Excerpts

From chapter 12 Are There Lessons Here?

This scenario of trying to get Beezer to take his medicine and supplements is an example of one of the many coping mechanisms Doug employed during the dogs’ illnesses.

I WAS NOW DEALING WITH Beezer’s lack of appetite on a daily basis. He hated the various powdered supplements sprinkled in his food so I bought empty capsules and, while watching television, painstakingly filled them up with the powder.

But getting Beezer to take all his pills became its own little adventure. I was never very good at the toss-the-dry-pill-down-the-throat routine that many veteran dog owners have mastered. Beezer and I finally settled on a little known marriage of baby food and basic hockey techniques. I’d take a spoonful of baby food and place it on the tips of three fingers. I’d then submerge a number of pills into the gooey stuff. I’d have my patient sit and I’d straddle him from behind. Then I’d coax his mouth open, slide the fingers in and use the forefinger of the free hand to slap-shot the mix to the back of his mouth. Hockey 101 to the rescue.

From Chapter 42 The Farewell Tour

This was written during Boomer’s final days, two years after Beezer passed.

AS THE DAYS WORE ON, I could feel the veil between my spirit and Boomer’s becoming more translucent. The beauty of the moment between his life and mine was breathtaking. I could feel the separation narrow as our souls became closer. I felt honored to be Boomer’s earthly escort on those final days. And I could feel Beezer’s presence growing as responsibility for Boomer’s journey was entrusted more to him and less to me. I was awed at my awareness of what was unfolding in front of my eyes and in my heart. All I had to do was let it in.

Now I felt a sense of completion and a desire to move forward, which meant finally letting go of my buddy.

“Hey Boom, I feel like a baby bird starting to outgrow its nest. I’ve learned all your lessons and Beezer’s lessons and the cramped space tells me it’s going to be time for one of us to leave very soon. I don’t feel bad about that. I’ve learned so much. I’m getting anxious to test my wings. I want to see if I can fly…”

The following day was a watershed moment in the Farewell Tour. The temperature warmed and we loaded up and went out to Chatfield. My neighbor Pat offered to go with us to shoot the movie and I eagerly accepted. Boomer walked without assistance and his smile clearly indicated how pleased he was. I’d read many Internet posts stating, “The dog doesn’t know he’s sick.” I had come to believe just the opposite. What if Boomer knew exactly how sick he was and he didn’t care?

What a life lesson in presence. Such a hypothesis does make sense. I am going to die of something at a future date. That unknown contingency has absolutely no effect on how I use the moment of today. Maybe it’s just that simple.