Sunday, October 24, 2010


My sweet beautiful puppy died today. I say puppy, but he was actually over 14 years old. He was diagnosed with bone cancer back in September, and the vet said he might have as much as a year. Unfortunately, we weren't that lucky. I've known for a week or so that I was going to have to let him go, but it wasn't a decision I wanted to make. I procastinated, but finally called a local vet and set up an appointment. She was going to come to the house tomorrow. Last night, it was raining, and Buster and I took a long walk in the cool night air. We came home, I rubbed him dry with a couple of towels, and his coat was so soft and clean. He had a dinner of half a pound of raw hamburger, and we went upstairs to bed. He slept by my bed all night.

I woke up this morning, and he wasn't there. I got up to go downstairs, thinking he needed to go outside and go potty. When I got downstairs, there was blood all over the floor. Buster was bleeding from his mouth. I grabbed a paper towel and tried to wipe his mouth. I took time to put on a pot of coffee, and then went to get the mop. It was very quickly evident that this wasn't going to stop, and the end had come. After calling my son to alert him, I dressed, covered the back seat of the car with blankets, and put on Buster's collar and leash for the last time. He gave me no fuss getting into the car. After picking up my son, we drove to the nearest 24 hour emergency vet. Buster walked in, I handed him over to a tech, and he walked down the hall. As he walked away, he looked back over his shoulder at me, and I reassured him that I'd be right there. He turned and went willingly.

A few minutes later, my son and I were in the exam room when the tech brought him back, with a catheter in his leg. We spread his blanket on the floor, and I sat on it, and cradled him in my arms, with his head resting on my chest. He sat there quietly, no struggling or anxiety. The vet injected something in the catheter, and he almost immediately went limp. I held him for a minute or two, and then my son and I wrapped him in his blanket and carried him back out to the car.

We drove to my son's house and took Buster out of the car and laid him in the back of an old pickup truck. My son went to talk to his father in law about where to dig the grave, and I stood there patting the blanket bundle. I unwrapped his head, and stood there rubbing my fingers in the thick ruff around his neck. He was still warm, incredibly. I tucked his favorite stuffed squirrel between his front legs, then wrapped him back up.

My son and I walked up into the orchard and selected a spot for him. I went inside to visit with my grandkids and daughter in law while the two men dug the grave. The soil was wet and heavy with clay, but eventually the hole was deep enough, and my son laid Buster to rest, curled up as if asleep.

I adopted Buster when he was an 8 week old puppy. He had been born in a shed in a field, and had some kind of black, sticky substance coating his flanks and head. Bathing didn't remove it, so I spent his first night at home carefully cutting the tar from his hair with a pair of embroidery scissors. He never fussed or tried to get away.

As a puppy, he would play with my son, and run in circles chasing a towel or sock until he was so exhausted he would collapse into sleep in the wink of an eye. He loved to chase a red laser pointer, and never did figure out it wasn't alive.

Buster traveled with me when I moved to Las Vegas, and was my constant companion. The night my father died, I cried into Buster's fur for hours, and he licked my face over and over again, with a curiously human look of sympathy in his eyes.

When we moved into Mom's house after Dad was gone, I thought he'd be thrilled to have a huge yard to run around in. Instead, he took every chance he could to escape. The tall hedge that bordered the propery never deterred him. He could climb four feet of chicken wire, wiggle through four feet of hedge, drop three feet to the neighbor's yard, and be halfway down the street the minute my back was turned. Sometimes, he escaped when I was right there watching him, but too far away to get to him and catch him before he got out. Eventually, we were forced to put him on a 30 foot tie-out during the day.

At night he would come in the house, trot down the hall to my room, and hop up on the bed as if it were his, not mine.

We moved out of the house with the big yard after Mom died, and into a rental trailer with no yard. Tem months later, we moved again, into a house with a tiny yard and a big garage. We got to know every dog in the neighborhood on our morning and evening walks.

Over the years, he lost his hearing, and no longer barked at the mailman or fireworks. Cold weather made his legs ache, especially the right leg, with the steel pin, souvenir of a run-in with a car when he was 14 months old. He developed stomach problems, and I began to cook his food for him, instead of buying canned.

His last months were hard. He loved the new diet of fresh meat, pasta, pumpkin and eggs. But he was getting unsteady on his feet, and every once in a while when eating, he would yelp, and run out of the room. But he never complained. When he could no longer jump onto the bed to sleep with me, he started sleeping right beside the bed, so close I could reach down and rub his head if I wanted. On our walks, instead of pulling me down the sidewalk, he walked sedately beside me, stopping often to turn his head and locate me again since the tumor in his face had blinded him in one eye.

