Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Compassion is the guiding star"

Once, maybe twice in a lifetime, we are blessed with having a special dog in our lives; an extremely rare dog who seems like an old soul; a dog who seems to transcend the normal scope of doggy understanding, who isn’t solely motivated by the scent of bacon or a pat on the head.

I have been blessed with having two such dogs in my life so far. Foxy is one of those dogs.

Foxy is stately and strong. She is intuitive; sometimes it seems like she knows exactly what I'm thinking. She is assertive, but gentle: even when reprimanding her pack mates, a quick show of teeth and curl of the nose commands the respect of her underlings.

And she is loyal. In the summer, when I'm working out front in my flower beds, Foxy would hang out with me, free range. She'd find a nice shady spot and watch as I dug holes for petunias, sniffing the air at their pungent fragrance.

Though a bit more wild, Mandy was very similar in loyalty. She comes when called, and always stayed right by me.

So, what prompted two dogs like these to push through the fence last week? Despite that they were sled dogs, we have never tethered them. We never had to.

Perhaps they saw a cat or rabbit that night. It must have been something pretty cool to entice them out of their beloved yard that night.

I just spent an hour and a half posting more florescent posters on more telephone poles all over town with Mandy's picture and my phone number. This whole thing has me exhausted. I have practically done nothing else but care for Foxy, cry, and search for Mandy, driving to different shelters, posting ads, emailing leads. I even had some lady call me today to say a prayer for me and Mandy over the phone. And amazingly, people have donated $280 to Foxy's cause so far - $100 of which has come from anonymous donors through this blog site.

I am wowed by the kindness of strangers, by the genuine compassion and brotherly spirit of so many, especially given our economy as a nation.

I have struggled during the last couple days about what is right, ethically, to do for Foxy. In fact, I went back to my vet yesterday for a consult appt and another look at the x rays. People have cautioned that Foxy is too old for a major surgery such as the one she needs. People have gently encouraged me to end her suffering.

And I’ve wondered myself if I should end her suffering.

I wonder if I'm holding on because of my own guilt at allowing something like this to happen. I wonder if I'm holding on because of my own lack of courage at facing that pain I felt when I had to euthanize my Kahlua two years ago, that other special dog I’ve known.

But I believe all creatures deserve appropriate chances and medical attention, regardless of their age or economics.

And though I struggle, somehow I am still hanging onto hope.

Hope that I can find Mandy and she will live out the rest of her days with us here at home where she belongs.

Hope that Foxy can pull through.

Hope that, through the kindness of family, friends and, miraculously, strangers, we can raise the money to provide surgery for Foxy soon.

I leave for Michigan again tomorrow to watch my friends Larry and Joann Fortier’s kennel while she competes in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Foxy will stay on the comfy couch in the capable hands of Chris and my mom. And somehow, we will try to stay hopeful.

Mush on.

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