12 May 2008

Waiting for a sign.

Augh. It is too morose. And morose isn't fun. And you know I'm all about Fun. Life goes on. Jenna Bush got married! My mom's roses have something like slugs which is not slugs but seems like slugs! The whole former Burma debacle with cyclones and military dictatorships and such! And here I am. Just waiting for some kind of green light in a crystal ball that says, "Hey, It's a SUPER time to euthanize your dog RIGHT NOW!"

So, like I so dramatically told you I would do yesterday, I thought maybe it would be a sign if I took Timmy up to Pogonip, where he used to love to walk. And the sign would be that he'd perk up, and sniff the air, and a spark would come back into his eye and it would be a sign that he has a lot more days, rather than fewer days. I'm rubbing my hands together, I'm rolling those dice and I'm ready for my sign Now!

So we packed up all the dogs and drove them up the hill. Pogonip is a green belt of open space; redwood forests and old oak meadows. It borders on the University and some Nice neighborhoods and people with homes in the neighborhood run in there and homeless people make their homes in the forests there. Maybe you might remember the old Pogonip club house down at the bottom near Goodwill Bargain Barn from the Lost Boys. A big event when that was filmed in Santa Cruz back in the '80's. I am featured in it as an extra, although you can't see me because I'm in a car driving by and it's dark and the vampires are on the motorcycles and I don't think I ever even saw me in it. I still think vampires and Corey Feldman when I think Pogonip. So dogs go on leashes in Pogonip unless they don't then maybe they get a ticket. From the City ranger, not the State Parks ranger.

And we park up at the end of the Nice street, 20 yards from the trail head. In front of a Nice house. It's a Nice area. More square footage per garage than my whole house. Big front yards with professional landscaping. Milguard windows. No junker trucks and whole families packed into trailers in driveways. We get the dogs out, takes a moment because Timmy is slow and make our way to the path and start down the path. It's a sunny day and couples are out walking their dogs and the women all have sensible sun hats and the dogs are all golden retrievers. On the way there, Gary wanted to listen the to the Giant's game but I made him listen to songs from the Timmy playlist on the ipod because we are waiting for a sign and that seemed like a useful way to see it, me being knowledgeable of the gypsy ways for sign searching and all.

We make it about 20 more yards down the trail and Timmy has a panic attack. In front of golden retrievers and moms for mother's day and I have to grab him up and tell everyone walk is over after a grand total of about 3 minutes that's that. Back we go to the car. So much for a sign. So much for the whole Timmy standing in the meadow business and maybe a hawk will fly over in the breeze and spirit guide in a can anyone? I am restraining a squirming bundle of panic in my arms and people are looking and we just need to be back in the car and get home.

So there's this note on my windshield when we return to the car after our big 5 minute walk. Aha! It is a sign! Is my first thought. Or it is a fan letter of Team Small Dog! is my second thought. Or third thought is just some flyer about a fish fry. I have all those thoughts almost all together. Sometimes I think fast. Rarely when I need to. Gary has the small dogs and he pulls the note off and I am holding the panic attack and he shows me the note. Printed out from the computer in a stately Times New Roman, 14pt, double spaced. Which says:

Please keep the volume of your tunes down (and keep your dogs quiet) when you park in the neighborhood. We can hear the noise clearly from inside our houses.

Thanks for your cooperation.
The neighbors

Some f**ing sign and you know how I get when someone tells me what to do that is plain craziness from neighborhood facism. My mind gets this weird japanese animation image of thunderbolts and spinning teacups and speed racer and astronauts and robots hurling things all in red and black and giant eyes and screaming. That's all I see for a moment then all I can do is, swaddling my panic attack tightly in my arms, holler, "This is a public street and public land and this is normal neighborhood noise. This was normal neighborhood noise and now it is not because what kind of insanity comes from..."

I am cut off. Gary is shoving me and my big mouth into the car. I have Timmy on my lap. I can tell you exactly what Tunes I had on conservative volume when we pulled up. The Mescaleros Silver and Gold, a slow and quiet song with strumming guitars and HARMONICAS for gods sake. You know the first thing I did when we started the car to leave. Put on Led Zeppelin and put it on LOUD and put down all the windows and Gary is trying to get us out of there fast before I get in a fight with some neighbors because I stick my head out the window and start hollering something, I don't know what now, about crackhead asshole neighbors because the animae is still running in there and I am just mad.

