Thursday, March 19, 2009

Naming the Fear, Naming the Joy

Recent focus on Prissy has forced me to realize something I haven't wanted to acknowledge-she's no longer a baby. Moreover, she's 5, and Dottie was the only dog in this line that lived past 6. The difference between Prissy and Greta is startling when you realize they are only a few months apart in age, and Greta has had a rougher first year than Prissy or most dogs.

So yes, Prissy is slowing down, and maybe that's why Lily was attacking. Or maybe it had nothing to do with it, but the fact is, she's slowing down and I am going to have to watch another thing I love fade and die.

Yet, when I apply my test to it "would I change it if I could"....meaning would I chose never to know Prissy if I could avoid the pain of loss, no, I wouldn't even consider it. We are curled up in the daybed with the cat, her chin resting on my leg like Dottie's did before her. I can't imagine how awful and empty it would feel to have never known this feeling.

The cat is chewing my hair and kneading my neck, like she's done for 14 years or so. How can people survive this world not having that kind of kinship?

As a child, I used to pretend I was trapped on a tropical island with all my many animals. In addition to dogs, and cats, I had horses, zebras, wolves, lions (Born Free was big when I was a kid). Each animal got along with the others, and each was loyal and devoted to me. How we all managed to eat without eating each other was a detail that I never got around to considering.

As an adult, I have created a version of that. (Carnivores eat from the freezer or kibble, and that's how THAT question was answered). And, watching Prissy fade is the grown up version of what happens when you have and love a lot of animals. But, how many people get to lie in daybed and realize they made a childhood dream come true.

Why clutter up the realization with "should have worked harder on career, etc."? In the end, we get what we choose, not what we want or think we should want. In the end, it's the choices we make that lead us to where we are.

I am glad I've realized who was in control before it was too late to consider choices. And, like Prissy, I'm no longer a baby either, and I thank my lucky stars that I've come to THAT realization before it's too late as well.

Middle age-love it, hate it. Whoever said teens have a lock on the angst market was a fool.


soulbrush said...

oh debs, i so agree with you. don't understand the attack part???? but what would life be without a nuzzle, a lick, a woof, a squawk and a furry paw? Nothing as far as i am concerned...nothing.

Debra Kay said...

I've known a very few people who had zero pets, and those people had more trouble with human relationships than I do.....go figure.

I understand, to some degree, that Mom and Dad fear that a pet will outlive them, and I guess they have the best of both worlds, because I take Prissy down daily. But, I know Mom and probably Dad too misses the "caring for them" part.

Dang it, I AM a devoted daughter, moving down the street so they can get daily pet interaction....LOL. I've also decided to move Casper closer in and NOT follow him to the country right now. Dealing with land, big animals AND aging parents might be a little much. Where he's at now, and where he'll be, he'll be cared for even if I can't get there due to illness, etc. Keeping to my master plan of having everything nearby seems like a good thing to follow.

studio lolo said...

Wow, that's not a long lifeline for those little ones. I wonder what makes them pass so young?

Emma will be five this weekend. I can see her muzzle whitening and it unnerves me sometimes. Like you though, if she were to leave me tomorrow I'd never trade the time I had with her.

I think I'll take her to the beach path now. A little bonding, but without a daybed ;)

Debra Kay said...

Ours have all gone from stroke/heart attack. Hydrocephalus is common in the breed and in this particular line. Greta is not an "applehead" so that won't be an issue with her. But it's amazing how clear her eyes are compared to Prissy's.

All but one of the dogs was a tiny one, so I think size has something to do with it too. But Millie was bald and she died of liver failure-which may have been lepto and maybe not. The baldness makes me think there was something glandular going on.

I have another pup if I want it from this kennel because of Lily being deaf, but I think I'm just going to pass. I offered it to Mom and she doesn't want another dog, so I'm just chalking the entire thing off. We got Priss after Millie died suddenly, but before the others started dying off.

There is another group of dogs down the street from this kennel, and they are all healthy and robust-I honestly think Mom, who picked most of the dogs, is just drawn to weaker animals.

So, now I involve Mom by letting her name my dogs sometimes....LOL.

I had bond time with each of my dogs today-Greta wanted to be held in my arms like a baby and have her belly rubbed. Pretty trusting for a dog who didn't trust anyone-it was a gift for us both.

Mim said...

Lovely post Debs - I so relate