Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Angel, Isaiah

Sometimes, angels are people you encounter who just do what they do... but they do it with compassion. Yesterday we received the bad news that our beautiful 12-year-old dog, Isaiah, has a very aggressive form of terminal cancer. Given the type of cancer and the abrupt appearance of a softball-sized tumor, our veterinarian expects his time with us to be quite limited. And so, she has become our champion in helping us to ease his pain and suffering until he tells us when it's "time"... something, she assures us, he will let us know very clearly.

Let us also not forget our pets, the angels who bring so much joy to our lives in exchange for simple pleasures... a pat on the head, a morsel of food, a chance to lay at your feet. My beautiful "4-legged child" is the most angelic canine companion I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Among his virtues, I have found that he is Patient -- waiting calmly for his dinner without ever begging at the table despite the wafting scent of hamburger, as well as waiting for his nightly walk until the kids have all gone to bed; Tolerant -- never snapping, biting, or even growling a complaint EVER! even as the boys climbed over him, stepped on him, rode him like a pony (he's nearly that big), and otherwise poked or prodded him in the eyes, ears, butt and other unseemly places; Vigilant -- always at the ready to protect his people and his house, barking out big-dog warnings when suspicious doings were afoot... even when he lay asleep at our bedside (don't let the snoring fool you); Trustworthy -- sitting stalwart and untethered as I disappeared down the block giving chase to his 4-legged sibling who wanders off whenever she gets the chance (which is not often since we know this about her); Loyal -- walking by my side wherever I go, coming to rest in whatever room I occupy and following me to the ends of the earth just to be near me. This dog has shown me unconditional love like no other being -- be it human, canine, feline or any other.

And, even now, in his disrepair, he seeks me out for belly rubs, for company, or just to lean on me. He trusts me inherently... with his care... with his life. Much the way I trust him. I will miss Isaiah more than I can even let my heart imagine right now. So, while I pray for a miracle cure for this angel in my life, I hope that in whatever time he has left with us on this earth -- 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 years -- I can show him the same unconditional love that he has always shown me. And maybe, in some small way, I can be his angel in his time of need.

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