Trooper is fading and I can't do anything to stop it. Thin, he's gotten so very thin. He pants heavily when he's not sleeping which is what he mostly does now. He's totally blind. He navigates by memory, which is also going so he gets lost easily both in the yard and in the house. He spends minutes both drinking and peeing. A lot of water passing through his system. His bowels gurgle a lot. I sit or lie on the floor next to him and rub his belly to quiet the rumblings and give him ease. His balance is off. He is lightly incontinent when he sleeps hard.
He still eats. I did have to restrict his treats. We're mostly down to just biscuits but he eats them. It gives me hope. For a minute. Then he lays down again and starts panting. His heart races and he acts like he's struggling to get enough oxygen. He takes his medicine, laying on the floor, his cloudy eyes unseeing but still Trooper's. I move him gently when we're done.
He tries, he tries so hard to be the dog he was but he can't. Not anymore. No matter how hard we both want him to be. Oh, for one more day in the field, romping and playing fetch. One more wrestling match on the living room floor. Barks and tugs and growls of delight and enticement. One more nap on the bed together.
My wife, daughter and I hugged each other and cried as we watched him panting, panting. Hoping but knowing.... Recognizing that we're witnessing the end days of his life. How much time does he have? Days, months?
Trooper was born on November 30, 1995. That makes him almost 14 1/2 years old. I held him in my hand when he was only 5 days old. He was meant for me and I was meant for him. Non dog people will not, can not understand. Dog people are only too aware of the passage of time.
For those who say he's just a dog I say No He Is Not. Trooper has been my constant companion for 14 years. We've never spent more than 2 weeks apart when I had to leave for training or a school. We travelled together. We hunted together. We learned and grew together. He's my pal. He's my dog and I'm his boy. That is out pact. I know that as surely as there is a God that Trooper loves me as I love him. He is my friend, my confessor, my constant companion.
Now he's passing, slowly but surely as a sunset, and I'm crying as I write this. We're going in to see the Vet tomorrow morning if his doctor is available. Monday if he's not. What will I hear? What can my breaking heart take? I'm afraid to take him. Afraid to go. I don't want to lose him.
I won't let Trooper suffer but I also won't end his life one second before I must. Call me selfish. A silly, selfish man. I cannot bear the thought of my empty house. My empty truck. My empty heart.
We're in hospice mode. I watch him carefully. It is my turn now. I am his guide. I take him gently by the collar and lead him to his needs. I sit on the floor with him, stroking his fur and head. Scratching his belly. Watching and listening. Fearful. Knowing. I leave the house only for errands I must perform or a trip to the gym where I try to blot out my fears and tears by driving my body beyond it's limits. I have animal friendly wipes I use to gently clean his fur. I stay near him always. He's calmer and happier when I'm close. That is all I have left to give to him and I will give it to the last.
My sleep is fitful. I stay up til the wee hours when I'm sure he's made his last trip outside for the night. I go to bed only when I must. My dreams are vivid and disturbing.
My grandchildren know what we've told them to try and prepare them for their first leaving. They know that Grandpa is sad and why. They are my sanity now and I thank God they are here.
What price love? Heavy. The price is so very heavy. It is the price of a broken heart. Sadness, denial and dismay. It is a price that nearly cannot be borne.
It is a price that must be paid. It cannot be set aside or passed on to another. It is my debt and I am surely paying it.
I write this now because surely I won't be able to after. Trooper deserves so much more. I was never the man I should have been but it wasn't his fault. He helped me become so much more of a man than I ever would have without him. How will I ever stand it? How can anyone?
I am a bottle in a sack, awaiting the drop of the hammer.
I don't know about you but I'm feeling very motivated right now.
This poem tickles me for some reason. Maybe it's the title....
"I Keep Six Honest...
"I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views.
I know a person small-
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes-
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!
From The Elephant's Child
I'm staying home while Lu goes to the airport. Trooper has had a very bad morning and needs me to tend to him. These days he rarely gets too far from me but today he's glued to my side. He's fading. I can see it but am powerless to do anything about it.
We got the package for a stay at Disneyland in the mail the other day. We also have plans for more trips and visits to various places. Good times will be had.
We're indebted to the DO for undertaking this journey. Anyone who has traveled with kids (4 and 5 years old) knows what she's taking on and this is the second time she's made the trip from Hungary. She's a peach and I love her dearly. Oh, and to the son-in-law? Thanks don't quite cover it. I'll take good care of them and get 'em back to you soon. Love you son.
Postings will be slim for the next 5 weeks while they're here. I'll check in from time to time but I'm going to revel in spending time with the 4 people I love most in this world. Wife, daughter and 2 grandchildren.
Do I sound excited? Good, because I am.
See you all soon.
I've been searching for an answer. Fence? Chain from the house to the corner of the lot? Rottweiler on a chain that ends just shy of the sidewalk?
Nah. I got something better.
Outside you'll find a living memorial where visitors write and leave their own testimonials and prayers.
If you ever find yourself in the area I strongly encourage you to visit this site. Like me and The Sarge, you will feel the weight, the sheer presence of The Memorial. You'll also see and feel the strength that is America. We can be hurt, we can be damaged, we can be killed but we cannot be destroyed. We will endure. No force, no attack and no person can undo what we are.
