Chapter 9 ~ March 2005
I can't believe it.
It's been one year to the day that Pinche died.
Where oh where did the time go?
As I reread the words I wrote so long ago -- words written in so much pain -- I begin to cry again.
It was so hard!
The highs were so high, the lows so low. The hopes, the fears.
How did we ever get thru it all?
I don't know but somehow we did and even though Pinche's Journey ended with his sudden death, one year later I still consider his story to be one of hope.
Hope that things can and will get better ...if only for awhile.
Hope that against all odds, you will truimph.....if only for awhile.
Hope that when everyone says that all is lost, it is not...if only for awhile.
The lessons I learned from Pinche's Journey still accompany me and have brought with them strength at the most unusual times.
For example, just days into this new year, I found myself in a hospital emergency room.
What began as a simple stomach ache had turned into something much more serious and I was in intense pain. My screams though, quickly turned into sobs as I heard the doctors preparing to put me on a Morphine drip.
Isn't that what they give people who are dying to soothe their last moments?
The pain turned into an even more intense fear. I didn't want the Morphine.
The doctors (thankfully) didn't listen and minutes later the Morphine and I were bonding.
Then it hit me....Pinche had been on a Morphine drip too. Several times. And I never heard more than a whimper about it.
So there I was, sobbing away when it dawned on me....geez, even my dog was stronger than me!
Thoughts of Pinche coming home with what seemed like a million and two stitches but still wanting to play. The operations, the medications, the pain and there he was, tail a wagging.
Using a four-footed friend as an example, I stopped crying. Took my medication like an adult and worked my way thru the pain with barely a whimper more about it.
Thank you my doggy-hero!
While often sad, the year since Pinche left us has also been filled with many blessings -- the biggest one is that Bubba is still here.
Oh, my darling Bubba-dog! He just turned 14 and is still going strong!
Immediately after Pinche's death though, I lived in fear that Bubba would soon leave to be with his buddy.
It seemed touch and go for awhile. He didn't want to eat and seemed to be a shell of his former self. Every month, we saw his weight go down by a pound or two. When I was home, he would sleep all day -- always awaking with a start to see if I was still there.
It seemed that we had now begun "Bubba's Journey" -- the trips to the vet and the specialists started all over again. There were cat-scans, blood tests, the works. Bubba had to fast. No, he had to eat. No water after midnight. Make sure he drinks three bowls of water.
One doctor recommended we operate. Another wanted more tests. The weeks were filled with appointments here and there. The prognosis was good. It was bad. He's old. He's depressed. It will pass. It won't.
Oh my God!
It was deja-vu of the saddest kind.
And yes, the expensive kind too although when it comes to the health of a furry-friend, money is not an issue. That's why God invented credit cards, for emergencies.
Then, all of a sudden, Dan-Dan and I saw the light! Or rather we saw the videotape.
In a brilliant stroke of genius (if I do say so myself) Dan-Dan and I decided to setup the "Bubba-Cam" - a video camera to see what Bubba did while I was away at work. We hoped it would provide us with clues to his weight-loss, depression and exhaustion.
Presto -- the answers to his ailments were all on the tape!
The tapes (we did it for awhile) showed that when he was alone all he did was cry and run. All day long -- whether outside or inside.
Hundreds of times and for hours at a time he would run around the house -- back and forth -- stopping only for seconds to look thru the sliding door to see if someone had come home.
Suddenly the weight loss, exhaustion and the reason his legs seemed to be giving out were clear!
When inside, the tapes showed him pacing back and forth. For hours. And howling. The "break-your-heart-they're-pulling-out-my-toenails" kind of a cry. Often, he would walk right up to the camera lens and let out such a painful cry it made you want to cry.
With the help of Dan-Dan (who again has proved to be my doggie's guardian angel) we have limited the time that Bubba is alone. His diet has been changed and thankfully, the weight loss has stopped. During the last few months, he actually gained a few pounds although he is still under his normal weight.
It's been a long year!
To those of you who continue to write and check-in, a thousand "Thank You's!"
Earlier I wrote that I don't know how we made it thru -- well actually, I do know.
It is because of YOU!
Your thought, your prayers, your emails. They continue to make the difference. Thank you.
Pinche's Journey continues to make a difference too. I still receive emails from people who are finding strength and hope in this old dog's story.
Thank you Pinche! You were and always will be a special dog...one who left many of us with an important message of hope and love.
This weekend we will visit Pinche at Pet Haven and I'll follow that up with a post -- hopefully by Monday morning.
The perfect weather for a celebration -- a holiday celebration or simply a celebration of life.
There were no tears today -- no sad thoughts. Neither were allowed.
For you see, that wouldn't be fair to Pinche...I mean how would a guy feel if every time he peeked his furry face down from the Rainbow Bridge all he saw was a mascara-stained face sobbing away?
That wouldn't inspire any tail-wagging at all, now would it?
So today, it was all good as Dan-Dan and I, armed with a beautiful bouquet of hand-picked roses from my garden, headed to Pet Haven.
We found Pinche by first spotting the massive memorial to two pugs who's name I can't remember but boy, is their site loaded. Dozens of windmills, stuffed animals, crystal balls and a million and one other goodies decorate their resting place -- I kid you not.
And don't forget the clock -- a kitchen clock. It's still there too, ticking away. This time though I refrained from making any "timepiece" jokes lest my watch disappear again.
Anyway, back to Pinche.
Since I still haven't ordered the marker, in order to find Pinche I first needed to spot the pug tribute, which I knew was near. It's big, so that wasn't a problem.
But then I had to find Tiger. You remember Tiger, don't you? AKA "the best dog in the world". (see April 4, 2004)
Tiger....Tiger...where are you? Where is the best dog in the world?
And there was Pinche.
Or rather there was that space -- that big nothing filled with so much something: Mr. Pinche.
We left our boy the flowers and walked around the park, reading the different markers aloud. There is so much love in that cemetery!
Each marker told a story and it was always a "love story".
So many of the markers simply said "Thank You". Others had pictures and poems...phrases in foreign languages that you didn't have to speak to understand their meaning.
As we walked and talked, it struck me that this "final resting place" for pets was so much different than those for humans.
I mean, rarely do you see so many expressions of love, admiration and adoration at a people place, right? Not to mention milk bones on the grave sites.
All kidding aside, what do "human" tombs tell us? When someone was born, when they died and who they were married to?
Have you ever seen a gravestone that said "thank you"? Or how about "the world was a better place with you in it"? Or "he was a good boy who was adoringly aggressive but only bit those he truly loved"?
Could it be that we're able to express our love for a furry/feathered/scaly friend easier than we can for each other?
If so, could that be because they're able to love us in such an unconditional manner?
Maybe if we loved harder and wagged our tails more -- maybe, just maybe, someone will remember us with a "thank you".
And if they want to leave a milk bone or two, that will be good too.