Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dog Lovers A Different Type Of Breed

yesterday morning my friend danya had to put her pet labrador down. "gleely" the poor thing, had an advanced tumor in the liver and the vet did not think that she would survive the surgery. danya had been shlepping back and forth to the vet for the past two weeks with gleely for other problems. a couple of weeks ago, gleely had a unilateral nosebleed. apparently, this is quite common in dogs and you are supposed to handle this like you would for children or adults. of course, this is really frightening for the dog owner to watch. when danya called me she was totally stressed out. from what experience i have had with nose bleeds, i remembered that you should pinch the nose and hold the head backwards and that sometimes you should apply an ice pack. that's easier said than done when you are dealing with a huge dog. i immediately ran to my computer and looked up dogie nosebleeds. it said pretty much what i thought and just wrote. it suggested keeping the dog calm and immobile. i called danya back and tried to reassure her that the nosebleed by itself was not life threatening and asked her if she had any rescue remedy. i have given my dogs rescue to calm down many times. it was a life saver when we were hearing the loud booms of the ketushas dropping right here in zefat during the second lebanon war and was also useful after being attacked by other dogs. it works! i sometimes have to give them rescue during a thunderstorm. our dog omar, who we had in brooklyn, had to be given valium during thunderstorms. that was many years ago before we discovered homeopathy. gleely seemed to recover from the nosebleed but suddenly took a turn for the worse. the vet gave danya some pills and told her to give it to the dog or else the dog would be dead in two days. danya hid the pills in some canned dog food and successfully administered the medication. but once again gleely was not herself and now the vet said it was the brown tick fever. we ran once again to google to find out what this disease was all about and once again we reasoned that with the right meds, gleely would be good as new. we didn't understand why the front line products she had been given didn't protect her from the ticks. danya instinctively knew that gleely's immune system had been compromised. gleely didn't pick up and seemed to go down for the count. danya remained hopeful . she stayed at home with gleely and was the ultimate dogie caregiver and loyal friend. but sadly, this time the vet said that gleely couldn't come back from this. why is it that all dogie emergencies seem to happen on erev shabbos. i remember when my pincher, sushi, went missing for many hours on one particular friday morning. i was in the middle of my food preparations for the sabbath but i took a break to search the neighborhood for her. i took a breath every time i crossed the street in fear that she might be lying there dead. i came back home and made up some "missing dog" posters and again hit the streets taping these posters throughout the neighborhood. i kept on cooking and baking but my heart wasn't into it. i dreaded having to go through an entire shabbat without my beloved "sushi". i know that in the ultra-orthodox community of zefat, having pet dogs has always been frowned upon. cats were more acceptable or overlooked. before i moved to our current neighborhood in the burbs, i never would be seen taking sushi for a walk in town. and on the rare occasions that i was caught in the act, i would always say that i was dog sitting for my son's pet. as the sabbath approached and sushi still hadn't come home, i ran to put some change in the tzadaka box of rabbi Meir. it is a segula, a good luck thing to help find lost objects. i said a prayer and started to cry. i asked the Almighty above that if it was his will and if it was allowed to have pet dogs than to please help me be reunited with my pet dog for shabbos. i know that certain rabbis discourage orthodox people from having dogs because it is an additional burden to know all the laws concerning pet care on the sabbath. anyway, i was just about to light the candles for shabbos when i heard the sounds of sushi panting. i looked down and saw her. she was incredibly filthy and totally exhausted. she drank alot of water and ran to her bed and collapsed. i thought to myself, if only she could speak and tell me what she had been through all day. then there was that one fateful friday morning when my father's caregiver came back to the house to tell me that sushi was lying dead on the next street; an obvious victim of a hit and run driver. i braced myself, took a deep breath, and ran out of the house to find her. when i reached her she was still breathing. i swooped her into my arms and ran back to my house. i think that maybe, a neighbor drove me home. it still remains a blurr. i called the vet and he came over pretty fast and said that she was in a coma. he gave her a shot and told me that she had a good chance of survival. she died a half an hour after the vet left. later on my son and his friend buried her at the end of the street in the valley. that was an hour before candle lighting for shabbat. it was the day before tu b'shvat. *just a note to let you know that sushi was named shushbenim, after the biblical hebrew which means trusted servant. she was not named for the delicacy made from seaweed. we also lost our tiny dog,"paco" on shabbos. he suffered all through the night and died on shabbat day in my room. the hebrew word for dog is celev. lev is the hebrew word for heart. the dog is close to the heart. the dog loves you unconditionally. the dog doesn't care if you are unmarried, or overweight or middle aged or unemployed. he doesn't have ulterior motives. he actually enjoys your company and misses you when you leave the house. and he is genuinely glad when you return. there seems to be a interesting phenomenon lately in zefat. i have been seeing more and more ultra-orthodox people walking their dogs lately. dog lovers are definitely a different breed of people. shavua tov!

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