I dedicate this poem to my brothers and sisters in the Mother Country that they might recognize their peril before it consumes them. Before it consumes us all.
Norman Conquest, 1066
ENGLAND'S on the anvil--hear the hammers ring--
Clanging from the Severn to the Tyne!
Never was a blacksmith like our Norman King--
England's being hammered, hammered, hammered into line!
England's on the anvil! Heavy are the blows!
(But the work will be a marvel when it's done.)
Little bits of Kingdoms cannot stand against their foes.
England's being hammered hammered, hammered into one!
There shall be one people--it shall serve one Lord--
(Neither Priest nor Baron shall escape!)
It shall have one speech and law, soul and strength and sword.
England's being hammered, hammered, hammered into
'Cuz I don't want to end up like this guy.
Started by pushing it over as far as it'd go because I'm a gorilla and that's what gorilla's do.
Half down and ready to be dragged away. Yeah, that's my help laying on the lawn sunning themselves with the cooler nearby. Oh, turns out the vine was heavy. Really heavy. Like about 500 pounds of heavy. Oh, my aching 50 year old legs. That's about 2 hours of solid, backbreaking work. Well..... work for an old guy anyway.
All this just so I can rent the place out and someone else will miss out on the joys of Jasmine pollen and Jasmine trimming.
Lu and I got there about 1730. I estimate 350 to 400 people. It started at 1630 but some told me they were there as early as 1600. Everyone was well behaved and I saw no signs that were even remotely racist or violent.
I know I promised pictures but... In my defense I reminded Lu an hour before we left and then we both promptly forgot. I blame Trooper.
The cleverest sign was a pair of googly eyes over a stack of cash and a caption that read
"This is how much money you'd be saving if you voted them all out."
It was brilliant. I sure wish I had a picture of it.
All in all it was a fine event full of Patriotism and rugged individualism. I hope you all found one to attend and it went off as well as this one did.
Yeah, it's the right who are violent.
Speaking of violence. Anytime one of you punks wants to beat up a conservative or Tea Party member just go ahead and look me up. I promise you'll get the chance to see how good that free socialised medicine is.
Old NFO has been added to the Warrior Roll and I'm damn grateful he's sharing with us.
Of particular note is the passing of President Lech Kaczynski of Poland. Kaczynski was killed enroute to the Katyn Forest where 4000 Polish Army officers and cadets were killed in 1940 by the NKVD. He was deeply involved in the Solidarity movement though later had a falling out with Lech Walesa. He was a strong supporter of the U.S., at least he was prior to being stabbed in the back by obama. He forged close ties to Georgia and The Czech Republic and was a leading voice for their inclusion in NATO. He was also suspicious of the European Union and took steps to maintain Poland's independence, a source of irritation to Germany and France. Always a good thing.
Poland is a nation in mourning. From what i can tell Kaczynski was a good President and a voice of reason in an otherwise sinking and socialist Europe. I believe he will be missed a great deal.
In solidarity for our brothers and sisters in Poland I dedicate this week's Sunday Kipling and include a prayer that their country and people will find a way to endure this tragedy.
May God bless the Polish People.
"Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said;
"With bone well carved He went away,
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
And jasper tips the spear to-day.
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
And He with these. Farewell, Romance!"
"Farewell, Romance!" the Lake-folk sighed;
"We lift the weight of flatling years;
The caverns of the mountain-side
Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
Guard ye his rest. Romance, farewell!"
"Farewell, Romance!" the Soldier spoke;
"By sleight of sword we may not win,
But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke
Of arquebus and culverin.
Honour is lost, and none may tell
Who paid good blows. Romance, farewell!"
"Farewell, Romance!" the Traders cried;
"Our keels have lain with every sea;
The dull-returning wind and tide
Heave up the wharf where we would be;
The known and noted breezes swell
Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!"
"Good-bye, Romance!" the Skipper said;
"He vanished with the coal we burn.
Our dial marks full-steam ahead,
Our speed is timed to half a turn.
Sure as the ferried barge we ply
'Twixt port and port. Romance, good-bye!"
"Romance!" the season-tickets mourn,
"He never ran to catch His train,
But passed with coach and guard and horn --
And left the local -- late again!"
Confound Romance!... And all unseen
Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.
His hand was on the lever laid,
His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
His whistle waked the snowbound grade,
His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
By dock and deep and mine and mill
The Boy-god reckless laboured still!
Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,
Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
With unconsidered miracle,
Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
Then taught His chosen bard to say:
"Our King was with us -- yesterday!"
I thought this poem was particularly appropos today. Take heart my friends, we will cleanse the wrong.
We thought we ranked above the chance of ill.
Others might fall, not we, for we were wise--
Merchants in freedom. So, of our free-will
We let our servants drug our strength with lies.
The pleasure and the poison had its way
On us as on the meanest, till we learned
That he who lies will steal, who steals will slay.
Neither God's judgment nor man's heart was turned.
Yet there remains His Mercy--to be sought
Through wrath and peril till we cleanse the wrong
By that last right which our forefathers claimed
When their Law failed them and its stewards were bought.
This is our cause. God help us, and make strong
Our will to meet Him later, unashamed!