Shall we rise and shine?
This day’s young, my little one.
Each day is a gift.
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
Since the moment those deep soulful eyes first met mine, I knew the 6 year old corgi resting before epitomized grace.
And I sensed her grace would help lead me through the journey I was on.
Much like a spirit animal, I thought.
I’d brought my husband Richard along for the long ride to meet Maddie.
“We’re going to drive north and we’ll just take a look,” I’d told Richard earlier that morning eight years ago as I hurriedly entered the interstate to beat the heavy rush hour traffic.
But I doubt he was even listening.
Richard’s early onset dementia had also been rapidly accelerating, as was my stress. And my mother’s dementia seemed to be on the same fast track.
When we arrived at the animal shelter four hours later Maddie spotted us, sporting a smile. She soon rolled to her back, begging for a belly scratch.
I quickly felt my stress melt in spite of the chilly weather.
Maddie had been a former working dog.
“She’s was from a very questionable backyard breeder,” the volunteer told me frowning.
Living on a back porch in the frigid winter months producing litter after litter must have been miserable, I remember thinking.
Yet looking back it seemed Maddie did learn resilience, and fine tuned her nurturing skills while there.
Maybe I have as well through all she’s shared with me over the years.
Today my caregiving responsibilities are gone with the death of my husband and my mom a few years go. I’ve retired from being a caregiver, at least for now.
Maddie and I have become seniors ourselves though she’s outpacing me some in that race.
My girl’s 98 in dog years, and is totally lame.
She’s getting tired, but is still happy most days.
“You need to start thinking about Maddie’s end of life, and her quality of life,” the vet told me recently.
“I am,” I replied with a look of resignation as I walked out.
I was in desperate need of a good cry.
It quickly became my purpose that day to see the controversial movie, “A Dog’s Purpose”.
In the film I knew there was a well loved corgi portrayed who passed away.
My sobbing started as soon as that corgi appeared on screen.
And my tears were quickly creating a waterfall.
They blocked my vision as I stumbled out of my seat, past the buttered popcorn, and then blindly entered the mens’ room in search of more Kleenex.
I apologized profusely to the three gentlemen in there who were staring at me.
Now that my tears are finely gone, I’m watching for more signs that it’s time for Maddie to move on.
This morning she smiled up at me when she spotted me, just as she has so often.
I’ve been blessed to witness plenty of those warm smiles on the sometimes bumpy journey we’ve shared together.
Yet I’m also starting to pay attention to what Maddie has to say as well.
Unfortunately there are no carefully drafted end of life wishes for our aging canine friends.
“Are you ready to go girl?” I ask Maddie if she’s looking a bit down sometimes at night.
I’m not hearing an answer, at least yet.
Author Jon Katz has written in his book ‘Talking to Animals’, “If we listen, they can tell us.”
One day soon I know that Maddie will.
And I’ll be there to help her along, no matter what path she decides to take.
I only hope she can run again like the wind.
I was awake before the sailors, but still was running behind the joggers early this Mother’s Day.
Navigating through a thick grove of sweet smelling crab apple trees, I happily joined up with an enthusiastic flock of goslings. They were busily paying homage to their own mother by showing off their newly acquired honking skills at a holiday brunch.
They seemed particularly thrilled that there was plenty of lakeside seating as well as a wide selection of green grass and clover for their culinary pleasure.
I’d already celebrated with my own daughter and grandkids at a busy playground picnic yesterday.
The scene today appeared to be a peaceful one, with my 4 legged boy Rex and I soon enjoying a warm ham and gruyere croissant bought from a trendy patisserie nearby.
Rex slowly licked the cheese and grease off my fingers while he lovingly looked up at me. He then gave me one of those ‘sure is better than kibble’ kind of looks.
He is quite a connoisseur after all.
Then suddenly the entertainment began.
Though we didn’t know there was going to be any.
A newly assembled choir of goslings was crying at the top of their beaks and running right towards us.
They’d flatly rejected nature’s finely prepared platter of fresh greens.
It seems this young flock is particularly fond of French pastries, as is their dear mother.
Shouting “ooh la la” to no one in particular Rex and I trotted off after the runners for cover, leaving our own brunch far behind.
Eventually, we did find solace at a McDonald’s up the road.
And my boy Rex was happy once again, as of course we ordered greasy French fries as a substitute.