“Ask for forgiveness not permission.”
Audie taught me that many years ago – it is his philosophy, and that of many others, so I’ve heard.
It’s not something I find as easy to do – it doesn’t come to me naturally to “push the envelope” and break the rules. I’m a stickler for rules, too much so sometimes – even when I should break the rules, I have trouble doing so. It makes me uncomfortable, I fear getting in trouble. Big trouble.
No, following the rules is my comfort zone.
And then, today, with Reggie, I did not do that.
“Ask forgiveness not permission,” I said to myself (like he taught you).
And so I did, and I opened the door to Dr. Niknafs’ office and rolled Reggie right into the waiting room.
I didn’t ask permission, I didn’t even blink. I just walked right up to the sign-in sheet and wrote down my name. There were several people in the waiting area, one lady gave me a “what is that dog doing in here?” look, but, everyone else was taken with him, and then all of a sudden, that lady smiled, too!
Hmmm, interesting. Have to remember that.
I walked to the chair in the corner, set my books on a side table, and sat down, pulling Reggie’s stroller close to me. The lady in the chair next door flashed me a big grin and said hello to Reggie. I moved his stroller closer to her and asked her if she’d like to pet him.
Her name was Cheryl, and she was all over petting Reggie.
“You smell my dog, don’t you…” she said as she pet him. “You smell my Sophie.”
We had to wait a while. They were busy today, more than I remember from past visits.
“Jill?” I heard my name called.
I got up, gathered my things, and walked right up to the red-haired nurse and said, “This is Reggie, he’s my emotional support animal.” Just like that.
And, surprisingly, I needed no forgiveness, or permission. She just “oooh’ed” and “aww’d” like most people do and all was well.
Dr. Niknafs, and Tyler and the nurse’s mom (I forgot to ask their names) were just as kind. I especially appreciated that the doctor was so understanding.
When I checked out, the older nurse, the younger redhead’s mom as it turns out, had a hard time – she couldn’t look at Reggie without tearing up.
As it turned out, she too had a story to tell, about three older dogs of her own, and what was worse, she didn’t realize until recently, you could, and should, be with your dog, at the end. I didn’t even know people couldn’t, but she had had experiences in the past where they took her dog in the back and put him to sleep, alone.
“No, you need to be the last person they see,” she said, “when they die, they need to know the person they love is right there with them.”
I agree with that, and I can’t imagine it any other way, but if your dog is in the ER or the hospital, it definitely would not happen that way.
I hope that does not happen to Reggie. I’m trying to avoid that, even if it means I lose him sooner.
We are at Jittery Joe’s now and he’s staring at me, wanting my lunch. I’m glad to see that he has an appetite. We stopped at Marti’s at Midday after Dr. Niknafs to get some tuna salad.
Again, I did not ask for permission (or forgiveness), and I wheeled Reggie into the cafe with me. I’d done that once before, so it was not as risky, but, this was only the second time, and the first time, I did ask permission.
I also had an ulterior motive for stopping at Marti’s at Midday today – the ladies that work there love him. And even though I couldn’t bring myself to say these are his last few days, it gave me happiness to see Kim, the manager, come over especially to say hello. I wish more of the people we knew had been there, especially the owner, Marti, who took to Reggie right away, but it was late in the day and long after lunchtime. Better, for us, I’m sure – it would have been more difficult to bring Reggie inside with a long line and throngs of people at the counter.
Reggie is having a good day today.
A very good day.
Such a good day that I don’t want to do it.
Too good of a day to imagine it – his best day in Athens since early December.
He’s more like he was a few months ago, than he was in the last few days. He’s even gone the whole day without any accidents – that hasn’t happened in a while, where I am able to handle this by just taking him out to the bathroom every hour or so.
(Disclaimer – I wrote this earlier in the day, and he did have an accident in the stroller, all over his beautiful green sweater. Oh well. Only one today, but in the wrong place)
He’s awake and interacting with people, barking for my food, barking at another dog, even his walk, my God, it was quick, not slow and unsteady, but like his normal gait, normal speed.
(Later in the day I took him to Barnes and Noble and walked him down the sidewalk to the post office first. He was strutting at his old speed, keeping up with me and the stroller, and then halfway there, he slowed down again, to his latest slower pace. But, then he picked up the pace again for the homestretch. On the way back to the store, I put him in the stroller again. I didn’t want to push him too much. He’d had a good walk, a short one, but a great one. That was enough for one night).
My friend, Wendy, who is a vet, visited with us in between appointments today and she told me that happens, people do it too. They rally at the end and have this amazingly good day. (I read about it in my colleague Lisa’s book, Words at the Threshold, also)
Are there more bad days than good days is the question. Eventually there are more bad than good. With Reggie, it’s hard to say. When I’ve taken him on the road trips, they were all good days, like today. Saturday started off as a good day and by evening was terrible, and then Sunday was better. Monday and Tuesday were rough days.
Today has been amazing – like his old self (except for the diarrhea).
Should I do the math? Divide the days into halves? Or into hours? This many hours he was great, and then that many hours he was terrible.
2 1/2 good days, 2 1/2 bad days, I told Wendy.
When I started writing this post today at 4 pm, so far it had been all “good hours.”
We left the house around 9:30 am so…that’s almost 8 good hours.
I’m grateful for Reggie having such a good day.
It’s already 6 pm, today went by too fast. Way too fast.
Why is it the hours go by fastest when you want them most to drag out?
He’s been so happy today. I’m so glad for that.
He deserves it.
We spent two hours at Barnes and Noble, speaking of time flying by. I didn’t take any new photos tonight, as I usually do, but he sat in the stroller the whole time and did not cry to warn me to rush him outside. When was the last time he went 2 hours? I can’t remember. He was so peaceful as I drank my tall soy latte and walked around the store, finally settling down to look through a book more closely, and I stroked him with one hand while he rested – that’s how the time went by so fast – it was so normal, as if nothing were wrong, as if nothing were going to change in a short time from now.
At home, I watched Reggie scarf down the prescription food and then hide under the table again in his beautiful brown coat that his daddy gave him many years ago.
I am sitting here having doubt – nothing but doubt – that I’m making the wrong decision if I let him go on Friday.
Reggie had such a good day.
The best day he’s had at home in weeks.
According to the books, that means the end is near.
Reggie is standing up underneath my chair as I eat my dinner I just sat down to eat, he is looking up at me, hoping I’ll drop something for him to eat.
Just like he always did when he was not sick – like he did just a month ago, before his sickness accelerated so quickly.
What does it mean?
I wish I knew.
Why do we have to play God – “I feel like I’m killing my dog,” I told my friend today.
“You are,” she said, “it’s the worst decision we ever have to make.”
She also said it’s a gift to free them from pain, and she’s right.
But he’s not in pain right now. He hasn’t been all day.
I feel confused, and I don’t want to make a mistake. I don’t want to let him go if I don’t have to…but…I know what Dr. Stoppe said yesterday, I know what she saw. What she told me.
I’m glad I’m bringing him back tomorrow. We can talk more. So I can be sure. Sure I’m doing the right thing for Reggie.
He’s given up now, no food from me, but he’s laying by my feet, close to me, I can hear him breathing – it’s raspy, but not as bad as it’s been. More like snoring.
When I think of all the people who have loved on Reggie today: Ashley at Oconee Wellness, Cheryl and the nurses and Tyler at Dr. Niknafs, my friend, Wendy and my friend, Marcy (also a vet – we had coffee dates with 2 vet friends today), and the ladies at Marti’s…
No matter what happens tomorrow, no matter what happens on Friday…
Today, Reggie had the best day.
The best kind of day of all – the kind filled with love.