So we got him home. Back down to our neighborhood where you can have your Tunes on whatever volume you want and everyone is ok with pretty much whatever you want to do until it involves guns. Or leaving their dump truck in front of your house for a week when they're on a surf trip using up all the parking spaces. Timmy was ok after I got him back in the house and let him bounce off the walls for a while and pumped some treats into him. I'm not really sure if I got a sign or not now. I kept looking for one the rest of the day and you know, he just slept and paced and the only thing out of the ordinary that happened was I went to the grocery store, and the husbands of people I know kept appearing to my right, saying hi and how you doing and they were all really tall. By the third time this happened. I was sort of dumbstruck and just stared at the guy like I am in a fog and tell him how the tofurkey is on sale and he meanders off and I'm like, HELLO, maybe that's the sign? The husbands and their tallness and always appearing in a grocery aisle to my right, peering down into my basket and asking hows it going?

So here's what I ask you, if you made it to the end of this story. I never know if you do. If you can tell me if THAT was a sign, and what it meant, I have a nice note from a neighbor for you, with a hand drawn by a former artist portrait of team small dog for you on it. Comment me your thoughts, and if you win you send me your real and genuine address and I send you some real and genuine former art. Maybe was worth something once, probably ain't worth nothin' now, but you deserve a prize for being a better gypsy than me.


Anonymous said...

Laura, I don't know if it is a "sign".

I believe Suzanne Clothier would say "ask the dog". Is he happy as he is now? Does he think it is time? Others have said sometimes you need to let your dog know that it is OK for them to go, that you'll be alright.

So maybe you and Timmy can find a quiet place with just the two of you and you can ask him if it is time. I'm not too good at expressing these spiritual ideas. But I'd hope he could find a way to tell you.

Keeping you both close.

Simba said...

Dude, I don't know what to tell you. Just over Christmas my mom had to deal with this with her cat...not the same..but he'd been our family pet for over 15 yrs. She just looked at the quality of his life, and realized he just wasn't having fun anymore. I think the previous comment is a good way to go about deciding.

My thoughts are with you and the rest of TSD.


team small dog said...

Yes! Me and Timmy have this conversation all the time. We spend a lot of quiet time together in the middle of the night because he is a night owl now. And the problem is he changes his mind!

So we have been sure. And I talk with his vet. And then the next day, we're not so sure. So when he's got enough wits and strength about him to change his mind, I'm like, It's a Sign!

Then he does crummy again and I think he's telling me, he's done.

Then he rallies a little. And so on and so forth. To where I start going on about gypsies and crystal balls.

Anonymous said...

This is the hardest part, even harder than AFTER.
AFTER you get to stop worrying about them and just feel how much you love them and miss them.
AFTER you get to remember how they used to be when they were young and healthy.
AFTER you get to have dreams where they come to visit and say hi and that they're fine and happy again.
NOW is the hardest time of all.

Anonymous said...

Laura, I think the husbands, always coming from the right, peering into basket, and being taller is a definite and troublesome sign, yes. In fact, I suspect that they were not taller at all, and the actual sign is that you have shrunk. You may act on this sign, now, or not. Just don't wait until you have shrunk so little that you fall down a rabbit hole. Or, else, watch carefully for rabbit holes. Or set up house in one.

Terry said...

It's so sad that our dogs lives are so short. I know what it is to love a dog and fear the day I have to start asking myself these questions.
Pat Miller wrote once about putting her Josie down. She decided to do it when Josie was having a good day. I think there is some wisdom in that and hope that I can have that kind of strength.
I don't think there is any easy way. My heart goes out to you and your family, tall and small. I hope your experience can be peaceful and loving. Terry

Elf said...

I've been silent because there are some things for which words don't come to me. This is such a hard decision. Fortunately I found someone else's words shortly after I put Jake to sleep that made me feel better about the decisions I have made in the past. I summarized it here; please read it at least the first couple of paragraphs, as I hope that it might help you. (I might have a copy of the full article around that I could send you; I'll have to look.) When I was "waiting for a sign" about Remington, I was destroying my own health with the stress of taking care of him and waiting--waiting--waiting--never knowing whether this moment was the one. It ended badly when he started having seizures in the middle of the night, but it could have been worse--a couple of hours later we'd have been in the car on the way to an agility trial, for example. I missed him so much, gods, so much, and yet when that stress had been relieved, that's when I realized what I had been doing to myself, too.


Elf said...

The article is now online: When to Let Go by Terri Arnold.

Hope said...

I don't know about signs, they often are too subtle for me, anyway. I do know what our vet says: think of your pet's three favorite things. When two are gone - it's time. One saying that gave me some comfort when I lost three animals in 18 months: "Euthanasia is the last, best gift we give our animals. We take their pain and make it our own."

team small dog said...

