Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Unconditional Love

Wow. So I have sucked at blogging lately, eh? It's been over a year since my last post! That's not to say I haven't done blog-worthy things, because 2015 was oodles of fun! I'll go with the "I was too busy having fun to blog about the fun I was having" excuse.

Now, here on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 3:06 AM in this post-shoulder surgery state where I find myself - just awake enough to think I'm having lucid thoughts, just on the cusp of misery because I slept past my next scheduled dose of painkillers, and just tired enough that I could close my eyes mid-typing and wake up two hours later - I find myself contemplating the idea of unconditional love.

Pretty heady stuff for someone so loopy!

If you've never owned a dog, this post may not resonate with you...but it just might inspire you.

You see...up until five days ago, the biggest concern for my dog, Oscar (a 14.5 year old German Shorthaired Pointer) was whether to take a nap on his bed or in his chair. Or maybe it was whether he should angle for a hard cookie by staring at the cookie jar on the counter or tap dance in front of the pantry door in the hopes of getting a Pupperoni or Snausage soft treat. Because, you see...until last Thursday, life was pretty good for my spoiled rotten ol' pup! All he needed to worry about was dog stuff - where to nap, how many cookies he could get, when to pee.

But last Thursday afternoon, that all changed when I came home bandaged, slinged, and drugged up. Oscar immediately noticed "something was wrong with Momma!" and has been in guard dog mode ever since. He has hardly left my side since I got home from my surgery.

It is incredible. I would swear on a stack of Bibles that his concern is palpable... tangible... REAL. In these first few nights when sleep hasn't come as readily or as long as I'd like, Oscar has been here. I'm getting my rest on my recliner couch and Oscar either sleeps on his bed at the foot of the couch or across the room in his chair (yes, HIS chair).

When I wake, he wakes. He looks over at me as if to say, "Are you OK, Momma?" so I say out loud, "Yes, baby...Momma's OK." The first night I was home, I got up to use the bathroom and when I opened the door to leave, there was Oscar waiting for me...seemingly making sure I hadn't fallen in. This is the same dog for whom the "Aunt Bethany" principle applies - you know...from "Christmas Vacation" - "you wouldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant!" Yet if I shift in my spot or rearrange the blanket or whimper in pain...he's right there for me.

Friday night into Saturday was simply awful for me. I was restless and in quite a bit of pain. I was wide awake at 3:30 AM (not unlike right now, ha!) and downright miserable. I truly believe Oscar sensed this and knew I needed help, even if I was too stubborn or proud to ask for it at that hour of the night. He simply paced back and forth between the kitchen and the foyer until he woke Chris up with all of his toe-tapping on the floor. Again, I'd swear that when Chris showed up in the kitchen asking if I was OK, Oscar looked at me like, "I helped you, Momma!"

It's actually moved me to tears a few times already which, admittedly, isn't hard to do. I tend to be quite weepy in the days following any kind of anesthesia. To be getting this kind of love and attention is crazy! I'm not the alpha in this house. Hell, I'm not even the beta. The power rankings in this house put me at #3...maybe even #4 behind the Betta fish! Oscar and I have always been snuggle buddies, but he has never exhibited this level of devotion to me before.

When he's looked at me the past few days, with his eyes clouded by cataracts...when he's nuzzled me with a muzzle full of white whiskers...when he's sighed contentedly after he's stretched out on his bed once I've settled into my resting place...all of these times, I have felt his unconditional love.

And that kind of love does wonders for the soul!!!

My handsome home healthcare hound takes a well-preserved break from guard dog duty.