Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Theme Thursday: Pets

Here is our contribution to Theme Thursday. Check the rest here.

This week's theme is so big it's hard to wrap my head around it. I've had pets in my life except for a gap from around age 22 to 33, a time when I thought I was too cool for cats and dogs and was floundering through the least grounded decade of my life.

The past six weeks of dealing with Bow's likely brain tumor have brought a full gamut of emotions, and I greatly appreciate the support from bloggers, Facebookers and plain "non-virtual", in the flesh friends, neighbors, family and coworkers. Bow has been in thoughts and prayers (animist to devout Catholic) from points as distant as Manhattan, Seattle, St. Petersburg (Russia not Florida), Ontario (Canada not California), Orange County and right here in the Mission.

She completed her radiation therapy last week with the wonderful team at UC Davis. The photo above taken yesterday afternoon shows that she's as perky and happy as ever. There have been no obvious complications, and I remain optimistic but take nothing for granted.

When pets become ill or have a health crisis, it's so different than a family member or loved one who can tell you how they feel, their fears, their needs. Like all pets, Bow is a great teacher and reminds me to live in the moment. It's likely she's not stressing out with "Oh, my God, I have a brain tumor!" and is far more concerned with the fact that the bichon frises down the street are barking annoyingly or that a piece of gouda dropped on the kitchen floor. As one of my cousins commented, "Don't think about the destination, think about the journey." I know that intellectually but really have to strive to do it instinctively. It's Bow's instincts, not mine, that will ultimately help me through this journey. We might have to cross the rainbow bridge in a few weeks or in ten years. Trying to guess that will cause stress that will help neither of us.

What Bow, and all my pets, remind me is that the small, routine and tangible routines get us through the day, and I have become more aware of this as she greets each one with such enthusiasm as if nothing has changed. She looks forward to each walk, even if we go the same familiar blocks at 7:02 every morning, as a glorious adventure filled with things to sniff and look at. The same Greenie she gets at 9:35 and the Dingo rawhide at 2:13 are equally glorious, unexpected treats, as if she had never had them. Each day is a blank slate to be embraced with gusto, even if every routine is the same as it has been for the past 18 months. I've always enjoyed her routines and have found her enthusiasm heartening, but with the recent challenges I have come to embrace them with a joy that reflects hers. The immediate moment has never felt more profound and precious.

In my youth I found Walt Whitman to be a bit to "precious" in the worst sense of the word. Lately I have been returning to him, and Bow has taught me to celebrate myself and Whitman. The fact that the sun rose, that the earth and heavens did not shatter and that my basenji is happy and healthy and so filled with gratitude to be offered a walk this morning makes these words of Whitman finally make sense to me:

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end;
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now;
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

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16 Comments:

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Well then, my friend, here is a toast (with coffee, it is 8 am here) to the here and now and to you, Bow and Walt.

 
At 11:38 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Lorenzo - Walt. Okay, for a second I thought you meant Mr. Disney...

We're on the last glass of wine in California as you have the first cup of coffee in Madrid.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Brian Miller said...

oh man, sorry to hear about bow...hope all is well soon...

happy tt!

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Brian - She is doing fine. We continue to be optimistic and take it one day at a time.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger Kris said...

Walt was a sensitive soul...

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger Barbara and Nancy said...

Bow is a beautiful dog. Isn't it amazing what they can teach us? I hope it will be 10 more years.
Barbara

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Harnett-Hargrove said...

She is ready-ready in the pic! Happy TT -j

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Kris - Walt's words improve with age.

Barbara and Nancy - Whatever the amount of time we have together, it will be a treasure.

Harnett - She is always ready for a walk or a yummy treat.

 
At 2:30 AM, Blogger Jingle said...

best wishes.
happy tt.
she is cute.

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jingle - Thanks for the good wishes. She's still doing very well

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

What a great post. More prayers to Bow. Give her a pet for me. Glad she is doing okay.

- Bryce

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger PattiKen said...

This is so moving. I'm so sorry that Bow has been ill. I think you are both so lucky to have each other. Both of our lives have been better for it.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderful post and in a odd way it reminds me of the book i'm currently listening to in the studio - racing in the rain, the protaganist, enzo, like with bow shows that we have much to learn from our 'pets'

hugs to bow (and you) for bow's full recovery....

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Baino said...

Ah I didn't know she was unwell. Here's hoping she has a full recovery. I just read that caring for sick pets is actually good for humans! Who'd have thought it.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

What a wonderful post, even better to hear that Bow's treatment has ended with no complications an with her looking as pretty as ever!
Don't forget that there were/are also at least two people in Istanbul sending good thoughts your way. :)

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Baino and Salty - Warm wishes coming from Australia and Turkey are certainly part of her global support team to stay healthy!

 

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