It turns out that Rascal most likely has a benign tumour that is affecting his bowel movements. We've been noticing that he's been having difficulty pooping, and when we took him to the vet and described his symptoms, we ended up booking a biopsy for the following week. He will likely need surgery, but we need to get an opinion from a specialist because it is sitting in an awkward position.
This discovery happened to coincide with a flare up of his arthritis (he is eleven years old this year) and with him contracting a virus (probably while he was at the vet, heh). He's been restless and unhappy, and unable to settle. He has good days and bad days. On a bad night, we'll be awakened several times by him needing to go outside to try to poop, sometimes unsuccessfully.
So yeah, if you're new to this blog, Rascal is my dog.
I've been thinking a lot about how people can be so dismissive about people's feelings toward their pets. They're usually either people who don't like animals (and therefore, are people with whom I have difficulty relating), or people who just don't like dogs (ditto). And, whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions about how much emotion we should put into our relationships with our pets, I feel it is important to point out what I think is the obvious:
You can't help what you love.
I don't have children (and the reasons why I don't are nobody's business but my own, by the way), so Rascal is the closest thing I have to one. He is a delight. I never realized how wonderful it was to have someone greet you at your door with all of the happiness he could muster until Rascal came into our lives. Even now, while he is not feeling well, when I come home from work, he sits up and wags his tail and limps to the door. He looks for me when I am late coming home. He makes sure he cuddles with me before he goes to bed. He comes to me when I am upset, and he makes me laugh when I need it the most. He is my husband's companion, and the most popular dog in the town, because he greets every single person he meets. Every. Single. Person.
How could I possibly not love something that gives me so much?
Right now, he seems to be feeling a little more comfortable, and we are buoyed by the idea that a surgery might heal his troubles. Even so, I have spent the last few days trying hard not to take him for granted, and trying hard to make sure he is comfortable.
I read this post by Rachel Mary Stafford the other day, about the day she vowed never to tell her daughter to "hurry up" again. In it, she writes:
I witnessed expressions on her face that I'd never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That's when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.Perhaps what I am most aware of right at this moment is that those beings in your life who are Noticers really truly are a gift, whether they are your children or your pets or your mothers, fathers, students, whoever. In my constant struggle to slow down in my frenzied, busy life, my little Noticer is a great example of how I want to be. Who cares if he wants to smell every single flower on the path? I love flowers, and his dawdling has helped me to discover new ones over the years. So what if he is intrigued by the fuzzy caterpillars? I used to be as intrigued myself, and maybe I still am, now that I think of it. And who cares if he wants to bask out in the sun just a little bit longer. A little sunlight on my face with my eyes closed never hurt me.
I'm off to sit next to my little family and knit for a while. Have a lovely evening.