"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, February 11, 2008

Husky love

It's the sort of frigid, blustery day that made me reluctant to leave the Lodge. But this morning my growing concern about Lola sent us both out into the 10-degree (with windchill it's worse), windy world to the vet.

There's good news and not-so-good news and terrible news. Her ailment is confined to the upper right portion of her face. Good: it's neurological and symptomatic of her advanced age and thus apparently not life-threatening. Not so good: It's incurable, it will increasingly impair her vision. Terrible: It's an indicator of an inevitable decline in an otherwise amazingly vigorous 15-year-old husky.

When they led her away to have her toenails clipped, I sat alone in the examining room.

I was acutely aware of confronting the same stainless steel table on which our "firstborn" Killian breathed his last as an old man, after we were certain life no longer held any joy for him. The same cold surface on which sweet Daisy's x-rays had been spread to show me her spinal tumour (so malignant, as it turned out, she had to be euthanised on an operating table). The very room in which darling Shadow was pronounced healthy a mere three weeks before her secretive cancer manifested itself with terrible suddenness (while we were in the UK) and resulted in her being put down before our return.

Ours is a rural vet, there are only two exam rooms. Why did I have to be in that one, where the Bad Stuff happens? It raised all sorts of troubling premonitions about Lola.

I tried to focus on all the Good Stuff. It's also a room in which my dogs have been well-tended, treated fondly, fed treats, received hugs and pats (after the jabs).

The roads were very treacherous, slick from all the snow being blown from the mountains of snow left by the plows. When we were safely home again, Ruth and Jewel greeted Lola with great joy and excitement. With her usual superiour air, she brushed past them. I watched my big, still-beautiful, only somewhat arthritic husky lumber down the icy steps to the white-covered yard. She lifted her head to sniff the frigid air. Thankful to be home. Bursting with life.

She lives in the here and now. No unsettling exam room memories. And no premonitions at all.

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