Still learning from a dog


This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Learning from dogs

I know I’m going to be crying while I write this.  

I’ve written about Dewey, the little guy on the right.
He was diagnosed with lymphoma back in February of this year.
Nothing short of a miracle is going to save him now.

After a few weeks on chemo, he was given an 80-90% chance of going into remission.
After his chemo cycle ended, and he was within a couple weeks of going into an observation period, it came back.

His chances were reduced to about 50%, not for remission, but for prolonging his life while on chemo treatment the whole time.

Not even two weeks after that, the cancer is growing and spreading quickly.

Like I said – only a miracle will save him now.

But he’s still happy.  He doesn’t have the energy he once did.  
He conserves it for what’s important – barking at the mailman, at other dogs, at birds, helicopters that he can see from the back windows.
And, of course, the two of us still have three meals together on most days.  It’s a family thing when my wife’s home in time – us and all three of the “kids”.


It’s time to see what I’ve learned from Dewey.

I just got off the phone with Dewey’s oncologist.

Even with the most expensive chemo options, Dewey has, at most, a 25% chance at living a few more months.
On top of that, his quality of life would probably not be good.
As I said – he was himself most days on the previous regimen.  However, according to the blood tests, it has taken it’s toll on his bone marrow.  His chances of getting an infection are getting too high – and if he does catch something, probably wouldn’t survive it.  And, since it’s multiple drugs – the side effects would be worse and more prolonged.  

The bottom line – Dewey wouldn’t be Dewey anymore.

He’s probably got a month or so left in this life.  

He had a good life.

And we enjoyed him so much.

But what do we do now?

Have I learned enough from Dewey to enjoy him for whatever time he has left?
Or will I be sad the whole time – and miss out on his final days?

Back when I was 5 years old, I learned people couldn’t be trusted.
I learned that people disappoint you.
I learned that people come and go in your life.
I learned that not caring was better than caring – because if you didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt as much later.

Over the next 58 years, I’ve had that lesson reinforced more often than I’ve had any reason to think it was wrong.

But then along came Dewey.

I feel like God really put Dewey in my life to teach me that – not only was it OK to care and OK to enjoy life – but that it’s something we should do.

Jesus tells us He came to have life to the full.

Dewey showed me that he had life to the full.
Dewey loved everyone.  And everyone loved Dewey back.

Jesus tells us that we will spend forever with Him – if we want to.  If we choose His offer of salvation.

I have done that.
I expect to be with Him.
Many others in my life – I’m guessing not – that they won’t be there.
Some of them – they will.

I wrote something several years ago, when we lost two other Shih-Tzu’s.  
Brothers.  Real brothers – from the same litter.
Both born the same day (obviously).
Both had to be put to sleep the same day.  One was deteriorating – and then it was obvious that his time was at an end.  If you’ve never had a dog – you may not understand that.  If you have – you know what I mean.  The other – he was doing fine until a couple days before that.  All of a sudden, he developed internal bleeding that couldn’t be stopped.  They left this world the way they came in.  Together.

After that. I wrote All dogs go to Heaven, don’t they?

What do I do later?

In Revelation, it says –

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes

Truthfully – that’s hard to imagine.
However – I have to believe that it will happen – that God can do it.

I pray that part of it will be from being reunited with some of the people I’ve known –
some of the people I’ve communicated with only via the Internet –
and our “boys” – our pets.  Including Dewey.

Even if that doesn’t happen though –
There’s still the promise that every tear will be wiped away.

So, in the meantime – I should learn to really live life the way Dewey did –
to live life the way Jesus said we could / should / would – 
to live life to the full.

Whatever pain that comes with it should be far outweighed by the good things.  Dewey showed me that.

And whatever tears may come along the way – like now – will be wiped away.
Jesus will do that.

Sounds impossible.

But Jesus also said that with God all things are possible.

And so I pray for “all things”.
Some are definitely Biblical.
Some – like in All Dogs Go Go Heaven, Don’t They? – maybe – maybe not.
But I can still pray, can’t I?

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