A Sadness

By Leslie Parks - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The light is new, peaking over the mountains as I pull into the deserted parking lot.  There is a little chill in the air, and I can almost smell autumn. I step out and the whole world is quiet. I take a breath and feel the calm soak into my bones. Opening the back of the van, I let out the dog. Suddenly the world becomes alive and vibrant. I feel the energy coursing through his whole body as he shakes with excitement. Nose to the ground he covers every inch, smelling in color, noting what animal has crossed the path. On days that sadness invades my world, I have only to take the dog out and I am transported into a world of here and now. Nothing else exists. Pure joy oozes from the dog. We've been here before but it is full of newness and wonder. If only I could bottle the optimism, the joie de vie of the dog. We take this walk at least once a week sometimes more and then one day we no longer could. He had been limping for a while after a long walk and with rest was back to his self, walking and running normally. And then it happened. The ligament tore completely. The limp is pronounced and it is painful to watch him walk. The trip to the back yard causes a popping sound of bones from that leg. His joie de vie is gone, and his days are spent sleeping. The walk to the food dish painful and the floors are slippery for a three legged dog. A trip to the vet confirmed his ACL was torn completely and surgery is needed. I expected $1500 but for his size the procedure is more complex, a cutting of the bone and a twisting, then pins and possibly a metal plate. It means 6 to 8 weeks of inactivity. Then slowly he can start walking a block on a leash, by the end of 12 weeks he might be able to wander the backyard with out a leash. During this time, there is no ball chasing, no stairs, no wandering the house. He needs to be confined to his kennel. It is a slow process and one that is going to be drawn out. I am hopeful that by spring, the dog will be back at full capacity and his joie de vie returned.

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