A fellow volunteer asked to stay with me with me for a night to be able to catch the bus in the morning to her site which is on an island several kilometers off of the main highway that runs through my town. The one night stay turned into a four night marathon when the rains came and didn’t stop. She came in on Thursday evening, on Sunday there was some sun, but the buses and taxis don’t really run on Sundays, so she decided to head out on Monday morning. In the wee hours of Monday, the storms came back. But Pooja was set in her determination to get home after a two week trip to the US, some time in Buenos Aires, a few nights in Asuncion. She hadn’t been home in a month and had an 8-month old puppy waiting for her. We waited until the morning rain was just a drizzle, carried her brick-laden luggage over the mud and empedrado to the concrete shoulder of the highway, walked to the terminal, and put her on a bus that had just pulled in the terminal to O’Leary. At 9am she was in a taxi on the way to the boat, around 2pm she called to let me know that she had finally arrived home.
During her stay she was kind enough to leave me with a host of movies, and Marley and Me. She was reading it during her stay and I picked it up to look at the pictures in the center, then I couldn’t help but reading a few pages after the pictures. Pooja caught me and left me the book, which I didn’t want her to do because I had sworn of reading the bok or seeing the movie. The dog dies, got it, don’t want the details thankyouverymuch. But it’s a book, and I don’t have any on me that I haven’t read, so I couldn’t help myself.
The waterworks started around the time when Marley started having difficulty with getting up, going up with stairs, controlling his bowels etc.
Dot, our 15-year-old Doberman/Boxer mix, who was around 80lbs of pure affection at her peak had the same slow decline. Towards the end we had to physically pick up her backside for her because she couldn’t maneuver her hind legs into position or get them to extend. Once she was up she was stiff, but she moved more or less fine. Fortunately she was generally just content to hang out on the floor in a deaf bliss on the living room floor, so we didn’t have to elevate her by hand too often. But when the bowels start to go, that is the line in the sand for my parents. I was on spring break at a leadership camp in 2005 during my freshman year at UT when I got the news.
So far our pure-bred dogs, Gizmo and Buckwheat have died around 10-years old. Dot, the mutt, lasted until about 15. Brinkley, my parents tank of a white boxer, must be around 6, maybe 7, or so and she has a heart murmur. When my mom took her into the vet for her first check-up, the vet told her to take her back, because of her heart condition. At which point my mom started to cry; we are all already head-over heals for our little Valentine’s Day/Mom’s birthday snow baby. She is white, and when we presented her to mom, it snowed.
After reading the book I started thinking about Brinks, and Lila, and about the silly, stupid, puppy love that we have for our animals. The make our lives a living hell sometimes, peeing on all absorbent and non-absorbent surfaces, gnawing on furniture and clothing. I’ve already got ridiculously invested in my 3 month old rambunctious, impish little rabbit whose little rabbit feet must really be lucky because they are still attached and are being cared tenderly, generally patiently, by me, the one person in this city, other than Carly, who isn’t tempted to turn her into bunny chururu or bunny stew. Chururu means fried. Even now, I’m kind of hoping the Carly doesn’t go to Thanksgiving so that I can drop Lila off with her.
I can’t help but think about the email or call that I’ll get someday saying that my parents had put Brinkley down like the call I got with Dot or the text that went to my cousin Brad’s blackberry when they had to put Gizmo to sleep the day I arrived in Mexico to spend my end of high school vacation. Ugg, I don’t want to even think about it.
So thanks Pooja for leaving that hilariously funny, torturous book with me. Now I have to find an up-beat movie to watch to get it out of my head.
One year down the road - A while ago I promised some accounting, and then never followed through. Sorry for the delay. For the four or five of you who read this, here you go. I rec...
4 years ago