A neighbor’s dog collapsed in front of my apartment building yesterday. The 10-year old collie/retriever mix had moments earlier soaked up my loving attention.
Bentley collapsed and now howled in pain. Passersby stop to help. One person called the local animal hospital about emergency care.
My husband acted quickly and brought his CRV to the scene; six people gingerly lifted the 75-pound dog inside. Sweet Bentley continued to howl, clearly uncomfortable.
On the way to the hospital Shannon, Bentley’s person, hugged him and repeated, “I have such a bad feeling about this.” We had seen Shannon and Bentley in the neighborhood occasionally and only knew each other in passing. Until now.
Animal hospital staff ushered the dog in for treatment. The doctor’s assessment was quick: Bentley suffered a pulmonary embolism. A blood clot in his hind quarters blocked blood flow to his back legs, which were cold and non-responsive to the touch. Bentley endured a great deal of pain, and medication helped only a little.
The doctor presented a grim scenario. Shannon could submit Bentley to testing to determine whether surgery would be an option. The humane choice given his crisis, the doctor said, would be to euthanize him. Stunning.
Shannon’s roommate arrived on the heels of the discussion. We left shortly thereafter so she could make her decision.
I awoke at 2 a.m., with Bentley smiling in my mind’s eye, wondering about his fate.
One’s life can change in the blink of an eye. Like Bentley. And Shannon.
Being present for your life won’t prevent suffering. Notice and savor what life brings you as well as what you create. Find joy in simple pleasures, like pausing to visit with a neighborhood dog as he ambles up the block.