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How To Know?


After a call today from my Vet that a neighbor called them that my dog once again got through a window, this time closed, and was found a half a mile down the road at the town beach–I must now make a serious decision about him. This is the fourth time he has broken through a window to get out, a new and strange behavior. Each time he comes home more and more disabled and closer and closer to death.

I have spoken to both vets at my office, one my dear friend, and they both seem to feel it’s some kind of mental/emotional/anxiety behavior coming on in his old age. It could be a brain tumor, but there would be no way to know and there has been no other indication besides this jumping out of windows.

Today he had to climb on a table and push open a very difficult window to open. Once again I feel awful because I did not lock it thinking there is no way he could possibly do such a feat, especially given he is still recovering from his last episode. But indeed he did!

I’m told dogs have jumped out of two-story windows at such times. Now I’m hearing all sorts of horrid tales of peculiar behaviors as dogs age. But I personally have never experienced such things in my older dogs.

It has always been a simple–not easy–but clear-cut choices to get to the point where it is time to put an animal down. They have had cancer, respiratory issues or are near to death in other physical ways. But this is the first situation where I must decide if a mental situation warrants suffering.

Certainly whatever is spurring him on has become a physical situation as now he can barely walk, has cuts and sores all over him, has cuts on his eyes and a myriad of other difficulties.

But just when I think it’s time, he rallies…starts eating and going to the bathroom again. Then boom: out the next window! We discussed medicating him or crating him, but would that be quality of life for an old dog?

My vet said to give it the weekend, see how he fairs from this jaunt. I’ve asked my dog to tell me what he wants. The vet says they never die on their own–of course. So it will most likely be up to me to glean from him what’s best. I’m only hoping I will know when it’s time.

Photos: Healing


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The beagle is a tad better but still not great. Only time will tell. As an astute follower suggested~ the vet mentioned anxiety or a mental problem vs. him running off to die. She said that was a cat thing and generally not dog behavior. Or he may have learned a new thing~ and she said they won’t recall the misery they caused themselves (or me) previously. She agreed he’s too old to medicate or crate so we will see how or if he recovers. He didn’t appear particularly stressed, but who am I to say? I’m only one human. I have as of yet not figured out my own species~ let alone another one!

Do Dogs Go Off To Die?


0723142002aWith my beagle suddenly starting an odd new behavior of ripping through screen windows and running off at 13 or so years of age and I am wondering if this is the beginning of the end. While he was always a runner at every chance he got: if someone dropped the leash by accident, or mistakenly opened a door too quickly–he never, ever purposely barged through something simply to get free.

The first time it happened, I blamed it on the fact that someone had come to drop off a phone book. He always was a barker when he saw someone near the house, but hadn’t ever tried to get through a door a window to them. He was lucky the first time as someone must have grabbed him early and put him on the back porch.

When it happened again, I blamed myself for leaving the same window open only a crack figuring he would never be able to get it open! But indeed he did, and again escaped. But this time was missed for 24 hours. This is way too much for and old dog with a huge fatty tumor on his underside and already arthritic limbs. His eyes were cut, he was dehydrated from the very hot weather, hungry and hurt. Someone found him maybe after 12 hours, far from where I live. Luckily he’s tagged and they called the police from the next town. They called my police department but they weren’t open until the next day. I had left a message that he was missing, so they called me. He had been with the dog control officer who had fed him. But he was in a very sorry state.

I left work to get him so he could recuperate at home. It took a few days and he seemed better, but took a turn for the worse after a week. He stopped eating and was stumbling. So it was off to the vet. Since he’s old, we started simply at first with Subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics and special food. After a couple of days, he was starting to turn the corner. Until today.

My daughter called me at work just before I was due to leave to say he was missing again. She was home at noon and hadn’t noticed! Typical 20-year-old. Her excuse was that she thought he was in another room. This time he had climbed on chair to get out window that was 3′ off the ground! I couldn’t even believe it!

In all  my years of living here–eight to be exact–he has never, ever done anything like this before! It so happened my neighbor was installing a stove I bought from him and when he came over he said: is that your beagle outside? I nearly leaped for joy!

But I maybe shouldn’t be so happy. He looks awful. This third escape has seriously taken a toll. He can barely walk this time. His belly is so red and sore and his eyes are almost closed. It’s so sad.

So I ask: do dogs go off to die? I feel so guilty about leaving the windows open. I’ve read that they do this kind of behavior. But I also wonder if he simply learned some crazy new trick and just keeps trying it? But why? Doesn’t he know how hurt he gets? And if he went off to die, why did he come back?

My wonderful vet (and dear friend) happens to be out-of-town of course. I may have to make the painful decision to put him down. I would never see an animal suffer. And maybe he was wanting to go?

I’m a paramedic. I work with people. They can tell us they are in pain and want to die. Animals can’t. Maybe they do things like jump out of windows because they are following their instincts to let the pack move on without them. Then it becomes up to us to decide. He came home to me to make that decision.

As the thunder and lightning comes shattering down, I am only grateful he is not in it. Brinkley and I have had a tentative relationship. I didn’t pick him, my daughter did. I’m not fond of hounds, but we have come to grow tolerant of one another over the last years. He was a rescue dog. Maybe we’ve given him a good life and can now give him a good death. Or maybe he will do it himself. I can only hope.

Photos: Random


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Weather The Storm


It never ceases to amaze me that after someone makes the move to cut you out of their life, they often turn around after with great remorse. Seemingly it always seems to be the people who do this without care or tact, they do it rudely and hurtfully. And then, either shortly or some time after, come swooping back gushing flowery words telling their true desire or care for you. It totally baffles the mind!

