Of Service

March 19, 2020

Hands heavy, I crush the pills for our 9-year old dog. A couple days shy of the quarantine, she was diagnosed with renal and liver impairment. She has tumors in her abdomen and leg. In the beginning, only her hind legs stopped working. Now, she is already unable to walk or even lift her head. To drink water, she'd have to take it from a syringe. Her head has to be lifted so she can eat.

I turn her over to her side every now and then; bathe her every other day, so the pee and feces she can no longer control don't lead to bedsores. It's hard to do this to a large, 33-kilo dog. I remind myself that it's harder for her to swing from agile and alert to bedridden, unable to bark or say in dog speak, "Thank you" or "I love you".

We knew from the start this was going to happen. Rottweilers live an average of eight to 12 years. I often kid she is near the final year of her life, but I think it's because it's easier to deal with when you have accepted the inevitable truth about mortality.

The vet says she is no longer eligible for surgery, but that we will still try the meds. We can still hope and try to let her live. In these difficult times, it seems like that's the only option for everyone in the world. We try to live for another day, hopeful that the future is still worth living for.

She has been with us long before Lia was conceived. We walked together when she small and strong, back when my pregnant belly was still growing a child. We walked together when Lia was 2, 4, 7. We walk together when Lia is here and when she's not. We sat on the grass and watched countless sunsets and noons unfold.

I swipe a wet towel over her coat to rid it of piss and serve her food, her pills, wiping the tears with my arm. I tell her, "You loved, protected, and served us at your strongest. It's my turn to protect and serve you."

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