Friday, September 23, 2011

Ruby Love

Cancer. Insidious and impartial, it steals from us. The ones we love, people and pets. Precious pieces of our lives. Joy replaced by sorrow, anxiety, and fear. Bill’s finally noticed. Ruby is losing weight. She is, slowly. Her face is thinner and her waistline is more visible. For how many years I had her on weight maintenance dog food, topped with green beans, trying to get her to lose weight so the vet wouldn’t lecture me at every appointment. Now, she could eat to her heart’s content and yet she’s losing weight.
She’s had a good life. Nine years. I found her in a shopping cart out in front of Wal-mart one late summer morning. A little ball of white fluff. Her brother the same but with a dark brown mask over his eyes. “She’s got a great personality,” her owner claimed. I was sold. I ran through the store buying puppy chow, a collar, leash, treats and a handful of toys. She tried to sit under my feet as we drove home. Not the safest way to drive, but fortunately we lived only a few minutes away.

Michael was a few weeks shy of his first birthday. He would crawl around the house, Ruby right at his side. Nose to nose, they were inseparable. She grew much faster than he did. Our Willow was almost a year and a half old by then-my very first Mother’s Day present when I was pregnant with Michael. The two dogs were constant companions for our precious baby boy.
Soon we would pack up and move to Ohio. Michael climbing into their crate, sandwiched between black and white. I think he often thought himself to be one of them as much as maybe they did. Their little pack, an odd lot, but family just the same.

Cancer took our Willow this past February. She was ten. I never knew a more loving dog. She gushed love, practically oozed it from her pores. Now it’s stealing our Ruby, little pieces at a time. There isn’t anything we can really do for her. Surgery isn’t an option, even if we could afford it. Chemo might give her a few more months. Months. Being sick. I can’t see putting her through that. She doesn’t act like she’s hurting, though I think dogs are very good at masking their pain. They don’t let on until it’s too much for them to bear—unlike us, who whine and complain over the slightest ailment. Animals are so much braver and stronger than people.
So, we take one day at a time. Thankful for what God has given us that day. A hug, belly rubs, kisses. She’s a good, good dog. We’ll love and spoil her up until the end, every day together a precious gift. Love you Boo Girl—more than you’ll ever know!!

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