So, why then, did they go in the first place? It has become apparent to me that either don’t make the same long-term commitment to others that I do, or they base leaving on a particular act or feeling. One moment in time constitutes enough of a reason to tell the other person to get lost.

While it is true that not every case is like this and many relationships/marriages/friendships may weather many storms and then finally hit the tornado that breaks the foundation apart. I understand these situations. But I have found more and more this not to be the case. Rather no-one seems to want to put their heads into the wind anymore with someone else and face the winds together. It is just easier to say: I’ll push you out there yourself and close the door to the storm cellar where I’m safe.

But then, why stick your head out again looking for that person? They would have been bruised and battered by the storm. And adding insult to injury by claiming love or cherishing when you pushed someone out there simply sounds utterly, well, ridiculous!

How then, to avoid these kinds of situations? Well, we can just never trust anyone! I’ve tried that before. But the storms can be dark and lonely to battle alone. And it can be nice to share an umbrella now and then. Getting to know someone takes time, so not rushing that can be helpful.

More importantly, the burden falls on the people who do the dumping. Although we can’t control them, we can try not to be them. Thinking before we leave a friendship, marriage, relationship is critical. Thinking about the devastation we leave in our wake is critical! It’s not just about us! Empathy-even when we may feel like garbage-is the key. And remembering that at one time at least, we cared about this person we’re about to wreak havoc upon, even if we’re not crazy about them presently.

Finally, thinking about why you are doing it. Is it because you are in some moment that is ticking you off? Is it something that will pass? Maybe you can do something instead of telling them to take a hike: maybe you can GO for a hike, go talk to a friend about it, write, listen to music, run, meditate or whatever it is you do to come down off your anger (beside use substances to excess). If the moment passes, then you won’t make the dumb mistake and be writing that person the idiotic email saying how much you miss them! And they won’t be telling you what a jerk you are later. If it doesn’t pass, then communicate in a mature way with the other person. At least let them know there’s a problem! If it isn’t solved them–seek help together! There’s so many places to get help: professional or otherwise.

There’s no need to just be cruel. If you did indeed love or care for someone: friend, lover or spouse–then don’t let anger or hurt blow it. Just stop and think before you do something that may end “the best thing you ever” had or make you lose “someone you cherish” (these are both quotes -post dumping-from two people who ended it with me)

No-one says it’s easy getting along with someone else, but walking away during the storm will only leave you standing in the rain.


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Photos: Blast


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Photos: Upward


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Photos: Flying


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Balance Beam


I feel as though much of life is lived as though on a balance beam–walking gingerly, one careful step in front of another, trying desperately not to fall off. It can apply to so many aspects of our daily lives: our emotional well-being, our physical self, our spiritual life, our relationships or even our financial standing. We balance so many things, each and every minute, we not even be aware of some things. We become like Olympic gymnasts training for some great event. The exhaustion of this perpetual feeling of being poised, wavering and anticipating a possible plunge can be utterly exhausting. This, in turn, produces stress to all of our systems both physical and mental, that makes toppling off almost inevitable.

Not only does every day life produce the possibility of losing one’s balance very great, but there is always the added factor of being pushed. When one enters any kind of relationship or friendship with another person–no matter who that person might be–the unpredictability of outside forces increases ten-fold.

We all know that is hard enough to really understand ourselves. If we add any kind of mental instability, balancing on the beam becomes incredibly problematic. Doctors prescribe medication and maybe therapy, but one wonders if these may only tend to make us more groggy and unsteady? But trying to understand and getting to know the psyche of someone else can be utterly baffling, especially if they don’t know themselves? Then how does one predict anything?

One may present themselves as a certain persona, and this may be true. Or it may be what they believe to be true or it may be an utter lie. So we walk on the beam under the impression of a given set of information from this person. They may promise things, take vows and all may be true in the moment. But when the moment changes for that person, but not the other–we can’t help but fall off! And what if there is no safety net underneath?

Life hits us with so many unexpected things: health issues, car accidents, death of a loved one, money loss, divorce, affairs, getting dumped–you name it. The key is figuring out how to stay on the balance beam! This is what I’ve been trying to learn. In the past when I got knocked off, I would easily curl into myself, blame myself and go to a very dark place. In the more recent years, gathering inner strength through mediation, yoga and forgiving myself and others–has made it much easier to stay balanced when something comes at me threatening to tip me off. I may wobble and I may even do one of those fancy moves like an Olympic Star, but I stay on and simply say: I meant to do that!

It comes down to realizing that life will throw things at us but if we can remain strong: physically (by working out, eating right and breathing), spiritually (by practicing whatever works for us), emotionally (by being around loving and caring people) and intellectually (by continually learning, growing and striving for new things)–we may stay upright. It may take time to get physically strong–learning to eat right might be something we have to change and working out is not something we all long to do. But in the end, your body will thank you. Growing healthy and loving relationships can be difficult in this age of throw away ones. It may be hard to know who is real and who isn’t–some of the people we meet or work with may be the very ones who end up knocking us off the beam! Staying strong, being patient, believing in one’s self, being honest and true to one’s own feelings and trusting those ‘red flags’ go a long way in building foundations. Only time builds good friends–the ones who run quickly weren’t worth it anyway. Our intellect can be cultivated by anything that interests us: our hobbies, the news, reading, our job–as long as we keep nurturing our minds.

By staying balanced within ourselves, we should be able to walk with ease on the narrowest of beams. Even in times of deepest stress or troubles, picture yourself like the most toned athlete standing there on the end just getting ready to do some amazing move. They stand perfectly still and focus, they breathe and  believe they can do it–they picture the Gold and then leap with the picture of a successful landing in mind! We all too can do this on our own balance beams and come out winners in the end.

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