Old Dogs

Friends For Life

By the time a dog has a muzzle as white as Maisie's they've lived to see a lot of things. 

You hope the white muzzle represents years of walks, soft beds, friendly pats and looking up at someone who looks back with love. For Maisie, we are not sure she has many memories like that. She ended up in the city shelter over Thanksgiving and to be sure, we are grateful that she thus ended her years of street living. She got a meal, a place to sleep out of the weather and a veterinarian to check on her. She got connected to people who reached out on her behalf. I don't think many people have done much on Maisie's behalf before now. But a lot of people jumped in trying to make up for that in their way just lately.

When she crossed our path, she had missed lots of meals. She had missed lots of heartworm preventative and now has heartworms. She never got spayed, so somewhere out there, she probably has lots of puppies. She ducks her head when we move to pet her. She seems to have an urgency about her to bolt--just to move in any direction. It is as if she is constantly trying to locate something or maybe someone. She looks past us at whatever that is that neither she nor we can see. She's been started on doxycycline in preparation for her heartworm treatment. She will need to be spayed and our vets will determine when she is strong enough for that and plan it around getting those heartworms treated. She will also need an extensive dental, as not only is she a senior, but it appears her diet has not been good for a long, long time. She's "lumpy" and that is often just benign lipomas.We will look at each closely. Some are close the spot mammary cancer shows up.  Step by step, we take this journey together. 

We're here now. Maisie is no longer alone. Our medical team will work to repair her body. But the really broken part--the shattering of her trust in humans, is something we cannot cut or inject away. It is only cured by moments. Thousands of moments must overwrite the moments that came before. We now work to eclipse memories of the hunger, fear and loneliness that loom behind her eyes. Armed with soft beds and softer voices, we begin. 


I have a bed, my very own.
It’s just my size.
And sometimes I like to sleep alone
with dreams inside my eyes.

But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy
and I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.
But I’m no longer sleepy
and too slowly the hours go by.

So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon
is shining on your face
and I know it will be morning soon.

Everybody needs a safe place.

                                             Mary Oliver, Dog Songs