I'll never forget how calm he was at the end, and how trusting he was, letting me hold him and whisper "I love you, sweet dog" even as he died.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I want my Mommy

I really really need my Mom right now. Things just seem so...pointless? Hopeless? Buster is so listless, it breaks my heart. He isn't eating. The last thing he ate was my leftover eggs and sausage yesterday. And he hasn't pooped since at least Thursday. I think he's gonna leave me soon. I love that old dog, and my life will have one more big hole in it when he's gone. I wish if he has to go that he would just go to sleep and not wake up. I can't bear having to call the vet and make that final decision. How can I repay all his love and devotion for 14 years by killing him? Even if it is the best thing for him, to save him from a painful death? I love him so much.

It's just been a shitty day. The pumpkins in the park thing with Sarah and Scott was a bust. Hot, crowded, Sarah her usual overbearing self. Charlie was a champ, but I didn't get to hang with him like I hoped. He was too busy with Mom. As he should be. But on the way home, I was going to stop at the library in Morgan Hill, and after I got off the freeway, I went my usual route, which of course took me right past our old house. The family there now was having a garage sale. Mom would have been spinning in her grave if she had one. The lemon tree was neglected, the parkways full of weeds. The apple tree hasn't started dropping leaves yet, though. Naturally, I started to cry big sobs, missing Mom and Dad, and wishing I could just walk up and walk into the garage and onto the patio. I want my old life back!!! I want my Mommy!!!
My heart actually aches. I mean, physically aches. Will this pain ever end? Probably not til I end it. Too much loss, too much pain, too much for me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad

Hey, guys
It's one of those great fall evenings that really make me miss you. Football on TV, cold wind blowing the clouds across the sky, dinner of baked beans and cornbread. I wish somehow you could communicate with me, and tell me why my sister hates me so much. I wonder if anyone understands even one tenth of the pain I'm feeling because I wasn't invited to Matt's wedding, and I can't even get Cassondra to allow me to see the wedding pictures.

I'm not a bad person,am I, Mom? Dad? What horrible thing did I do to deserve this? In spite of Susan's pettiness, lies, and selfishness, I still love her, and miss having her to talk to. Why, Mom? Why? I wish I believed in prayer. I've asked God for help, but just like every other prayer, he's ignoring me.

Mom, please find a way to comfort me. I need to feel your love and concern. I miss you so much.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza

Pepporoni pizza is sort of a metaphor for all that's wrong in my life. I don't like pepperoni. I eat it only as a last resort. Given my choice, I would never order a pepperoni pizza. I have made my tastes clear many times over the years. Whenever my family gets together for pizza, I always order something different. Either ham and pineapple or a combination. I've been pretty clear on the subject.

So, last night, my daughter and her husband order pizza for dinner, before I took my grandson home to my house for the night. Pepperoni. Naturally. Never even asked me what I like or want. And then my daughter took the pepperoni OFF my grandsons pizza and put it on mine!

Does no one listen? Does no one give a damn?

The county fair is this weekend. My daughter and son in law and grandson are going today. So, my daughter suggested my grandson spend the night, and they would pick him up on the way to the fair. Fine. But Mommy wanted to say good night to him before he left, so we had to stay at his house til Mommy got home at 6pm. Then we had to wait while daddy went to get the pizza. We didn't leave his house til almost 7pm. I hadn't left a light on at home, and my poor dog, who's dying of cancer, was alone in a dark house, with no dinner. Not to mention the fact that it was close to 8pm by the time we got home. I was exhausted, to say the least. But do they care?

Some people can't see beyond their own lives. They say they care about others, but they really don't. They do what's necessary to make their lives better and ignore the needs of others.

Last night, for instance, my daughter in law called because my son had to work this morning unexpectedly, she was already working, and grampa was out of town. Could I watch their three kids for the morning? She knew I had my other grandson, and that his parents were coming down to go to the fair. Didn't matter. Plus, my oldest grandson is completely covered in hives, courtesy of some unknown allergin, probably hay or a bug bite or the snowcone he had at the fair.

So she drops the kids off, and daddy doesn't pick them up til after 12 oclock. Dear daughter and son in law have already picked up grandson. Very surprised to see their nephews and niece. Upset over hives. Dressed grandson and booked it out of here in record time. Said they were meeting other daughter in law at the fair, so sorry they couldn't hang out a bit longer. Right. Gave me the impression it was somehow my fault for not telling them about grandkids last minute visit. Of course, they didn't tell me they made plans to meet other DIL either.

I'm just so tired of it all. I hate pepperoni. Maybe I should have a t-shirt made?