Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

Matthew 10:29 (New International Version, ©2011)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

This year on the annual occurrence of my uterine emancipation I had my Last Will and Testament notarized as well as the Living Will and Health Care Directive. It had been awhile and everything needed updating. I made a copy of it all and sent it to my daughter since she is the next in line if for some reason my husband cannot do this or passes on before I do. I also let her know that we have pre-arranged plans for “in the event of”. She said it made her cry. I gently reminded her that life is terminal. What matters most is where we spend eternity.

I’ve casually mentioned to Dennis that maybe someone should discuss this type of planning with his mother who just turned 90 on March 23rd. It seems no one is aware of any end of life planning or wishes she may want. I think we sometimes don’t want to deal with those issues that make us uncomfortable. Death and end of life care fall in to those categories.

I then sent the “fill in the blank” packet for end of life care to my own mother who resides in the same state we do. The packet is a downloadable PDF file from the state’s Attorney General’s office. She was grateful and it actually prompted a good discussion between the two of us.

It is too late when the person you love or care for can no longer speak for themselves be it dementia, a stroke, or a coma. With this being said, I am going to digress a bit.

We had our beloved pet, a miniature Schnauzer put down today. She was diagnosed with malignant melanoma when we took her to the vet’s to have a “lump” removed. The vet did what she could, but the poor little thing was riddled with the tumors. She went fast and began having seizures. It was difficult to watch her go down hill. She was a normally thin, robust, active little girl. We have had her since she was weaned from her momma and she was 11-years old. Her official AKC name was: Gila Valley’s Miss Demeanor. We called her Demi.

Since I work, the task of all the veterinary visits fell on my husband, the retiree. He did this well… until… today. Bless his heart. This was so difficult for him. Yesterday’s visit to the vet ended with them advising him they could put her down then. He asked if they would come to our home to do it. They wouldn’t. I suppose hospice hasn’t been considered for animals – yet. So he declined until we could spend one more night with her. She slept in our bed, between the two of us. She hadn't done that for awhile. She didn't have the energy to jump up on the bed.

This little dog that we loved so dearly could not tell us it was time to end her life.  But we knew.  Watching her sit quietly, head down and eyes looking into ours with love and trust... we knew... we knew.

We often called her the gazelle as she was as limber as one and insisted on jumping on the couch and sitting on the highest point to watch all the activities. Keeping guard, is what I thought. Jumping up on our bed was never a problem, until lately.

Today after I left for work Dennis tended to his charge. He groomed her, brushing every last matt from her fur. Then he fed her special things as her appetite had diminished. She had a gourmet dog food (soft) and grapes. She loved grapes ever since she was a pup. (She also liked raw broccoli and cauliflower.) Then at 3:00 p.m. he drove her to the vet’s and sat with her. We will receive her ashes in a few weeks.

So, tonight I am missing Demi. She always sat at my feet when I was clicking away on this ‘puter. I don’t know if there are animals in heaven, but I’m sure God cares for animals. He created them before He created us. So I use the James Herriot title “All Creatures Great and Small.” You will be sorely missed, Demi Girl.

Demi is the Schnauzer who's ears stand straight up.  Her bud Dudley's ears bend down.  Dudley will miss Demi, too.  For the record, Dudley is a rescued Schnauzer.

because we're His,

~Tamara