear him crying over the monitor, she would pace back and forth, desperate to comfort him. As my son became older, she let our son do absolutely anything to her, as if my son was her “puppy”. When my son was a toddler and learned to brush his teeth, we had to buy a second toddler toothbrush so that our son could brush our female dog's teeth also. He would stack toys on her, ride her, roll on her, pull her whiskers...she never flinched. He was her "puppy."

Since she has gotten older and more frail, my son started bonding more with our far bigger and younger male dog, Maxi. Maxi and my son are "buddies." Maxi waits for my son to come home at the end of the day and smiles when he sees his "buddy" home! My son, much bigger now, does to Maxi what he used to do to our female dog. He rides Maxi, helps walk Maxi, rolls on the floor, hugging Maxi and receives "kisses" from Maxi in return. The bonds have switched. In a way I am glad. Our female now has a limited life span. Maxi, according to our Vet, has a "healthy, happy full life ahead of him," even at age 13. 
I have books put aside to read with my son as our female dog's days are numbered. One book is called "Saying Goodbye to LuLu." Our female dog is named Lama, but we refer to her as LuLu at times. It is a perfect book to read with him about a boy who is losing his own dog. I hope it will help my son cope with the process of losing Lama.
I am secretly glad that my son is establishing a stronger and stronger bond with Maxi. After our never ending divorce, Lama would have lived with my husband. Maxi will stay with us. As Lama will be approaching her demise, I am relieved to know that my son with be living with and already have established a solid bond with Maxi. It hopefully will lessen the pain and grief for him.
Presently, our son is assisting us in cooking ground beef for Lama...her appetite is fair. We are buying her favorite foods and offering them to her in between her naps. With every bite, my son is elated. At the same time, it is hurtful to watch. My son thinks he is helping her to get better and be the dog he has always known. He doesn't comprehend that her life may have to end very soon.
I am also thankful that Lama didn't die on son's favorite time of year, despite the fact that he hates sweets. He just loves getting dressed up and parading around in his costume. Had Lama died, his adoration of Halloween would diminish significantly. He already will be losing too much in his young life. He doesn't need to add his favorite time of year to the list.
Wicked October. Thank goodness November is here.

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