We all have an appointment with death. Unfortunately, none of us know when or where our death will occur. This can make our lives infinitely enjoyable or dreadful depending on our perspective on the the life we have. For my two beagles, an appointment has been made. Like me, they have now idea it is coming. McDuff has an aggressive cancer that has returned after surgery to remove the first bout of illness. His system has been compromised as evidenced in his liquid stools, bleeding mouth tumor and enlarged lymph glands. Louie is no longer eating like he used to, has compromised rear legs and front legs. He can no longer stand without flinching. Nor can he walk, sit or sleep normally. Of the two, I can relate to Louie more having gone through a spinal fusion and having had days where 50 feet was a stretch goal for walking. When the dogs cringe in pain, so does my soul. We joked with the veterinarian that Louie and McDuff have a lover’s pack, but in the end they are nearing their appointment with death at the same time.
Our dogs have had a good life. Louie lived until he was 16 and McDuff until he was 15. They have had each other and they’ve had us as a family. My daughter enjoys walking home from the bus to find the dogs as welcoming friends. My son is just beginning to understand how they may not be here tomorrow. My wife and I started our family with the dogs and followed through with kids. I suppose it’s toughest for me as I’ve been the caretaker for the majority of our dog’s lives. As their time nears its end, the dogs follow me around not just for food but for comfort as the pain and discomfort becomes foremost in their experience. I haven’t had cancer yet, but I do struggle with my genetic woes. I’ve also found myself unable to ascend or descend stairs thinking they are my worst enemy. Thus, I’ve taken to carrying Louie up and down the stairs when I can. He seems to appreciate it. Perhaps it’s a little something I can do to ease his suffering until we take them in to the vet for their final breath.
Ah, there’s the rub, “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause. There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.” We all have our looming appointment with the person yielding the scythe. Unlike our dogs, I have no idea of when my mortal coil will come to its end. I can only bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor’s wrong and the insolence of office. The undiscovered country that puzzles my will is not the nether land but here and now. That’s all we have to enjoy and partake so our enterprises of great pith and moment have meaning and sustenance for our soul. My actions have a name and it is I. The currents of my life are my Biz and that’s why I find managing my biz and more importantly it’s connection with others and the life around me to be of the utmost importance. If we don’t manage our biz, someone else will and thus the native hue of our resolution will be sicklied over with the pale cast of someone else’s thought.
I will miss my fur-ball family members like brothers in the quest to enjoy life and its toils. I love you Louie and McDuff. There are no others like you.
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