Ponder this:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just a day in the life

I've just finished applying orange halves to the plum tree, the birch trees, the cherry tree, two apple trees, and all three shepherd's crooks. When I finished, I yelled, "Orioles, lunch is out!" A week ago I saw eight or a dozen orioles flying around up here on the hill. I haven't seen any lately, but I will...! Oranges are like magic for making orioles appear.
Right before I went outside with my net bag full of oranges I heard my seasonal mockingbird trilling through a thousand song phrases . . . couldn't see the bird through the window, but he was nearby.
Mom and Pop Canada goose were next to the road last Thursday when I passed late in the afternoon, with a gosling standing between them, looking for all the world as if they were waiting for the parade to start.
What joy these birds give me, just being around and living their bird lives.


In other news, Max grows skinnier and skinnier by the minute, it seems. He has come, in sleep, to resemble a newly hatched bird. He eats with gusto whenever food is offered, goes from his dish to Angus', eventually owning both servings until he has had enough. I suspect he doesn't know that he's eating from two dishes; I think every time he finds food, he thinks, "Oh! Food!" no matter how short the space of time between discoveries. 
Max can no longer manage the stairs in either direction, so he is carried up at night and down in the morning, and overnight, a baby gate placed across the top of the stairway. He fell downstairs twice in the middle of the night when he was, doubtless, wandering around looking for the bed and the hands that lift him up and replace him in same. My trips up and down the stairs usually require me to carry other things as well . . . dirty laundry, clean laundry, wastepaper basket contents, etc. The preparation and arranging of materials is cumbersome late at night when I . .  just . . . want . . . to . . . go . . . to . . . bed. 
In the mornings, if Max should arrive downstairs before Angus [who is on his own for his ascent to and descent from the bedroom], he totters to the couch and growls at the dark colored afghan, assuming it to be his brother. 
No matter what I'm doing I can count on Max being underfoot. Touching me is the only way for him to know exactly where I am. After a surprisingly small number of Squashing-The-Old-Poodle incidents, I have learned to check carefully all around my feet before moving an inch in any direction. It is tiresome, and makes food preparation and bed-making interminable, but it keeps me from cardiac events caused by loud poodle squawks of pain. 
I believe that I am ready for Max to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I think it cannot truly be said that he in enjoying his life. I think he is neither happy nor unhappy. He is in no pain I think, although he certainly would be if he were not coddled as he is. I am tired, worn out, but The Decision cannot be made without Husband's being on board, and he is not yet ready.
And no matter how ready all three involved parties (not counting Angus, who's had his brother with him all his life, both pre- and post-birth) might be, the aftermath of the deed will be gorged with sadness, guilt and regrets. After the ubiquity of the Sisyphean Max Care, when it is no longer necessary, there will an awful lot of time to fill with self-reproach.


More later, perhaps.
I believe it is time to change Max's diaper now.

12 comments:

threecollie said...

I know it is impossible not to reproach oneself at these times, but you shouldn't, you have done so well....the level of love you show and have shown simply beams from this and all your posts about your beloved dogs. Dwell on the good.

Terra said...

I am picturing you flitting about your garden, happily offering oranges to the orioles. I used to do that when we lived in oriole country. That is sad about your dear little doggie, reaching life's end soon, and a hard decision for you and your hubby.

Rubye Jack said...

I'm sorry you have to make such a decision about Max. It's hard to know when the time is right. But meanwhile it must be a joy to watch the Orioles. I didn't know that oranges worked to attract them.

Hilary said...

My heart aches for you and the decision with which you must come to terms. But when you do, you'll know the time is right.. neither too soon nor too late. After that, don't allow guilt or regrets to seep in. It's a loving deed for a family member in need.

Hildred and Charles said...

We were doing the same for our dear Caspar a year ago - such a hard decision, but no regrets the time comes. It seems over our long marriage we have had to make this decision so many times for so many dear four footed members of the family, and it never gets easier...

I am going to try the orange trick - thank you for the tip. We had orioles galore on the farm, - nests in all the trees around the house, and I did miss them when we came to town.

Olga said...

We do see a (very) few Orioles around here but none came to eat my oranges last spring. The hummingbirds have retuned and flew right into our faces to remind us to get the feeder out. We do not have mocking birds here in N. VT, but I so enjoy hearing them in FL during the winter months. We have bird feeders visible from the kitchen/dining area here in VT and they provide so much entertainment. I gave my grand children bird feeders for Christmas 2 years ago & a bird book.
Birds are our only "pets" now.

Woodswalker said...

I've been there, where you are now, wondering if it was time to say goodbye to a dear old pet. It just hurts so much.

Floridagirl said...

My heart goes out to you. We just had to put our bulldog down so we know how hard it is to make the decision. No guilt needed, it's hard for us but the right thing for them. Take care and give poor Max (and yourself) a hug from us.

Rose from Oz is Back! said...

Walking right beside you on this with Max June. My dear girl, this is the pits. Love from the other side and enjoy the birds. They can be so calming. x

DJan said...

This is one of life's hard parts. I am keeping you in my thoughts and hoping that this time passes as gently as possible. Blessings to all of you.

Carolynn Anctil said...

My heart aches for you and Max. In my own experience, I have suffered more guilt over the memory of asking a beloved companion to stay longer than she really should have. It doesn't make the decision any easier.

esbboston said...

It seems like I have suddenly, and hopefuLLy for a long time, have got to the point where I am not stepping on Cooper, although I sometimes turn too fast and smack him. But he seems to understand my words of apology, as he seems to understand so much spoken to him. Dogs are such great companions!

I was able to find a praying mantis to come live inside on my pineapples and the orchid. I just know to start looking on my wooden fence around May 5th. After a few training periods they become docile and wiLL easily walk out onto my finger, and then back to a leaf.