This is the picure I took of my twins before they left for college this September. If it weren’t for the Emergency Animal Hospital in Fairfield, this farewell photo of my childrens’ childhood pet, Lucky, would in all likelihood never have been taken. Our 13 -year old springer spaniel underwent emergency surgery in July. The main thing I communicated to Dr. Hunt, the amazing surgeon was, “Please don’t let Lucky die just before David and Julia go to college.” I couldn’t imagine a worse send-off from home. In David and Julia’s eyes, Lucky WAS home.
So this Thanksgiving I am grateful for the skilled doctors and staff at the Emergency Animal Hospital who helped keep Lucky alive and healthy this year. All of Baristaville’s pet owners can themselves feel lucky and reassured knowing such an outstanding facility exists right here in Essex County, and that it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am sure that many pet owners in other areas are not nearly as fortunate as we are.
Lucky’s illness in July was a true wake up call to the thought our family had been suppressing for a while—no 13-year old dog can live forever. And, since July, Lucky has already developed some new conditions which hamper his walking and proprieception. Thus, we have seen Dr. Hunt again, and even consulted with the Hospital’s neurologist.
Without a doubt, though, Lucky’s still got his “mojo.” Among other activities, including sleep, Lucky loves to eat, to smell (which I’ve come to equate with reading), to wag his tail, to keep himself and his habitat clean, to bark at our long-suffering but good-natured mailman.
Family dogs are part of a family’s legend. I had Suzie growing up, my husband had Frisky, my father had Trixie in 1925 and my mother had Brownie in 1935. Already a legend in his lifetime, Lucky has been the “mayor of Glenview Road,” observing and watching the street from his favorite spot on our front porch. Over the years he has made his way to a neighbor’s kitchen, (she didn’t mind), across the street to a neighbor’s pool party, (she did mind), and to his friend Molly’s house a few doors down for nighttime visits (My friend Marge was glad to see him).
Talking with people about their older dogs and end of life experiences is not easy. Tears well up in peoples’ eyes as they remember their dogs and their last years or final days. I hope nature will be kind to Lucky and our family. I hope he will neither suffer pain nor the indignity of old age.
Right now, though, I am grateful for his presence. For all the years of love and pleasure he has given us. For all of the sitters who have cared for him and walked him when we couldn’t. For the South Mountain Reservation where he has pranced and sniffed like the athletic hunting dog he is. If you love your pet, I am sure you have similar feelings of gratitude, too.
This year, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast and your dog enjoyed the table scraps. I know Lucky did.