Toby is not well. He had a fall on our stairs, became ill a couple of days later, and it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride since. If you’d like the how-we-got-here details, you can read all about it here.
The condensed version is that our spotted boy had to have major, exploratory surgery this past Tuesday. We found that he had damaged his liver in the fall (ouch) and had to have a portion of it removed. We found that he had a very nasty infection raging in his liver and abdomen (big ouch). We found some things we can’t yet explain and are awaiting biopsy results (big ouch in my brain and heart).
While Toby did come through surgery well, he is still not feeling great. His appetite is still off. He only ate a few bites of the very special chicken and rice I prepared just for him. Admittedly, by human standards, I’m no master chef. The dogs, however, seem to generally think I have mad food skills. But last night, Toby just took a couple of bites and asked for a doggy bag.
As I watch him, sleeping now, I wish I could do more to help him feel better. I wish he could just tell me what’s wrong and what I can do to help.
The relationship we have with our animals is a beautifully complex things. Despite the obvious language barrier, some communication is so clear and pure. A wagging tail, a wide grin, licks, wiggles, and snuggles. A sad look, a nervous glance, a silly butt-in-the-air play bow. We hug, we play, we console each other, we share adventures.
And we love. It’s so clear that we love each other.
But then come the times when you wish inter-species communication could be a bit more clear and concise. You wish your best friend could just tell you exactly what he’s feeling. Are you in pain? Is your stomach upset from the antibiotics? Does your incision hurt? Is it something more?
Just tell me where it hurts.
When humans come together to form a partnership, vows are exchanged in a formal ceremony. I have come to believe the same should be true with the animals in our life. It is a profound relationship, when treated and nurtured properly. We should all vow to do our best for the animals that grace our lives.
In good times and in bad. In sickness and in health. I’m right here for you buddy, lifting you up, keeping you comfortable, loving you always. This I promise you. Neither of us needs a fancy dress, a black bow tie or a formal ceremony to confirm this commitment…though I’d sure be willing to share some cake with you right now if you’d be willing to eat that.
Today. Perhaps today you will start to feel better.