Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Confessions of a Dog Mom

As most of you know, in May I became "mom" to the cutest little white fluff ball you've ever seen. 

It has been loads of fun (and work) and I have learned a lot about what it's like to have a living creature be completely dependent on you. There have been moments when I was sure she was as needy as a child. 

Most of you probably also know that I am a worrier. And no, not the "I worry too much every now and then" kind. I'm talking the "I have a headache so obviously it's a massive brain tumor" kind. One sure way of gauging how close I am with someone is how much I worry about them. Let me paint a picture of just how irrational and ridiculous it can be: When I was a kid (think 7 or 8ish), I used to be extremely worried that my mom would be kidnapped by aliens, they would clone her and then send the clone back to be my mother. Yeah, keep laughing because I'm laughing right along with you. Pretty ridiculous, right? Thankfully, over the years I have learned to get the worrying under control. But it's still always something that I will struggle with. 

Recently I had an experience that really helped me grow in this area. This past weekend, Daisy officially lost the ability to reproduce cute little white fuzz balls of her own someday. We (mostly Seth) decided that it would be better to have her spayed than to end up with an accidental litter of puppies to take care of. Being the worrier that I am, I was not about to take her to a vet clinic that I wasn't familiar with. So I drove her down to Norman to her usual clinic where one of my best friends assisted with the surgery. When we got to the clinic, I signed the papers that explained the surgery, risks and all that jargon. I probably shouldn't have read the "worst case scenario" paragraph, but of course, I did. My mind instantly went to what would happen if the surgery didn't go well and I almost teared up as they took her back to the exam rooms and I was left to spend the day hoping things were going smoothly. For those of you that have never owned and raised a pet, this probably sounds ridiculous and pathetic. (And to some extent, it is) But pets easily lick and snuggle their way right into your heart and become like members of your family. 

The surgery went well (praise the Lord!) and my friend who works at the clinic sent me periodic picture updates of how she was doing. 

Here is one from just after the surgery. Talk about a pathetic face. 

She was still heavily medicated and nauseated from the anesthesia when I brought her home that evening. You could tell that the incision was hurting her and the usual sparkle was missing from her eyes. Of course, I completely freaked out. Even though these are completely normal post-surgery symptoms, I couldn't shake the fear that she wasn't going to make it (for some unknown reason that I couldn't rationalize, of course). Watching her be in pain and feel sick was heart-wrenching to say the least. 

And now here is the actual point of this blog.

Thinking back on the saga, it struck me that this is only a glimpse of what it must feel like to have a child who is ill. Obviously the care and worry are much, MUCH stronger for a child, so I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to send your baby in for surgery, chemotherapy or treatment of any kind. This train of thought gave me a whole new respect for parents. There used to be a sign in my grandparent's house that quoted Elizabeth Stone: "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." I had read this hundreds of times through the years, but never had even the slightest concept of it's meaning until this weekend. At church the following day, someone asked prayer for a 6-year-old who was recently diagnosed with cancer. My heart broke as I tried to imagine the pain and worry those parents must carry with them every single day and the trust in God it would take to get through that. Suddenly, my worries became nothing even worth thinking about. 

Some people show strength through physical power and influence; but the strongest people in the world are parents. 

     To end the blog on a light note, here is Daisy in her most pathetic state ever. 
She got a homemade "cone of shame" so she wouldn't lick the incision.
As you can tell, she loved it!