The Schizophrenia of Mothering
May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
I wrote this and then re-read it. I will not torture you with how it sounds wondering for the entire post what happens. I will say, read this knowing that as of this morning, Jack is alive and well.
When I walked through the door of my house yesterday I was greeted by Jack, who was sprawled out on the floor looking up at me helplessly. He looked like a squashed bug, his fuzzy paws splayed out to his sides and his belly pressed against the floor. Kind of like Bambi looked when learning how to ice skate. I dropped everything I was carrying, which was a lot since I spent my lunch hour shopping at Ikea and had arm fulls of things to begin transforming our downstairs bedroom into a crafting room. As I rushed to help Jack stand it was clear that he couldn’t. Even when I braced his hips he nose planted back to the wood floors, the first time smacking his mouth hard onto the floor, helpless to brace himself with his front legs. I begged him to stand, in a high-pitched happy voice, the kind that dog owners know well when trying to urge their puppy to “go potty” I was using my best, “wanna go for a walk?” voice that under normal circumstances brings Jack to his feet with enthusiasm. But he sat there helpessly, his eyes confused and pleading with me to help him.
I moved him gently to the dog bed and there we sat for the next hour. I, cradling his head and he, breathing shallowly. I sobbed uncontrollably, bracing myself for what felt like the last time I would hold my Jack. I brushed the scruff of his neck with my hand, I ran my fingers through his floppy ears, the ears that I loved from the minute I first saw them. Twelve years ago, Jack was a 2 month old puppy at the shelter. My best friend, Jenny and I stopped in our tracks when we saw him trot by. He happily walked on the leash and his ears were perked up, the tips of them flopped down so when he trotted the tips of his floppy ears bounced. It was in that moment, I knew I found my puppy. Jack laid in my arms, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. I could tell he was tired and I began to talk through my sobs to him, “I love you Jack, you’ve been such a good boy to me”, continuing to rub my hands over his protruding ribs I could hear his stomach gurgling, “We’ve been through so much together, Jack. Remember the summer we spent up at camp together and you chased all those squirrels, I thought once for sure you were going to actually climb a tree after that one squirrel. Remember all the trips we took up North together, you were such a great co-pilot. I love you Jack, so so much.” He sat lifelessly in my lap, his mouth becoming slack so I could see his front teeth. I willed myself to be strong, to hold him as he was dying. I found solace in knowing that I could be there to hold Jack as he left this world. Knowing that for whatever reason, I came home today an hour early from work, this was the reason. I rubbed Jack’s belly, knowing after 12 years of having Jack, exactly the spots he liked being rubbed best. Right in the nook of his thigh to the left of the center of his belly always made him let out a sigh of pleasure. I rubbed that exact spot and Jack seemed unaware. I continued to talk to him, “Jack, I love you so so much. You are the best puppy in the entire world, so smart, so handsome, so sweet. I will never, ever have another puppy as wonderful as you have been. Jack, I love you so so much.” Jack laid there lifeless still, his breathing becoming more shallow. By this time Paul had gotten home, between my uncontrollable sobbing I managed to make out the words, “It’s time, I think it’s time.” Paul sat on the hardwood floors with us and started talking to Jack in the same high-pitched, wanna go for a walk voice, “Hi Jacky boy.” He tried to get Jack to his feet, Jack looked up at him with recognition. Wobbly still, Jack managed to sit up his front legs finding a bit more strength than when I tried. I cautioned Paul to brace Jack’s head as Jack attempted to will his wobbly hind legs to stand. Shaky and steady Jack rose to a stand and took one step which sent him tumbling back down to the floor, his chin smacking the floor. I scooped Jack back onto my lap sobbing as I rubbed his chin and cradled his head.
Neither Paul or I were in a hurry to rush him to the vet, knowing this may be the last moments we had to share with him. Knowing when we took him, we wouldn’t be bringing him home. My mind raced to all the things Jack still hadn’t completed on his Bucket List. We still had to go to the beach on a sunny day, he still had to go to Petsmart to pick out anything his nose touched. I needed more time.
“Maybe we should get him a hamburger?”
“You want me to get him a hamburger, okay, I will go.” Paul said as he reluctantly walked towards the door. “Jack, I am going to get you a hamburger.”
With that Jack’s floppy ears perked up and he steadily rose to all fours. Slowly, but with determination, Jack took four steps towards the door, his tail slowly wagging. I caught Paul’s eye,
“He seriously couldn’t walk at all before, I swear, brace his head, be careful, he is going to fall!”
Paul cautiously opened the front door for Jack, who was now determined to make it all the way outside.
“Come on Jack!” Paul said enthusiastically, “You can do it Jack, come on outside.”
Jack still walking steadily had now found more strength in his legs and made it onto the porch and then trotted cautiously down the two front steps and into the bushes where he peed and when he finished he looked up to Paul with a stare that was so clear I could of sworn I heard him say, “So about that hamburger!”
December 1998 – Still to TBD and his mom is sooo happy about that!