rescue affords us certain freedoms and liberties while burdening us with certain responsibilities.

Posted: October 14, 2008 at 11:09 pm

like becoming “experts” in something without the benefit of university degrees. 40 years experience of owning several dogs in reality gives you forty years of experience in owning several dogs….it doesn’t make you much of a master of anything really.

now i could tell you quite honestly that over the years,  i have been involved in the rescue and on going care of probably more than one thousand animals and many of them old or sick…does that make me an expert?…i wish it did. every animal is different, every animal is unique…i know a lot about somethings but not even close to everything i happen to need. and that is what keeps me searching for the answers to each of them here…not just the black and white but the grey in between things.

it is that grey zone that is the hardest to navigate thru, caring is not as simple as giving a pill. it is not just a training exercise to teach them to sit and stay. it is not just about socialization or even letting species be the species they were meant to be. it is about a whole separate issue called “quality of life.” and quality of life is a highly specific and uniquely individualized personal experience.

quality of life is different for cuddles than it is for gwen and al. cuddles wants to lay draped over my lap and al wants me to throw the ball and gwen wants to be beside her beloved mo….cuddles does NOT want me to throw the ball and al is not the least bit interested in sleeping on me. percy’s means something bigger than spots does, percy is almost a multi-species animal inside a juvenile cow’s body while spot is not interested in much except being a cow without a job…she likes this retirement thing.

milo wants to play, maude wants to run, phoebe wants to be a red whirling wonder and the chi’s want to bake in front of the fire (unless it is a sunny day and then they want to check out the fields just because.) eddie wants to drool on me in the dark and dixie wants me to open a food can and bugger off, boo wants to take multiple swipes at my hands as i look for a pair of matching socks cuz she thinks that is fun.. jesse wants to go for a walk on a leash and lexi would rather not, gideon wants apples and pete thinks they are gross but he does like gideons timothy cubes (he steals a mouthful each night).
i try not to get caught up in the thinking…one answer is right for them all. cuz really as a human being, what i want and need and makes me happy is way different than somebody else…someone else might actually feel trapped and HATE it here in the house at pooh corner while i think mexican vacations or trips down to Vegas would truly and royally suck.

some folks actually LIKE eating vegetables while i prefer to eat cookies and cake.

to each his own and that is the hidden secret in senior and end of life rescue. find that each that they want to own and let them if you can. they are not some piece of clay for me to squish and mold into the best that they can be…they are allowed to make choices and be whoever it is that they want to be.

and then there is ty. sweet, sweet dog…and utterly and completely flat….. no animation, no joyfulness, pretty much no personality. and i have been watching and thinking about him…is he sad? is he depressed? is he even unhappy or sad? or is he just plain sick?

his xrays showed today a massively enlarged heart, we are still awaiting the bloodwork and cardiology reports. it is pretty hard to be happy if you just have absolutely zip for available energy and even joy needs energy to flow. his heart is so poor, he can’t even keep himself warm and i have to keep a constant watch for him to need help to stop shivering. tonight it took several fleeces heated up to toasty in the dryer to make him finally feel warm. and then he sighed and started rubbing his face in comfort against the pillow on the couch.

so what is the answer for tyler? will medication help him to feel stronger and more vibrant again?…will it help him to one day find happy? maybe or maybe not, we will try and give it some time while we wait and see. i have had so many cardiac dogs…too many to even count. every single one of them has presented differently and for quality of life, needed something unique to themselves.

is ty sick or sad…or is ty both or neither…i don’t know the answer to this yet, i am hoping that eventually tyler will tell me.

running saints would be way easier if i was an expert at something but the only thing i am expert at, is really and truly caring.
there are no pat answers in rescue…there are no “this is the one and only” responsible way…there is trial and error, success and failure and everything in the middle of both.

BUT is it about this ONE animal, each and every time? cuz if it is about more than that then it is not about any really at all.

forty years of experience, 1000 animals thru my hands…what does it mean to tyler? sweet bugger all cuz tyler is the only tyler that i have ever cared for before.

2 Comments on "rescue affords us certain freedoms and liberties while burdening us with certain responsibilities."

  • Rae says

    Poor Ty, he’s been cold for a long time I bet. I remember those warm blankets from the hospital, it’s like instant heaven. You’re so right Carol each animal, each diagnosis presents itself in a different way and makes each situation totally unique. Whether he has a short time or a long time with you I think Tylers happy that someone is finally trying to unravel his puzzle.

  • Marisa says

    This is an amazing post, Carol! One of those, “Yes, yes, yes…she’s SOOO right” posts. I especially love the last line because that’s what it’s really about. Every single animal is an individual and they couldn’t care less about the animal with the enlarged heart you took care of last year and what that animal needed. They just want to be cared for as they are, who they are. You have a rare gift of insight into these matters.

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