Despite being nearly seventy years old in dog years and being mortally ill with throat cancer, Kaiser still has it in him. And by “it”, I mean the will to fight. He has always been a scrapper; never a fan of other dogs, he has fought with all breeds, ages and sizes since he reached adolescence. In addition, he gets rather feisty with Nala from time to time, whether it is over food or random dominance battles. That is exactly what happened moments ago in our kitchen…over an ice cube. Every time that I scoop ice from our freezer, both dogs frantically run into the kitchen, in hopes of acquiring a fat-free frozen treat on these hot summer days. Although I didn’t give them one today, which may have lent itself as to why they were upset, as they turned to leave the kitchen, it was on. Either Nala looked at Kaiser sideways or Kaiser didn’t appreciate the side eye that Nala was handing out because as they both took a step forward, they simultaneously turned and began battling. It is normally mostly bark and minimal bite but two large Rotties getting crazy is always enough to get me yelling as loud as possible and stomping my feet, in an effort to break their attention away from one another. Since they are both aging and quite frankly not in the mood for craziness like they used to “back in the day”, the brawl was brief and short-lived. No injuries reported and both parties retreated to separate corners of the house, as they normally do for a short period of sulking and licking their wounds, if you will.
Although I don’t want to see my dogs fight, or any cross feelings between anyone in my midst, it is still nice to see that his soul is alive and well. He can’t fight his instincts which is both real and raw. Dogs can’t lie or fake it so it warmed my heart to see him want to get wild with his kid sister. It will be rather telling when he does slow down to the point that a quick ice cube brawl is too much for him to sustain. I know that day will come eventually but let’s hope it is later than sooner.
Afterword: About twenty minutes later, as I continued thinking about this post, I couldn’t help but consider the similar behaviors that humans engage in. The main difference is that as humans, we have the self-awareness and knowledge of our condition, which is both a blessing and a curse in my opinion. For instance, if we have knowledge of a terminal illness, some of us may shelter ourselves or limit our energy exertion, which goes completely against acting purely on instinct. If we are aware that we are sick, we may not solely act on how we actually feel but we factor the knowledge of our sickness and all of the negative attributes in when we make decisions or assess ourselves.
I have said it before and I will say it again – we have a lot to learn from the animals in our lives. Now I am off to refill Kaiser’s food bowl, so his belly can be full and his heart can be happy.
As I sit here watching the 9pm news on the West coast, I find it incredibly sad that the Charlottesville, Virginia police department has to essentially shut the city down, on the anniversary of the nasty white supremacist demonstration ‘Unite the Right’ one year ago this weekend. The event last August resulted in three people dying and over 38 other injured. Fearing another catastrophic and dangerous event, authorities are prepping in an attempt to keep their residents as safe as possible. Isn’t it a sad world that we live in, one that necessitates the closure of city streets and strict implementation of heavier rules, in order to keep people safe from each other? It’s 2018 right now. This country is the most volatile I have seen it in my lifetime. It is scary at times as our future is uncertain. It seems like nowhere is truly safe anymore as homegrown terrorists lurk in both urban and rural environments. Our sense of community, with love for thy neighbor, feels lost but hopefully not forgotten. I can’t help but wonder, where do we go from here?
How is it that I have watched the Sex and the City movie, as well as years of episode reruns, over and over again, yet when it is on TV, just as it is right now, I can’t help but watch it once more! It is just that good. I just found myself standing in front of our television, lovingly staring at our eighty inch screen, as Miranda and Steve reunite on the Brooklyn bridge. Those ladies give me laughs and give me hope; laugh if you want but it’s true.
And that leads me to the second thing I am loving right now: infrared saunas. After discovering our new local sweat spot, the Organic Sweat Shack, I have now fallen in love with climbing into a small cedar room and sweating my ass off. Literally. Outside of sweating and shedding a few pounds during a session, the additional benefits are worth exploring – detoxification, cell growth, improved circulation, and relaxation just to name a few. My hope is to aid my knee in healing and to drop a few pounds while doing so. Plus it feels great to sweat again, as I slowly transition back into an active lifestyle.
If you haven’t seen the headline yet, there was a major victory today for environmental justice and a very sick man. Monsanto, the agricultural giant who is responsible for the grossly popular weedkiller RoundUp, was ordered to pay $289 million to Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who developed cancer as a result of being exposed to the herbicide (primary ingredient of glyphosate). Read the full article here.
This victory hopefully signifies a shift in the wind regarding the widespread and accepted use of this harsh chemical. Despite multiple scientific studies, and the horribly sick people to prove its harmful effects, companies such as Monsanto are able to weasel their way into the pockets of the EPA and lawmakers. Glyphosate is still widely used in the US despite being banned in Europe (the EU tends to be much more environmentally progressive and intelligent than the US most of the time). We can only hope that this landmark case will continue to move our country closer to ridding our farm workers’ and landscapers’ hands from this nasty toxin.
During my time of recovery, from my recent knee surgery, Hugo has been emotionally and physically supporting me every step of the way. He is upstairs playing one of his favorite computer games as I write this – one of the first moments during his time at home that he has taken a break from tending to me. You can’t help but take those close to you for granted at times, especially when you are with them a lot. This isn’t an intentional act at all. Just how life works sometimes. When I take a brief step back to appreciate all he has done for me in the recent weeks, it makes me realize once again, how truly lucky I am to have someone of his caliber in my life.
As Kaiser sauntered into the bathroom, as he has been following me everywhere in recent weeks, I turned to look at his sunken face. The bones of his skull are now exposed because of all the weight he has lost from cancer. His hip bones are pronounced as they pop out just next to his tail and his spiky spine is rigid along the length of his back. I have been feeding him several times a day with meaty meals, in an attempt to not only put weight on him but to also make his final days as happy as possible.
Kaiser has an incredible attitude considering his prognosis and that really is one of the most amazing attributes that animals have. Since they don’t have the knowledge or awareness of their condition (or maybe they do), they are outwardly as happy as they feel. Today he happens to feel pretty good so he is exuding joy from his eyes, as he chases me around the house. He has gotten a few hyper jumps on the front door in over the past few days, as the UPS delivery man approaches and he goes into full-blown puppy dog mode again. Hugo even suggested that we lean our mobile plastic gate against the door, in an effort to prevent our crazed old dog from pouncing on the door and possibly breaking the glass. These are his last few days of excitement in his life so we decided to let him jump away, even if the door gets scratched.
When Kaiser followed me into the bathroom today I told him out loud, “This could be your last Thursday buddy.” Not really sure why I said it but it just came out. But it got me thinking; this could be all of our last Thursday. Anything could happen to any one of us today and we could not make it to next week. So, after my brief moment of inward reflection in my dimly bathroom this afternoon with my ailing dog, we both decided, together, to embrace every moment. Live each day as if you are sick, but can’t feel it. Chase your loved ones around the house, eat as much as you want, and don’t think so much. In short, adopt Kaiser’s lifestyle. Celebrate every day as a blessing because just like Kaiser, they could be our last.
Tonight was probably the 15th time Hugo and I have made this glorious dinner of Greek Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce so I felt it was appropriate to share this. We absolutely love Mediterranean food so any excuse to eat it, we take it! Explore the Brown Eyed Baker‘s entire website as there are lots of fun treats on there ♥