The Terri Arnold article is really good. It's very sad. It's about how she kept thinking it was time to put him down then it wasn't. And I looked through a Suzanne Clothier book too for wisdomy quotes. Much! But still no fortune telling like I was hoping for.

Today is my day off, and Timmy seems comfortable and lucid, as lucid as he gets. Today, if he was like this all the time, I would say he says has longer. So today, right now, it isn't his time. We might change our minds on this by tonight.

Like Karl, who called me a little while ago said, Timmy is a goofball. He's never been very serious. So I just have to keep listening to him real close I guess to try to figure out what he wants me to do.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the sign is that there isn't going to be a sign, not like when they have cancer. When my last dog died, I made a conscious decision to let him die at home. It was very, very hard, but I know it was the right thing. Ask youself where you would want to die? At home? Or in a hospital with a needle stuck in you? I knew my dog would be frightened to be taken to the vet, so he died surrounded by love and all the things that were familiar to him. I know I did the right thing.

Agility Foot said...

Crap, it's never easy, huh?
You'll know when it's time. Just breath and make Timmy comfortable as you have been doing.
You're a good mom.


OBay Shelties said...

I think the people in the "nice houses" did you a favor. Nothing like a good yell out the car window to help blow out the stress!

I lost my special girl Joy last year. When she got ill; I used to lie on the floor with her face close to mine and just breath with her. When the day came; I just knew. There was no sign just a strange sense of calm for both of us.

All the best,
Bernadette and the Shelties

pluckyfluff said...

jesus people! i thought santa cruz was the hot bed of sign reading! yes. IT WAS A SIGN. obviously, the fact that you even thought (actually not thought yourself...the idea obviously was manifested to you from one of your spirit guides. probably the "slugs" on your mom's roses. don't you think it's off they were there? slug worms do not eat roses. that's because they are not really slugs...)
where was i? oh yes, you got the divine inspiration to go to the same place where they shot Lost Boys. who is the most lost boy right now? TIMMY! that's right. and you took him there to see if he could find himself. and what happened? he got approximately 3 minutes down the trail, probably the EXACT moment that the fucking asshole neighbor was putting that note on your car. and what does Timmy do? does he just keep on walkin? NO. he uses he new psychic abilities, which he has been spending a lot of quiet time in his own world honing, as you have been noticing. his staring into the middle ground. he's not doing nothing, he's getting messages from his and your spirit guides and "others". anyhow. you guys hit the trail, Timmy gets the vision of the asshole putting nasty notes on the car and he freaks out. he knows you will return immidiatly to the car, just in time to yell at the neighbor before he gets in his Avalanche and heads out for his Lasex surgery. Timmy got you back just in time to speak out for dog-walking families everywhere. the guy was probably cowering behind the curtain. maybe he heard you. maybe he will think twice about being such hard ass in his beautiful house and maybe realize that it's ok for dog trainers, low-landers and psychic dogs to listen to tunes and walk in the forest just like anybody else. You didn't need a sign. Timmy is your sign. he is brave. he may have two paws in another world, but it's Timmy's world and it is probably a beautiful magical place. he is seeing things you don't and he's getting messages from slugs but he is with you enough to help you fight those goddamn bastards that try and make life no fun. so..i think the sign you're looking for will come from Timmy. he'll probably just put the other two paws over when he's ready. when the hawk or the slug tell him to run.

vici whisner said...

Signs, they are all around us, but sometimes they are not clear. I wish you all the strength the days ahead. It certainly isn't easy, decisions I mean. We've all been through it and yet, nope, no easier.

I must say, though, you live an exciting life with notes on your windshield, park rangers on the hunt, and "colorful" neighbors. My life is quite the dull drums next to you.

One thing that helped me for my last dog, I got a bunch of my favorite pictures and made a little scrap book, a page for each year of his life. The book was too short, but it felt good to do.
Vici (Tazz's mom)

Elf said...

Other things to ponder: Do you want to keep a lock of his fur? Do you want to make a pawprint in plaster? Do you want to keep his collar and tags when the time comes?


Beth said...

I have been through this three time in the last several years. Twice with older dogs and once with an older cat. None of them was easy and for each one there was no *sign* I wanted there to be. I wanted more than anything to see it in my pets eyes. To hear it whispered in the wind or see it in the clouds, but it was not there. It was something that I finally had to decide. When I knew that they were not getting better, when there were more days of suffering than days of happiness, when the best thing I could say was well, they are still breathing, and just hoping that tomorrow was better. It was time. I cried and cried, and still do. I miss them more than anything. I have the ashes from the last two. This spring I am going to plant a tree and bury the ashes under it. There they will give life to the tree and will, in a way, go on living again.

Anonymous said...