Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A silver lining.....

It occurred to me me yesterday how the the saying "Every Cloud has a silver lining" applied to me, and our oldest Newfie girl Cora. Cora is our first Newfie.. our old girl, and the matriarch of our Newfie pack. She has always been so good, so placid... so obedient.... and just reliable. This has been such a blessing, because our other 3 Newfs are adopted from Newfoundland Rescue, and all have a variety of issues that make it necessary to focus on them most of the time.
Cora has been content to remain in the background.... not loved any less, but perhaps not loved enough. "She's such a good girl...." we've been known to say... and I think we've taken her for granted... WAY TOO MUCH. In the last few weeks, reality has reared it's ugly head.

Cora is 11 3/4 years, and in the last year or so, has shown signs of slowing down. We have been aware of this "peripherally" but have also been in denial. However, three weeks ago, she could not get up one day... and I had to help her. Russell was away at scout camp, and I had to pull her from her crate, and then use a sling to support her rear end. She could then walk fairly easily. Our Vet gave us medication for arthritis, so I gave her one and it helped. SO for the next week, I gave her pills when she needed them.. and there were times when she'd be up on her own.

Russell came home, and this continued. We talked about taking her to the vet, but then I became quite ill, and once again our Cora's needs faded into the background.
Russell began grooming Cora. This is something that she despises... grooming is the one thing that makes her misbehave and be non compliant. It's always been a huge ordeal to groom and bathe her, and so we don't make her endure this as often as we should. Yet she was hot, and we knew that it had to be done... So Russell worked on her every day... and I helped when I could.

It was then when we discovered an open wound on her elbow.... I knew in my heart that it was bad... I was so sure. Newfies are prone to Osteo-Sarcoma, which at least one of Cora's litter mates died from. So with heavy hearts, we cleaned and bandaged it. She would take the bandage off so we put on Ben's e-collar... that was quite distressing for the old girl. I hated it so.. and guilt, remorse and regret filled my heart and soul.

Finally we were at the Vet's office. After a long wait, we were seen and I held my breath as our Vet examined her. I knew we would hear her death sentence, and I sat there, rigid with tension. I didn't really hear what the Dr. said... I was so immersed in fear and emotion... but suddenly I realized that Cora didn't have what we thought. It wasn't cancer.. it was a very ugly sore from where she had rubbed off the "natural callous" on her elbow. Relief cascade through me and I was sobbing. The vet was a bit perplexed by my reaction, and I explained my fears. She reassured me and we talked at length.... and a treatment plan was devised... a geriatric blood panel was done. She's on all sorts of meds. We took her home and spent all weekend continuing to groom and finally bathe her.

And this brings me to the entire point of this blog. The silver lining of this "cloud"..... We are finally back to devoting time to our special girl... our first Newfie... she is with me right now.. and I've barely left her side in the last few weeks. We've had one hell of a reality check... and each one of our dogs is special and deserves equal time. There is no way I will ever let Cora fade into the background.. and I thank GOD for this opportunity to make amends and reconnect with my special girlie... we have had a wonderful journey together... have had incredible adventures and those are going to continue.

Thank you Lord... for this opportunity... for gently jerking our chain and opening our eyes.... for allowing us to make the most of every day we have with Cora... however long that may be.

I love you Cora.... so very very very much.

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