My knees are cold.

For the past 5 years or so, there has been a greyhound in the bed with me every night that I’ve slept in my bed at home. I could wake in the middle of the night from a wonky dream or because my sinuses are again waging war on my respiratory system and reach just behind my knees and find a warm furry body…and a soul that reminded me that I wasn’t stuck in a never-stopping elevator or trapped under the stairs at the Manchester airport, but I was home with my furry family and it was okay.

My knees are cold.

On Friday morning Scott and I made the decision to cease treatment of Profile’s tumor that had invaded the muscles that spread over the top of his skinny little pointed head. The vet told me things like “mottled places on the skull” and “could degenerate quickly” and “small chance of relief from surgery.” I heard over and over “it’s done, you now have two greyhounds instead of three, and your knees are going to be cold.” Just like that…I walked out into the parking lot at the vet hospital and called my parents, crying my eyes out, while Scott made arrangements with the vet. Just like that…I woke up that morning and had three, now I had two. Just like that…Profee walked into the back area of the vet’s office, as proud and brave as ever, and I never saw my handsome man again.

But I’m okay. Much more okay than I thought I’d be. I cried a lot, but I’m done crying, at least for now. I packed up his collars and muzzle and put them out of sight till I’m ready. I cleaned up the toys he’d thrown around the den and vaccumed his hair out of the carpet. I loved that dog so much…Profile and I went through injuries together, he helped me be steady when my vertigo hit, he could understand me in two languages…he was always looking out for me, even to go so far as to look into the shower to make sure the water wasn’t hurting me. But I’m okay.

Urban Family asked me to join them Sunday night for dinner, and when I spoke to my dear friend in Yorkshire he said that he was glad I was out with people because apparently all of them thought I was going to put my head in the oven just as soon as I got back to Montgomery. Not so. My oven is electric anyway, and I don’t do crispy.

So to my Profee-Man, My Noodle, My Bubby-Boy, godspeed. Thank you for the past six years. There is so much of it that I couldn’t have gotten through without you. SO much. Thank you for listening and for not minding if I got your fur wet when I needed to cry. Thank you for ALWAYS knowing when to lick me on the end of the nose, especially right after you’d licked something unpleasant. Thank you for the crop circles you left in the leaves out in the backyard, and for the bits of plastic bag that I’m still finding in the den from the last time I took too long to let you out. Thank you for finding your way back to me after you were adopted that one time. Thank you for finding me, I’d been lost for a very long time.

Much love, Noodle. MUCH love. My knees will be cold but my heart is warm.

Mommy

Wise Beyond his Years

i dont know if this will help at all but maybe instead of thinking of the cancer as a totaly bad thing think of it as his special little message to you to tell you that he is getting close to learning how to love and wanted to let you know so that you would be ready when ever his time does come and so you can prepare your self.

-R. Cales, 14 years old, commenting on my guilt that I’ve let Profile down…he had said earlier in that message that each creature on the earth is here to learn how to love and then is called “back home.” Animals catch on faster than humans, and therefore their lives aren’t as long.

Profile

he looked the same tonight
when I got home from work, tired
from a long day of problems
psychosis
target languages and long training sessions

he looked the same as this morning
when I left him in his crate
settling in for a day of napping
a day of not caring
making a nest of comforters to comfort his tired body

he looked the same when I got home
after getting the news
after knowing that the knot on his head
the bulge just behind his left ear may kill him
he looked the same

don’t know what I expected
thought about him all day long
thought about not having him around
thought about not having done enough
not having loved him enough
not having worked hard enough
not having enough money to save him

he looked the same to me
he looked up to me
I let him down

promised to keep him safe and warm
promised to keep him fed and dry
promised to protect him, but the enemy came anyway
the silent enemy
the enemy that will take my boy from me
the enemy that will take my heart from me
piece by piece until it’s gone

I’d just gotten it back.

he looks the same to me still
curled on my bed
wound into my heart

he looks the same to me

-N, 28 November 2006