Right now — and this is subject to change at any moment — I feel like I have been given a gift. I have been told by a hospice vet that it’s time to say good-bye to Frankie, but not that there is a sense of absolute urgency. Frankie may be confused but he is not in pain.
So I can choose a date that will have meaning for me and devote my time before then to spoiling Frankie.
- Forget all the diabetes restrictions. Oh, Frankie will get his insulin shots so he won’t be uncomfortable and I won’t give him pure sugar until the end — I’m thinking ice cream — but he’ll get as many treats between meals as he likes and they’ll all be delicious: liver, cocktail franks, hamburger (bacon, sadly, doesn’t seem to agree with him). I’ve been told that dogs love cat food, the cheaper the better, and I’m contemplating it, but I can’t quite bring myself to go there. Today I’m thinking of going to Native SEED Search to get some sweets made with agave syrup or just fresh fruit.
- Frankie has my complete and undivided attention whenever he wants it. No more ignoring him and then feeling guilty. Happily, he sleeps most of the day.
- Frankie doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to. No more car rides, no more walks. No more having to work for his food.
- Frankie doesn’t have to prove anything. If he lets me know he wants to go out to the backyard, I’ll take him out on his leash and follow him around to all the places he wants to check out, but I won’t leave him to try to figure his way back in. His wish is my command.
In short, His Frankiness will get his due, achieving the complete gratification that he always knew he deserved.
A Date for Me: Dia de Los Muertos
October is a tough month: It’s my birthday and I don’t want to associate it with sadness in the future. But I need to head out of town on an assignment fairly soon and leaving Frankie with a pet sitter is not an option. So it struck me: The Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday I’ve come to love since I moved to Tucson, is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2. It’s not creepy or scary about death like Halloween, though it’s an associated ancient holiday.
According to Wikipedia:
In most regions of Mexico November 1 is to honor children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).
I think we can agree that dogs are innocents, if not always little angels.
People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.
I’m not planning on any cemetery visits but food offerings? Remembering funny events and anecdotes? I’m in.
So, November 1 it is. As the days go on, I’m sure I’ll get very very sad. Maybe I’ll wonder if I’m exacerbating my pain with this long good-bye, this postponement of the inevitable. But right now spoiling Frankie before and after life seem like the right thing to do.
Have any of you had the experience of choosing a date a few weeks in advance? How did it feel?
Update: Just to clarify: November 1 is the date I booked for the hospice vet to come to the house. If Frankie should show signs of distress before then, I’ll call her to come earlier. You know what they say about the best laid plans..