For The Love Of A Dog

Aug 20, 2013 | Musings

photoIt has been about a year now since Amber slowly lowered herself down to the floor and was unable to get back up.  Her tail was wagging, and her lovely brown eyes connecting with whomever would lay by her side.  The vet was summoned and determined she was not in pain.  The paralysis was a mystery.  I watched as Papa and Rob lifted Amber’s limp body and supported her while she ate.  They carried her outside for necessary business.  They arranged pillows and blankets for optimal comfort.  Papa slept on the couch near her and listened for her breathing.  I left Vermont to head home to Philadelphia tearfully: expecting this to be the last goodbye to the golden girl who had been in our family for so long.  Days went by, and old Amber was hanging on.  She was devouring Nanu’s chicken and rice voraciously, and given her circumstances, seemed fairly content. Papa had a masseuse come and work her muscles to reduce atrophy.   They decided to have a wheel chair designed and built.  I had never heard of anyone doing this, and I was overcome with admiration. Theoretically.  the dogs legs would dangle and as she was walked it would strengthen her body.  The cooking of home made meals, the lifting, the sleeping by her side went on for many months.  Then, about 6 months ago, I was on my daily phone call with Nanu when she began screeching in disbelief.  Amber was standing up!  I was sure my mother was seeing things.   But alas, at Christmas, Amber was moving about at will.  It was truly miraculous! I think I cried harder than I did when I thought I would never see the old gracious girl again.

The other night,  Amber rested peacefully next to Papa as she had most of the nights of her life, and she left this world on her own terms.  My parents and my brother showed this animal such respect and devotion, that my love for them grew infinitely deeper. Their humanity and tenderness given with no expectations – just for the love of a dog. I love you Nanu and Papa and Robby.  Amber was so lucky to be cherished by all of you.