I woke to a thudding noise that filled me with horror. Max was repeatedly standing up, walking a few steps, and then falling over. His incontinence had continued and after a few falls he laid back down on his sleeping mat. My father and I took him to the Langhorne Animal Hospital and in his weakened state I had to to lift him into the car, then into the hospital, then into the examination room. Some initial diagnostics suggested that he had a case of Lyme Disease that had blown out under his prednisone-weakened immune system. When done and while my father was attending to paperwork, I saw a family with a small girl walk into the hospital. The girl held a drawing in her hand that said “GET WELL SOON” and she said to her parents “I made Mittens a picture”.
My father was shaken by Max’s time in the hospital. He couldn’t physically move Max in the same way I could and I was also keeping track of Max’s medication. This has reminded my dad of his own limits but also reminded him that there are others. I’ve found the compassion required to care for this 82 lb dumb mass of incontinent, quivering, yet loving fur to be effortless and to tap into my “this is right” well that rarely gets touched. I hope I am equally able to draw from this well should the people around me one day need me to clean up after then, take care of their medication, and lead them through a medical structure where they have no idea what’s going on.