This morning I had just about the strangest sort of dress rehearsal that I can imagine.
Y'all know that my dog, Parker, is very old and has had some health issues. So there is no mystery to the idea that I could lose him in the near future. I feel as though I have faced this fact with some level of maturity.
When I let my dogs outside this morning I got to face up to this reality a whole lot more.
Parker stumbled out the back door onto the wet deck as he often does. But this time he coughed hard a couple of times and then kind of fainted. As he laid there I found myself accepting that this could be the end and I also found that I just wanted to comfort and speak softly to him. I actually thought about the fact that I didn't want his last moments to be chaotic in any way. I was shocked and sad, but level headed.
Then just as suddenly as this all began, Parker got up and shook himself off. And I swear he gave me a look of, "what the heck are you so sad about?" He then ran back into the house, grabbed a squeaky toy and dropped it next to his dish so he could loudly proclaim how hungry he was. I stood there in amazement.
After the initial shock wore off, I remembered that back when he was about 8 years old, (he is now 14) the vet had told me that Parker has a pretty loud heart murmur and that he could require medication one day if he ever displayed symptoms. You guessed it. What I had just experienced was just what I had been warned could happen- some coughing or wheezing and loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen. When I called the vet they were shocked to see how long it has been between the diagnosis and the onset of symptoms. Back when this all started, we had chosen to go with natural supplements for heart health and had since forgotten all about what those daily 'vitamins' for Parker were all about. Just goes to show, you never do know.
Believe it or not, I'm actually grateful for the experience. Like many other aspects of my growing up, loss of pets was never handled with any kind of grace or reasonableness. At least I know now that I'm pretty sure I won't lose it completely when the real moment arrives. Don't get me wrong. I am absolutely in no hurry. And apparently, neither is Parker!
"Yeah, I'm obnoxious. So what?! At my age, anything goes!"