Today is Buddy’s official 15th birthday—at least the one we pretend is official, even though he probably turned 15 a while ago. Just two days ago, I wasn’t sure if he would make it.
Last week, I saw our dear dog crumpled and shaking on the floor and called a vet-who-makes-house calls. And then I lay next to him and sobbed my goodbyes.
But the vet—who called Buddy "beyond old"—said that what he has might not be fatal. Truthfully, we still don’t know. Since then, I’ve slept on the floor to keep him from hurting himself, cooked him special foods and then hand-fed them to him bite by bite, awakened every few hours around the clock to carry him outside in a towel (not so easy with a 60 lb. dog), run home during my half-hour lunch breaks to let him out, rearranged the furniture and rugs to help keep him from falling, kept records of his potty breaks, and cried with joy when he picked up a toy and barked out the window once more at a passerby. Yesterday he ate his first meal in almost two weeks.
And he’s been improving in tiny increments each day. He still has to be helped down the two stairs to the backyard and whines/barks whenever we try to sleep—I am beyond tired right now—but we’re hoping those too will improve. I apologize for having neglected your blogs these past two weeks. Am hoping to start reclaiming my life.
Throughout it all I've been soothed by your prayers and good wishes. There are times I am certain I can feel them. I simply can't express how much that means to me.
I know that, no matter what, it’s only borrowed time. But the older I get, the more I realize it’s all borrowed—all of it. Now this one borrowed thing is all the more precious to us. As long as living isn’t a burden to him, we hope we have him around. When it’s time to give back our borrowed loved one, we’ll know we did the very best we could with what we had.
Now that’s a birthday gift.
Chicken Soup for the Soul My Dog’s Life coincidentally came out last week just as we were dealing with Buddy’s illness. My story in it is called "The Last Gift." If you are so inclined, please read the book and consider posting a review on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com, and thank you!
And welcome to new blog follower Josh Hoyt! Don't forget to stop by his blog and diagnose your characters.