Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sermons in Stone by Luke Robinson

Sunday, June 19, 2011
republished from the 2 dogs 2000 miles blog

And this our life,
exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees,
books in running brooks,

Sermons in stones
and good in everything.

I love this passage from Will Shakespeare’s As You Like It and for this Father’s Day, I couldn’t find one more appropriate. It speaks to the fascination and beauty found in the simple wonderment of nature. It’s reminiscent of my father who first taught me that and as a dad myself, it’s a lesson my own boys, Hudson and Murphy, always keep me mindful of.

Life is a messy thing but there’s no finer, more effective therapy for it than a good piece of wood in your hand, the path beneath your feet, and your sons at your side.

This Father’s Day for me is a bittersweet celebration. It was one year ago today we walked the final mile into Boston but it’s also Murphy’s last day. Tomorrow he will be given eternal rest.

A few weeks back Murphy’s left eye ruptured and I made the decision to have it surgically removed rather than euthanizing him then. He was still willful, eating healthfully, and in true Murphy tradition, full of piss and vinegar.

It was a controversial decision and one which tore me up internally. I suspected the rupture probably meant the tumor had breached the orbit, a suspicion that was confirmed by the vet during surgery. At most I hoped for a couple of months together and if we were lucky, a few more than that.

Since the surgery, we have seen a deterioration of mobility in his right hind leg which can only mean motor cortex involvement - that the cancer has finally spread to his brain. And though he has had some really good days this week in Eureka Springs and yesterday at 3 Dog Bakery, I know what comes next and that I cannot allow to happen to my boy.

I have no doubt now the decision I made to extricate his eye was medically unsound but it was not an inhumane one. I don’t write this because I feel a need to justify it to anyone. I absolutely don’t give a goddamn what people think about the choices I have made on behalf of Murphy.

I am writing about it because to me this is what being a father means. It means having to make extremely hard decisions often in the absence of any certainty and always in the face of adversity.

A father’s love is the grit and iron will that cannot be ground down even at the end. It’s looking into the eyes of your dying son and finally admitting, “I can’t save you.”

To all of the fathers who have had to say that and to the ones who thankfully haven’t – this is our day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thunder’s Tale by Mark Bucklad

Hi, my name’s Thunder. I am a long hair miniature dachshund and I am a cancer survivor since October, 2008, when I was diagnosed with lymphoma, just a month after my third birthday. Some present, huh? I will never be cured, but I am getting treatment and am currently in remission. This is not my story. This is the story of two of my brothers.

The first is Butch. I met him when I was very young. He was not. He showed me a lot of great stuff that my human’s couldn’t. Butch came to live with me when one of his parents had to move to an Assisted Living Facility and the other to a Hospice facility. Butch was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in his throat, a day after I was diagnosed with my lymphoma. He had a difficult time; first with eating, then afterwards drinking. He stood bravely when his prognosis was poor. He went to the Rainbow Bridge to be with his real dad. I’m sure they missed each other. I miss him every day. He was my big buddy. I used to drive him nuts.

I’d now like to introduce you to my next big brother, Laddie. My parents were looking to adopt another before Butch and I were diagnosed and had Laddie lined up. He was looking for a new home because his dad passed away. I found out that not many people want senior dogs. I don’t know why, they’ve been great to me. Laddie used to pull me into his thick coat to keep me warm when I was not feeling well. Chemotherapy takes a lot out of you. Sadly, I was too sick myself to recognize that he was also not feeling well. My parents thought something was not quite right though. Treatment was started, but it was too far progressed. I only got to know him for 7 weeks as he too crossed the rainbow bridge 3 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer of the spleen. I miss him every day, too.

My treatments continue to this day and I hope that my good days continue to outnumber my not so good day. Oh yeah, since my mom is a breast cancer survivor, I wear a Breast Cancer awareness collar to support her.