Every time I take Casey to the chiropractor she asks me if I've figured out why he's come into our lives. I have several answers; he's healing us, he's not limited by his disability,he doesn't recognize he even has a disability, not to give up even when it's hard.
As writers we show that which serves the story best. I don't know the end to Casey's story. I hope it's triumphant - with four legs running along the canal beside his brother Ky. When I write in the journal the victories that lead to that happy ending are the ones I record. The hiccups and obstacles that could lead to the loss of his leg are glossed over; not even written until they are hurdled.
Today was different. And I'm recording it here, without edits and as few slants as I can manage, for a variety of reasons. I'm no longer sure that my optimism isn't delusion. I'm no longer certain of his commitment to the battle. The big picture is still influenced by my will.
He cried in the car all the way to the appointment which isn't like him at all. He's great in the car, neither his bladder nor bowel needed emptying. Once there he sniffed around outside then jumped up to hug his beloved healer with both front legs. Inside her office he lay down on the adjustment table and whimpered. His shoulder hurt. A thorough examination revealed that on top of everything else, Casey has slipped his rotator cuff(that was not the technical diagnosis). A specific massage was added to the rest of his therapies. And this time when asked why he came into my life I answered, "Because he teaches me not to give up."
On the way out to the car, we were approached by a woman who does quantum healing from a distance. While I have little idea what that is, we agreed to let her work on Casey. She didn't need our presence, only his name and we're grateful for every positive thought sent his way.
Driving home, he started to cry again. I glanced in the back seat to see him lying on his injured side. "Silly dog. Get up and lie on the other side. It will hurt less," I told him. He immediately did as I suggested and stopped crying. Smart boy! I was so impressed he listened.
At home I changed, clipped him into his life jacket and jumped into the hot tub. This was the first time doing it on my own. I couldn't reach the jets and hold him. I forgot the timer. So he swam while I counted. Slower and slower until he just stopped.
No matter what I said, he wouldn't swim. I lifted him, turned him, stretched my arm to reach the jets. Nothing. He hung there limp and stared at me.
I sank to my knees and let him drift his weight onto my thighs. He tucked his head on my shoulder and we sat on the bottom of the hot tub. And I wondered if maybe he wanted to quit after all.
So I asked him. I told him there was no shame and that it was okay. That if he was tired, we could stop. If he wanted to give up the leg and run fast with three that we could do that too. I told him it was his body and up to him how we proceeded.
With just each other in the relative silence we sat together and I let him decide what to do next. I have no idea how long we sat there while the water boiled around us, bubbles popped around his chin and my arms. Mist hung over the garage and tears blurred my vision.
With a tentative kick, Casey slid off my knees and started paddling. Slow at first, then stronger, steadier, faster. I stood up and supported him. Cheered him and praised him.
There may be no quit in Casey but today he reminded me that there are times when you need a little break.