Our dog Lola is dying. A few months ago, we took her to the vet to have her “fixed” (what a euphemism!) and the vet ran some type of blood panel. The results came back, and the vet told us that there may be something wrong with her liver. She then told us that other factors may have been creating a false positive so we should bring her back in a month or two for an additional test. We did, and the results came back with even more severe indications that her liver isn’t even working. To look at Lola, said the vet, you’d never know she had anything wrong with her. She’s energetic and rambunctious; she eats well and sleeps well. With the results of the second test, the vet indicated that Lola’s condition is beyond the help of medication or even surgery. (I have to say here that surgery for an animal still seems a little kooky. “Sorry, son, we couldn’t send you to college because the dog needed surgery. Sure, the surgery was a success and all, but dogs only live so long.”) Erin and I haven’t told the boys yet about this development, and since learning about this it seems like Lola’s just a ticking time bomb. The reason we haven’t told the boys is Lola may be that exception – our fingers are crossed – that defies medical reason and lives to a ripe old age of 97 dog years. It’s a baseless hope, I’ll admit, but it’s what we’re holding onto.
I have to pause here a moment and make something clear. I may have given some people the impression that I don’t like dogs. That’s just not true. I was against the idea of getting a dog because of the costs associated with dog ownership and the slim possibility of something like this very thing happening. Although I freely admit that I find surgery on dogs a little kooky, I’m not a heartless person. It’s not my inclination that a dog should be put to sleep at the first hint of problems. For the very reason that I’m not a heartless person, I didn’t want to get a dog because I didn’t want to be placed in a position of needing to decide a life-or-death question for a small, furry animal.
With that said, I must make a further admission: I love this darn dog. I love the fact her tail wags like a juiced-up metronome when you walk into the room. I love the fact she’ll jump up onto the couch and do a face plant on the side of the cushion because she misjudged the height – and then she’ll try it again without a hint of embarrassment. I love the squinty-eyed look of contentment she gets when you scratch her in just the right place. I’ll admit it: I’m a nutball.
My sister has a cat, George, whom she adores. I’m not sure why because it always seems to be lying under the bed. My mom and dad have a dog, Gus, who goes everywhere with them. In fact, my mom will take Gus through the drive-thru at Jack in The Box when it’s raining to get him a sourdough bacon cheeseburger. Again, the reason my parents find so much joy in this dog eludes me because he mostly just lies around and emits strange smells – I can’t imagine the sourdough bacon cheeseburger helps with that. Nevertheless, these animals bring some of my loved ones unequaled joy. Who am I to question that?
My heart aches for Lola as I type this. Please let her be the exception! Please! Whether she will or won’t be remains to be seen. In the meantime, hug your kids a little longer and give Fido and Mr. Kibble an extra treat now and then. It’ll make YOU smile.