The Animal Dance

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“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”  ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

It was a comforting sight, the nearly full moon poised to drop down behind the ridge where Camino Ovejeros heads on up to the mesa. A micro glacier on the deck before me glistened with the moonlight as my head moved unsteady. I’m kind of a mess this morning. Two days ago I wrote about the death of babu, then yesterday came another dog. I’ve written enough about Sky, the rat terrier, here, and I am feeling wrung out after a long, difficult day yesterday, so I’ll be fairly short about it this morning. My ex called me just after 7 AM, and left a message because I was out doing my sunrise watching chicken tending routine. She wanted me to come over because the dog was dying. I misunderstood her, so I thought the dog was already gone. When I arrived at the house I could see that he was almost gone. She was holding him, standing in the kitchen. He barked at me. He always does when she is nearby. She put him down on the floor and he got around pretty good. I’ll spare the details, none of which were at all gruesome. It was simply clear that his physical body had run out of steam. Old age, kidney failure. Natural. Fourteen years old. We sat and watched him run around. Terminal agitation. I got up and followed him around after a while, to help if he got stuck somewhere. Outside. Back in. He did pretty good for an unsteady fella. Heck, even I bump into furniture on occasion. I used humor to keep myself steady and supportive. I even got him to bite Foghorn Leghorn, his favorite squeaky toy. After a while she finally assented that it was best, so we took him into town, to Salazar vets, and the doctor provided her services impeccably. When we got back to the house we sat on the ramada and sipped wine, and talked for quite some time before I returned home.

After my post about Babu the other day I got an email from a friend who reminded me that beyond the good doctor there extends the caring team of shelter staff, and how crucially important the team effort is, and how hard it can be on the team to deal with what we deal with. Hundreds of animals are nurtured to the point where they are ready, then the marketing begins. That was always my strong point: marketing. But the strongest point needs to be underscored enthusiastically. It’s the team, and the love. You can go down and volunteer, but unless you get down and dirty “in the trenches”, day after day, there is no way of knowing. The energy of what goes on in the shelter blooms full spectrum, every day, and the taxation on the emotions and mind is tremendous. I miss it, yes. So, go give those folks a hug. The stock phrase that is used at the shelter is “It’s all about the animals”. With three months’ distance from the shelter work I have to amend that saying a tad. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my shelter experience taught me, in a way I never knew before, that humans are friggin animals as well. Before, the knowledge was abstract intellectual interest. But I learned. A full swarm of conscious beings, dancing every day, all in their allotted roles. I was once a dancer, and I look now at all of those good people, playing their allotted role, doing their noble work, and I can only hope that they don’t let self sacrifice go too far. Y’all are animals too, my friends. Take good care of yourself as well. Otherwise your job is never quite complete. Just do it. I have to chuckle here, noting that the good doctor pushed me to remember the team and the scope of the work. I love y’all for what you do. That goes for you too, boss. Keep up the good work. Take care of yourself, most of all. Somebody’s got to do it. You do it well. Thank you.

Well, I guess it wasn’t short after all. I’m a mess today. I lost my dog. Over the Rainbow Bridge, off to Summerland. That’s what we pagans call it. I’ve seen the place. My dog is in good hands.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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