June 21, 2017
The iPhone in my pocket vibrated and startled me. The notification read: 1 missed call and voicemail.
Oh, it was Lynn. Maybe she needs us to take Tux for a few days.
Meet AKC Champion Mystic Oz’s Formal Affair (Tux, for short.)
Lynn’s voice was choppy and filled with despair. “Peter, please give me a call as soon as you can. We are at the vet with Tux right now.”
I called immediately.
Lynn was crying. “We’re waiting for blood work results. He has bloat. They want to see if he can handle anesthesia, or if it is even worth trying to operate because he’s 13, and he might have something else wrong.”
Lynn’s voice went silent, but I could her struggle to restrain from sobbing. She continued, “The worst part it is, Summer found him. She was outside with him right after he had dinner. She came in the house hysterical, ‘Mommy, Mommy Tux is sick and he’s hurt. He needs ice cubes. He loves ice cubes.’ I saw him and he was foaming at the mouth and convulsing. I knew he was bloating.”
I was stunned and nothing else mattered in that moment. I let her continue.
“Peter, this can’t be it. It can’t be. A 6-year old little girl should not lose her best friend on her birthday. She can’t; it would scar her for life. It’s not his time yet.”
Oh my God. That’s right, today is the first day of Summer and it’s Summer’s birthday. What can I possibly do here?
Cathy and I used to own Tux years ago. He is the most wonderful and affectionate boy who loves to be the center of attention. When we decided to “retire” from the dog show life, we placed Tux with Lynn and her family because we knew he would thrive as being the only dog in the house.
You see, we had five other Samoyeds at the time, including Tux’s “girlfriend” and one of his daughters. We still love Tux very much, and we feel like grandparents when we get to see our old boy on the occasions when he stays with us while Lynn’s family takes a vacation.
The only thing I could do at that moment to help Lynn was to let her know that Cathy and me will support her. No matter what the diagnosis was, no matter what decision they had to make, we were behind her 100%.
All I could do was be a friend and offer my empathy. All I could do was listen with an understanding ear. All I could do was just be me, and wait.
Tux was eligible for surgery.
Lynn texted, “Not sure where $ will come from but God will provide and we did the right thing.”
I found my purpose. Drawing on the painful experiences of losing five of our beloved Sammies in the past 17 years, I pointed Lynn in the direction of financial resources that could help her family. I gave her options to explore. I gave her some hope that they could do all they could to help Tux.
June 23, 2017.
Tux survived surgery and is back home with his family! Summer will have to wait until she is 16 to have the worst birthday ever :)
There are circumstances, situations, and experiences in our lives that can make us feel inept or otherwise make us feel a sense of desperation. There may be a gut-feeling that we have that makes us nauseous and confused and depressed. Our lives, our interactions with others, and our relationships can become strained.
However, when we trust ourselves and honor our values, we can help others avoid similar pitfalls. Sometimes, we can use our hardships of past/current experiences to let others know they are not alone.
Maybe, that’s all we can afford to give. Maybe, that’s all someone else needs.
Maybe, we are the beacon to guide someone out of darkness and into safety.
Maybe, just maybe, out of the blue, someone will step into your life and relieve your burden.
Welcome home, Tuckie. (Summer’s name for him) Welcome home!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.