Thursday, November 10, 2011


The cold front that blew in last night is ripping the remaining leaves from their tree limbs today. The mostly yellow, some red, and brown leaves float past my view from the back porch window, first one direction, and then they change and go the other with the shifting unseen currents that move them. It is chilly today and my ears felt this first sting of the lowered temperature and cool breeze. It is driving me nuts to not be able to climb on a horse or at least take Sunset out with the carriage. My spirit says “yes” and my not quite healed up rib, with every breath I take, says a strongly emphatic “NO”. Reluctantly I wait for my cartilage and bone to repair itself.

The past few days have been adrift in raw emotion. The events of the weekend seem like they happened a few years ago, and yet they are only hours past. What began as an exciting weekend full of anticipation for watching an epic match up in a college football game, got all jarbled up with the concurrent, and totally unexpected decline and finally, euthanasia, of our little terrier, Marley. It began on Thursday afternoon when at feeding time, the black kitty that shares the young horses’ feed was rolling around in the dust as usual and let her guard down about a rare, but possible dog chase. She happened to be very close to the fence and when I threw the hay to the horses Marley went with me and saw the cat right in front of her and could not resist a chase, so off she went. I did not see an encounter as a horse obscured my view, heard no squeal, and the cat ran off to the shrubs to the right and Marley trotted my direction, with a new limp.

On Friday morning I called the vet to see what she might have done and to give her some relief from her discomfort. He quickly assessed she had pulled a knee ligament and gave me some pills to give her and said to keep her quiet. By afternoon she was much better. Then Saturday morning she was worse and I assumed the pain med was not enough, based on her actions. I called the vet again and arranged to pick up a different pain killer and did. She slept most of the afternoon on my chest with the effect of this new drug as we waited the last few hours for the start of the game on tv.

The game began as many had guessed it would, as a royal slug fest, and we were torn between hooting and hollering in reaction, and trying to keep a sleepy Marley quiet as she lay on the sofa with us. We had noticed that Marley was having some strange coordination problems, walking in circles, and twitching which I first assumed was the effect of the stronger sedative now wearing off and pain returning.

It then went down hill rapidly from there and the game’s interest got put on hold. I spent a sleepless night with her on the sofa, hugging her and trying give some comfort in her confusion and pain, feeling the inevitable would come in the morning if not sooner.

As soon as I could contact my vet, we drove her is a stunned silence to the clinic, Mark holding Marley wrapped in a towel in his arms, with tears flowing freely. Ruling many things out to be the cause left that she had had a brain lesion or tumor and was not going to get better and she was relieved of this life with a quick and easy shot.

It happened so fast I am still reeling with the questions of how, why, what did I miss, and was there a correlation with the knee or did the new symptoms of a neurological problem have anything to with it at all, or was a preexisting condition there and we triggered it somehow? Or was a simple coincidence? I will never know. Unresolved guilt and grief do not make for a healthy way to live and I will have to deal with it, and know that the choices made, and the actions and reactions and all the guessing I could do for a life time, will not bring that precious little dog back. Marley lived a very long and very happy life on this farm, never a sick day in her life, ruling as the queen she was until the very, sad, ending.

We buried her next to the also recently departed Lab, Memphis, on the trail on the dam of the little pond. It is almost exactly the same spot where Mark caught the biggest fish to come out of our waters a few weeks ago. I got the scene on video and in it one can see Marley doing what she loved to do most of all in life, trying to lick the fish. Mark had to push her away from this fish because its mouth was so huge it could have taken her in and swam away with her. She was very excited at that moment and very happy and I will remember her there, and in all the vast places that she filled in our farm world.

The pack is down to two dogs now, from our previous four, leaving Jack the might terrorist, and Heidi the Nazi shepherd. With Memphis’ death, there was a big hole in the energy left behind, but now with Marley gone, it is quiet, lonely, and it is like some one turned out a very large and brilliant light leaving an unimaginable and un-fillable void. Marley was without doubt, the coolest, most engaging, definitely the cutest, biggest spirited, pint sized little mop of fur with an attitude that I have ever known and will remain at the top of my list as the Best Dog ever for a long time.

At some point down the distant future I will get another dog, a puppy most likely, to replace some of the pack, but I am not ready yet. For now my other geriatric dogs, will have to try to fill in all the roles left behind from the passing of Memphis and now Marley. They are old too, and their times will be coming in the future, which I hope will be a good distance off, especially in long enough time for poor Mark’s back to heal from the strains of having had to dig now, two graves in the incredibly hard packed dry as concrete clay that makes up the little pond‘s dam. It is heating pad time with advil for him for now.

This all made for quite an emotional weekend, that, and our team lost their game. Personally I am ready for whatever planetary misalignment there is out there, to get back in place and let some easier times be had by all.

RIP Marley

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