Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back and Blue

The Summer of 1983 was a lost one. I broke my arm on the last day of school. I had finished my exam early and was arm wrestling with another over-achiever until we were told we could leave. My humorous snapped in two. I this had happened in present day, I'm sure we could've drained the Milwaukee Public School system of any and all funds at their disposal, claiming negligence on behalf of the teacher who let boys be boys. Of course, we didn't do that. My parents said I should have known better and I was sentenced to the worst punishment a 16 year old boy could get (well, maybe not worse than the girl he has a crush on laughing in his face in front of her friends)- a summer of nothing. By the time my right arm was useful again, there was one week left until the start of my senior year. So much for big fun.

The Summer of 2012 is shaping up that way, as well. Not because of any physical maladies on my part, but because my dog is dying. He was diagnosed with bone cancer on March 11th, had his left leg amputated on March 15th, and now we just wait for the cancer to spread. X-Rays are done every two months to see if the cancer has matasisized. So far, so good. Still, it's only a matter of time before it does, and then we say goodbye. My dog is 9 years old, which is above the average life expectancy for a rottweiler. Counting the amputation, he's had three major surgeries. Really, I don't remember a good long stretch where he wasn't in a cast, in a wrap, or didn't have the "cone of shame" around his head. We've spent an estimated $15,000 on his care. I'd do it agin, without hesitation.

Any good times I've had since his diagnosis are quickly doused by me thinking about Maverick's condition. Whether it's a night out with the Fellas, a afternoon out with my gal, or even a week-long cruise up the California coast, it's impossible for me to shake what is inevitably coming.

When we first got Maverick, he separated himself from a pack of pups and walked up to my wife, wisely choosing us over a couple of families with young children. He may obey me more than her, but it's her dog. I can't communicate how sad I feel about what's happening because then she gets sad, and then I have to make her feel better. That leaves me no time for my own grief, and with no one to really talk to about it. I'm not sure talking about it would help, anyway. Writing about it here sure hasn't. But I have to purge somewhere, and I can't think of anywhere else that's appropriate

All planned trips have been tabled. It's all about staying close to home, and getting the most we can from our best friend. As I write, he's laying by my feet, playing with his bone. He has the most to be afraid of, yet is the strongest of us all