Saturday, September 20, 2008

el perro viejo; las artimañas viejas

memories of ducks?

The seasons are in that awkward stage: too cool to be summer; too warm to be fall. And the sun playing tag with the clouds makes the day almost menopausal.

This was the Saturday I was going to take Jiggs to the beach -- his favorite place in Oregon. A little back story is in order.

This past week was really rough for The Professor. In the course of two days, he had lost almost all the strength in his back legs. He would struggle to his feet only after minutes of trying. But, proud dog that he is, if I would try to help him, he would throw himself on the lawn and not try again until I went away. Even his eyes were losing their love of life.

I decided to take him to the vet on Wednesday and to ask the vet for his advice on whether it was time to put Jiggs down or whether the hospice effects of another steroid shot would be effective. I appreciate his opinion because his dog is going through the exact issues. He suggested trying out another steroid shot, because Jiggs is exhibiting no pain symptoms; his legs simply are not working very well.

I am glad I did. By Friday, Jiggs was back to his usual pattern of wanting to go for walks -- and he is getting up with only a little problem.

But not well enough to traverse the beach. I remember our last walk. Even then, he was having trouble walking through the sand. I decided if I took him to the beach, he would simply be frustrated that he could not spend time in the surf.

So, we have stayed here to enjoy a walk in Jiggs's park on this cusp of summer-fall.

I was thinking yesterday about the lasts that I am experiencing -- My last public speech. My last Fourth of July. My last house payment. -- before I move to Mexico. I then realized that Jiggs is going through the same thing. He just does not realize it. Because he knows how to live in Mexico time -- enjoying the now.

We can learn from our pets on this path.


Theresa in Mèrida said...

Mr Dog and I are rooting for the Prof. He is a lovely dog and a fine companion. I'm glad to hear the steroid shots are helping.

Nancy said...

You really will know when his time has come, at least we did when our Scottie, Angus was ill.

Good luck and enjoy the now.

Calypso said...

All those "lasts" will be ringing in a whole lot of "firsts" soon enough amigo.

Heading down to Mexico next this coming week ;-)

glorv1 said...

My Chorizo was on steriods for almost a year. They helped her somewhat, but she gained an awful lot of weight. I think we are all experiencing some kind of "lasts." We have to remember thought, all the "firsts." I know how you feel Steve about your Jiggs. I been there, done that. You'll be starting a new life soon, enjoy what you have now with Jiggs. My thoughts are with you. I salute Mr. Jiggs and I love him.

Brenda said...

Hope the shot is long lasting and Jiggs is fine for awhile. Give him some pets for me.

Steve Cotton said...

Theresa -- Jiggs sees Mr. Dog as an international compatriot. He is even more impressed that Mr. Dog also has a Cuban connection.

Nancy -- Jiggs and I had a great day today with each other.

John -- I agree. Every last signals a new first. Have a good trip back home.

Gloria -- Jiggs has been very fortunate with weight -- he has stayed steady. But he has developed an odd craving for baguettes -- and I indulge his passion.

Brenda -- I allowed too much time between shots last time. I was trying to avoid any side effects for Jiggs. I need to remember each shot is a relief for him -- not a cure.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. I fully know where all of this is headed, but Professor Jiggs and I appreciate your kindnesses.

mdoneil said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are indeed a kind man.

Steve Cotton said...

Thank you very much. What a kind thing to say.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the title of this blog entry...artimañas viejas does not appear to be relevant...Kathe

Steve Cotton said...

Kathe -- I was after a pun that would play off of the English "old dog, new tricks" cliché, by showing that Jiggs does not need new tricks, his old tricks are just fine -- and to draw a subtle distinction between the way tricks is used in English, adding a tinge of artifice. Maybe I have the wrong word. It would not be the first time.

islagringo said...

People can be so callous sometimes. This was a lovely, albeit a bit sad, post continuing the theme of your love for Jiggs and his for you. And yet somebody feels the need to point out a perceived "error" in the title. Give me a break. Just give me one right now. You handled the comment very well.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Wayne. You are a great friend. I took the comment as an oportunity for me to 1) learn something new, and 2) to share my love for Jiggs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the struggles of your old friend. I know you can let go when the time comes, but it will be hard anyway. Hopefully the steroid shot helps him again.

My thoughts are with you.

Fond Regards,

Kim G
Boston, MA

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Kim. I appreciate the comments.

glorv1 said...

I was thinking about Mr. Jiggs today and wondered what his thoughts are on the different happenings at your home right now. The realtor, you packing boxes, etc. Do you think he wonders what is going on? Stick close to him so that he knows you are there for him. Mr. Jiggs like all family dog pets, know their surroundings best of all and the comfort that comes with it. I just hope Mr. Jiggs is not sensing some kind of loss. I'll pray for him.

Anonymous said...

My humble apologies for not mentioning that I too was touched by Steve's struggles to support an old friend. I recently lost my 'perra vieja' to lymphoma. She was a pound rescue that offered nothing but faithful friendship for 14 years.

And I was not pointing out a misuse of a word. In fact it was a new word to me and so I looked it up but then was perplexed by how it applied. Steve is a better punster than I am or I would have understood. Kathe

Steve Cotton said...

Kayje -- You are far too gracious. I did not take offense at your post. And it is not often I get to explain my eccentric use of Spanish. Thank you for reading -- and thank you for your very nice words about Jiggs.

New Beginnings said...

What a beautiful dog. I am so happy to hear that he is feeling better. Jackson and Jade send sloppy kisses to fellow dog rock band member Jiggs. I am a little behind on my reading which is the reason for the delayed comment.

Steve Cotton said...

And Jiggs appreciates the licks. Even though he prefers human pats on the head.