So if you have read here, Facebook or Instagram you are very familiar with Deogi. He’s become somewhat of a celebrity on his own through the best facial expressions ever on a dog, the time he got stung on the eyelid by a wasp or the Great Turkey Incident that almost cost him his life. He is a dog like no other and I have had plenty of others.
He’s been different lately. More tired, more grumpy and in a lot of pain. I finally got him into X-ray and we got some bad news. Deogi has a spine deterioration disease and most of his back is affected. It’s just one of those things that happens, we will treat it as we can and go forward with the knowledge that he will not always be at the top of the stairs waiting to greet me when I get home.
He was a gift to me by one of my best friends. Promised to me long before his birth. He faithfully protects “his kids” and comforts me, as only a dog can do, when he knows I am sick or feeling down. Several months ago I ran a very high fever and couldn’t get out of bed. He curled up right beside me on the bed, put his paw over me and never left my side. Of course I returned the favor when he got out of surgery from the Great Turkey Incident and allowed his huge 100lb body to sleep on our bed at night. Brian and I were a bit cramped, but…well, that’s just what you do for your dog, your friend.
It breaks my heart that he has been in pain for as long as he has and I didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until he fell in the floor and began to whimper when he moved that I was clued in that there was even something wrong. When I handed him over to the vet to get his anesthesia for the X-rays, I swear he looked grateful.
The thing about a dog though is that he didn’t understand the X-rays, he had no clue what the medication is for and he didn’t comprehend a words about his prognosis. He simply wagged his tail when he heard us mention his name, couldn’t wait to get in the car for a ride home and greeted the kids on his return like he had been gone a month. We grilled steak last night and of course he got a few more pieces than normal. We curled up on my chair like we always do, but this time with a heating pad for his back.
Even though we all endure pain, I wish I had the grace to be more like Deogi. I know when my heart hurts, I partition myself off from the joys in life and nurse the pain. I allow it to consume me and steal any pleasure I could have.
To be a dog is to thump your tail at the sight of the person you love regardless of how bad it hurts to wag. You just can’t help it. The happiness outweighs anything else.
To be a dog is to get as close as you can to your person and lick their hand knowing they are unhappy, even if you were the one who has the grim prognosis. To comfort another is more important than to comfort yourself.
To be a dog is to be bumped in the hallway and cause pain to shoot down your back, but to wiggle and ask to be petted a little more.
I need to learn to wag more through the pain.