Tag Archive | death

The Treachery of Images


This is not my dog.
She’s camera shy. This is a close approximation though!

Okay, I’m a bit behind on posts for May, but here’s what happened . . .

In the aftermath of the fire and Fling, my dog died. The circumstances were typical for my life — in that they were crazy.

The dog’s vet of many years, incredibly, refused to put her down without my first giving a 2-week trial of a very expensive drug ($10  a pill) for arthritis. But the dog just had just been on a similar medication for a month — which didn’t work. Now I’m standing here, tell you the dog had just had a massive IVDD attack where she almost ran herself to death while yelping in pain. She is suffering intensely, has lupus and IVDD, and . . . .

No. He refused. The bastard.

So I took my dog home. She had three more IVDD attacks in the night. By the last one, she was unable to walk. She could only lay there and bark in severe pain (despite my giving her pain pills).

The next morning, I called a mobile vet, a woman vet.  She agreed the dog was suffering and put my dog down — in my dining room (not on the table!) — the next evening.

That was Wednesday.

Friday, I contacted a local chow rescue group and gave them my particulars. Sunday morning they found me a good match (although she had K-Cough and scheduled to be put down that afternoon because the shelter doesn’t treat!). I called the shelter, said I would take the dog, and  Tuesday I picked a young, adult, red chow* and golden retriever mix.

Yep, that’s right. One week after my beloved black chow* border collie dog died, I brought home a new one.

I’m not heartless. I’m not afraid to feel the pain of loss (of pets or people). I do feel it. But there’s a world of people, places, creatures, things to be loved. Why deny them? Why deny myself?

I have some friends who have yet to replace their dog — which died 4 years ago. Such a waste. I have some friends that are still thinking about their ex, 3 years later. Or the job they lost. Or the place they once lived.  Or . . . .

You only get so many days on Earth. Why would you want to spend more than a few in grief? What’s the point of that?

From one of my wise old Jewish friends, I learned you have to bury what’s dead within 3 days and go on living. More than 3 days, and there’s a danger you’ll hang on to something in a way that’s unhealthy.

Real living things are all around, waiting to love and be loved. Images of things lost are only images. And therein lies their treachery.


*Yes, I like chow chows. Best dogs ever! Elvis and Queen Victoria had chows. Really, need I say more? The dog of The King and HRH the Queen.

This magic moment . . . started out totally shitty.

Writing isn’t always an easy disease to cope with. There are times, as with any other profession, writers want to quit. And then something happens, which I have to confess is usually a totally out of the blue event, that’s completely horrible, that you realize much later you totally needed and may even become the springboard of your greatest work. (Note: I never said your work itself was great, just that for you, it might be the best you’ll ever be capable of producing — I’m a realist. )

All writers have these moments. Usually, even in that moment they realize this is “that” type of moment. They start looking at it as a scene or part of a story, even as they’re living it in real time. Writers carry this sort of fractaled world inside their heads. Things are always bubbling to the surface, at weird times — even rather inappropriate ones. I’m not sure if this is a coping mechanism or not. For myself, I rather think it totally is and I often consider stopping writing just to see what the real world is really like. (I mean, beyond my constantly updating, multi-story line, pretty dysfunctional, writing addict version of it.)

But, back to the magic shit. Because shit is magic. It makes things grow. (You learn these things when you grow up among people who grew up and remained close to the land. Suburban farmers. Sigh. But one up on survivalists. I think.) I had some Shitty moments over the weekend. I woke up to excited barking and someone screaming my dog’s name (never good, when the dog is 50lbs). My fear was the dog had knocked over someone frail and elderly. I sprang naked from my bed and burst into the hall. The dog was running around the house — she had gone completely insane. Teeth + Insane = Not Good.

The house was totalled. Don’t even ask about the porcelain. But an antique family heirloom statue of The Infant of Prague is now headless (well, I stuck a pencil up his . . . and now he’s sort of a bobble head, temporarily). The dog attempted to run through corners of the house — up a fax machine, an oak captain’s chair, a file cabinet . . . . Eventually I got her to run outside. Things got worse. She ran around the yard barking and quite out of her mind. I know this because she ran through rose bushes that caught on her fur and scratched her face, and into wire mesh, and into the corner of the potting shed, and howled and crapped.

Of course I had to help her, best I could. So I ran after her, naked (we have only 5′ fences — ah, the neighbors!). I yanked her out of bushes and lumber piles and gates of iron. She ran, and ran, and ran and barked. Eventually I was able to throw a blanket over her and a lasso. She continued to run. We wrestled her into the car and drove her to the vet where she was sedated (and given fluids and a blood panel). The vet said it was as if she had heat stroke but it’s been cold. He suggested poison, but nothing had changed with her diet. It was weird; there was no explanation.

I’ll probably have to put her to sleep tomorrow morning. Her condition 72 hours on is ok, but she seems unable to see her food bowl (though she will eat from my hand) and when she does eat, she becomes severely anxious and can’t stop panting. I just don’t see her getting better or having any quality of life. I’m not so lacking in compassion that I would condemn her to life simply to keep me from grief and sorrow. Perhaps what all this means, taken in toto, is that I’m not so distanced from the realities of the world. Maybe it’s because I write, that I am able to see the world as is, and live a real life, in real time, with real emotions.

Maybe I’m just full of shit.