Life, Death, Spring

Living life, dealing with death, keeping on in spite of it by getting out of bed to greet another new day, welcoming Spring, is always a mysterious blessing, in my book.

At 8:00 A.M. Friday I decided to take Indie to the vet.  Indie, a part black lab/ a little Pyrenees mix, showed signs of being very ill.  He had no energy, had no interest in food.  I noticed this for several weeks.  Friday, it seemed bad.  During the hour and a half drive to the Tanner Veterinary Hospital in Russellville, it crossed my mind that Indie might have to be put down.  At the vet’s, his temp was 103.  Doc did a blood test and fecal test.  Palpating the abdomen,  Doc said there was something really hard in there; he needed to get an x-ray.  Right away he found Erlicchia (Lyme’s) ..The red blood count was very low.  The x-ray showed large masses in the chest as well as the abdomen.  As Doc showed me the x-ray, he pointed out “all kinds of stuff” showing up in Indie’s lungs and digestive tract.  He said, “This dog needs to be put down.  I don’t see how he can even walk!  We can try to treat him, you could spend thousands, and then he will die in two months.  Even if you had brought him in much earlier, it would have been too late.  This dog is dying.  You need to put an end to his suffering.”

Having watched other dogs suffer and eventually die, out here where I live, usually the dogs belonging to my neighbor, I bucked Pope’s usual “laissez-faire” approach.  A couple of years ago, I told Pope he needed to take Indie to the vet, as I just knew Indie had heart-worm.  Pope took him in for the test; Indie was treated for heart-worm.  It cost over 800.00.  Indie seemed pretty good for the last two-three years.  He adopted me during that time, as Pope got a new puppy, a Pyrenees, that apparently Indie did not like.  The last two years, I have cared for Indie, bringing him indoors during the frigid winter’s nights.  He has been “my dog,” of late, thus, I did not consult Pope.

Indie was in a kennel, quite sleepy.  They had given him something in order to get the picture.  All the other dogs made a huge racket when I went in the back of the hospital to see him.  Indie was so drugged, he did not seem to notice.  I knelt and pet his head, saying good-bye.  He acknowledged me, lifting is head and looking at me with his very sad eyes.  He put his head back down.  I did not want to prolong this.  I got up and left out the side door.  They would euthanize him sometime in the afternoon and he would be cremated with others, his ashes spread out on a field near Heber Springs.  In the past, I would have brought my dog home and buried him/her in my pet cemetery, but both my knees are in bad shape.  I could not see me digging another large, deep hole in the rocky soil.  I left Indie there, drugged.  I did not call back to find out when he was actually put down.  That hospital was slammed that day, and I was amazed at how Doc and his aides kept up the pace.  I paid a little toward the 379.00 bill and paid off the bill for Buda, which happened six weeks back.  I finally reached Pope via my cell and told him I had Indie put down.  He was understanding and said he would pay the bill.

Earlier in the week, I made plans to go to Fayetteville this Friday evening to listen to a guitarist from Genoa, Italy, Beppe Gambetta.  As I drove home, I decided I would not go.  When I stepped in to my cabin, I heard the message alert from the telephone and found a message from my friend telling me he was going to the concert and that he hoped I would come.  I called him.  As I listened to my friend talk, I changed my plans and told him I would see him there.  Forty-five minutes later, I was changed into my city clothes and driving towards Fayetteville.

My friend called me as I drove into town, asking, “Where are you?”  He said he would pay my way in and leave my name with the person at the door.  I was a few minutes late, as I did not know the exact location of the venue.  I finally found it.  The place was dark, and I could hear Beppe singing and playing his guitar.  Behind the stage wall, I encountered the fellow in charge of giving out glasses of wine, for a donation.  I was saying, yes please, I would like a glass of red wine, when my friend appeared at my side, saying he had a seat saved for me.  Wine in hand, we made our way to the back of the room and sat down.

I really do not have words for how fantastic a guitar player Beppe Gambetta is.  He was flat-picking, but with such dexterity and lightening speed, the music was incredible.  He introduced each song, and was so delightful with his stories and jokes, a true entertainer!  I forgot the earlier sorrow of leaving my Indie to go to sleep forever, and found myself intently listening, full of joy to hear another express with so much love, so much soul.  After two more glasses of wine, I was quite high, and as the concert ended, my love of life and those who will share themselves was strong.  I met Beppe’s wife, Federica, who was selling CD’s of his music.  She was friendly and communicative.  I bought the CD she said was her favorite, “Rendez-vous.”  I put my email address on their mailing list and told myself I would purchase more of his music later, online.  After the venue emptied, my friend and I stood around talking to those who were still there; then he had to leave, as his ride was waiting. I made my way outside and found my car, trusting I would drive without mishap.

I listened to the new CD as I left Fayetteville, marveling at the events of this long, long day, now night, the stars bright in the dark sky, beyond the city lights.  It was strange to arrive home and have just Buda and Puggy waiting for me.  I wonder if they notice that Indie is no longer present.

Today is warm, and the sky is a little overcast.  It is time to get some seeds germinating.  I need to rig some sort of temporary structure that will help keep in heat and push seeds to sprout.  My garden guru, Herb, gave me some greenhouse-quality plastic and I am determined to find a way to use it.  If the old-timer who said we would have another frost in May is correct, then I still have time to plant some snow peas.  Maybe this year I will get to harvest some, before the heat hits us.  Whatever I do, I am feeling sure that it is all good, living this life, dealing with death, welcoming Spring.

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