Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day

It’s another snow day, with all of us stuck at home as the white stuff falls, and the wind blows big drifts. Siete is outside in the corral, like a kid playing in it. Silk is sensible and dry, tucked away in Siete’s stall.

Back here in the house, I am marveling at the resilience of my dog’s spirit. Throughout the night on Saturday, Pepper couldn’t walk or even stand up. She barked weakly at 3 am and woke me up. I came downstairs to find her lying in a big mess. After cleaning it up and washing her, I crawled back to bed for two hours. At 5 am, she woke me up again, to a replay of more big mess. Figuring I might as well get up, I sat on the dog bed with her after again cleaning and washing her and wondered what I should do.

I knew the vet had Monday off. I knew that my husband was leaving on Tuesday for a business trip for the week. I knew that if the dog can’t even stand up, it would be really difficult for me to deal with all of this by myself until he came home. I also decided that when it’s time, Pepper is going to die here at home and not in the vet’s office. But was it time? I really felt scared and unsure about what to do. So, I just sat next to my dog and hugged her and thought about all the other times in the last 14 years that I had sat and hugged Pepper when I was scared. She’s good at reassuring me. I call her my “angel dog”.

Finally, she barked again, so I decided to see if she could get up. Not only did she stand, but she walked all the way to the back door and outside on the patio. She took care of her business, and we went back inside as if everything were normal. I wondered if the Tramadol might be so strong that it made her too out of it to stand or walk. I didn’t give her any more during the day, but last night before she went to sleep, I gave her a pill. She slept soundly and so did I. There were no accidents, and even with this heavy snowfall, she’s been able to walk on her own outside three times today. Needless to say, I’m feeling better now that she’s feeling better.

This morning, cruising around on the Internet, I came across the website of Dr. Judith Orloff. Dr. Orloff is an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA who mixes traditional medicine with intuition, energy and spirituality to teach us how to achieve emotional healing. She has a new book, “Emotional Freedom”, which is getting a lot of attention. I’ve ordered a copy of it after reading the following excerpt from it:

“Albert Einstein said, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” To tap this, we must appreciate that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s impossible to grasp how we tick emotionally without a cosmic perspective; everything about us, including our biology, is an expression of the divine. Seeing emotions as a training ground for the soul frames every victory over fear, anxiety and resentment as a way to develop your spiritual muscles and be better able to love and cultivate goodness. Anything that keeps you from your light distances your spiritual connection too.”

"Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life" by Judith Orloff

Thanks, Dr. Orloff. I really needed that right now.


Lori Skoog said...

Victoria....Yey for Pepper. You just might be right about the meds. I swear that animals tell you when they are ready and there will be no question in your mind. My Vet has come to the Farm to put a couple of our dogs to sleep...they were on their own beds and not scared. I see that most of the East Coast has been blasted with snow. We are not getting any.
Enjoy your day with the critters, and may it be a good one!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm so relieved that Pepper is getting around better and feeling more like herself.
This snowfall is really something this time, right. I hope this is the last hurrah of the season.
I hope your new book comes soon and helps you feel better too.

Ewa said...

OMG! still snowing? feel so sorry for you Vic!
Our snow is almost completely melted - I hope you winter will be also gone soon!

Esther Garvi said...

I'm so glad Pepper is doing better again! Her taking care of you still, really touched my heart! She's a sweet one, your Pepper!

I look back fondly at the last year with my very first dog Bamse (Aslan's mother). She lived until she was nearly 14. During that last half year, she was partly blind and deaf (though often by choice too!), looked like an polar bear (all her black hairs had gone snow white) and was all fussy and puppyish. I loved those moments. She became my little baby and when I left for Sweden that year, we said our goodbyes and from her side, they were for good. Three weeks later, she went to lie under a tree and didn't want to come back up again. Two nights later, she had moved on in her sleep.

I hope you and Pepper are equally lucky - and I'm glad you've got to share your lives with one another!

Warm greetings from West Africa,

betsy robinson said...

Hi, Victoria. I'm sending you a hug. I've been where you are. The pain correlates to how much you love. It's good to know how much we can love!!!

Pony Girl said...

I'm glad that Pepper is improving! It is so hard to know how to handle these situations. I dogsat a big 12 yr. Golden retriever once whose owners were in China for 3 wks. While they were gone, the dogs bad hips got increasingly worse to where they would give out on walks and he'd just sit down and couldn't get up, unless I lifted up his hind end. It got to where he'd even fall in the backyard. Then he couldn't get up on their slippery hardwood floors so I had to make trails to the doggie door with carpet runners (and he had a hard-time with the doggie door.) I finally took him to the vet and they gave him a steroid shot. Within a day he was back to himself jumping around. At least it got him up and moving until his owners got back from their trip. Around one month later, they had to make the decision to put him down. It was very sad, his heart was that of a 2 yr. old but his body just failed him.
Anyway, you will know when the time is right and it sounds like Pepper is responding to all of your (((((positive energy))))) as well as the meds!
Hang in there and I hope you ride out the latest snow storm!

deejbrown said...

I admire your courage and hope in the face of what might be in the near future. Your angel dog is doing her job, and will always do so.

Tammy said...

Amazing how they can help us when we are struggling with indecision. Hoping you have many more good days with her.

Callie said...

Glad she's doing better. I heard you guys were getting blasted with snow! I marvel that Steve's 14yr old dog still manages, even with very weak hind legs. I give him high protien food, glucosamine and a daily vitamin.

John and Regina Zdravich said...

So sorry to hear about your sweet dog, Pepper. It is so difficult to go through this with pets -- they play such an important role in our lives. I hope she continues to improve. And I hope we are finally done with the snow for this winter!!

marymartha said...

I truly believe we had our Molly Dawg an extra year because of Tramadol and Synovi sprinkles (the equine kind!)
I hope your Pepper gets the same relief Molly got. You may also ask your vet about Neurontin (gabapentin) although it was too strong for Molly.
I will keep Pepper and you in my thoughts.
Your love for your animals is a blessing to witness.
Peace be with you,