Two weeks ago we said goodbye to one of Ratchet’s legs; legs that had run and hiked miles of trails all the way from Astoria, along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, the mountains of the Cascade Biway, the city streets of Portland and Seattle, even right down the center of Extraterrestrial Highway. Those paws have walked the floors of some pretty swanky pet friendly hotels too!
Amputation might be one of the hardest decisions a pet parent can make but ultimately, we were reassured by our vets, that this would not only stop the pain, it would add quality time to his life. Every day we get in this life is a gift. We see more adventures in our future. Actually, the way Bubs see’s things, this mornings potty walk was an adventure.
Ratchet’s diagnosis, surgery and healing have paralleled the state of the world in so many ways. Dogs are such good teachers, aren’t they? That first night after surgery, my husband and I camped out with him on the living room floor so he could be comfortable and know he wasn’t alone. I laid awake the whole night, listening for his breath, reaching out to reassure him when he cried. I’ve found myself extending the same care and concern to friends and family in different ways. Instead of offering to pet them or give them squirrel cookies (you know, the biggest dog cookies in the box from Trader Joe’s?) I’m offering my love through texts, FaceTime, phone calls or Zoom.
The day we took the bandages off was the day we finally mourned, collectively. Reality hit. Ratchet, like many of us, realized things would never be the same again. His leg hadn’t been hiding in the bandages. It was gone. Similarly, by our second or third week of being asked to stay home and stay safe, many of us were mourning of the loss of how things used to be, while trying to imagine how things will be.
Ratchet’s spirit has kept me focused on everything that matters most:
- Cuddling is essential (even if all you have is a good pillow or blanket)
- Eating, pooping and peeing everyday should be celebrated
- Potty walks count as adventures
- Routines make us feel safe and loved
- We can do hard things
- Look for silver linings; When you’re missing an arm, you can snuggle even closer!
- Love is the best medicine
- Each day is a gift
- Healthcare professionals for furry and non-furry beings are AMAZING, especially the teams at Plateau, Arc and the Emergency Animal Hospital. Someday soon, we hope to thank you in person.
Ratchet nearly fell over the first time he tried standing up to eat. Right now we’re all finding ourselves a little unsteady. Bill Withers passed away today and thankfully left behind the gift of his music and a good reminder, we all need somebody to lean on.
As this parallel, tripod, pandemic process continues, all I continue to see is the unending power of love. xo