Wednesday, January 19, 2011

10 Scary Things: #9

9. Asked for help. 

I would rather that people offer help, instead of my putting myself out there and risking the discomfort, on both sides, of refusal, but when I needed help, I learned to take the chance. 

Not only does the widow no longer have the mate to chop up the remains of a rotted tree, 

but also there is the family to care for. I could bring Lulu to my dog-friendly office, but such service was beyond Cooper, cocooned as he was in limited vision and brain function. Daily Cooper duty proved too much to ask, so instead I asked five friends each to choose one weekday. They came to the house midday, let Cooper into the yard, talked to him for a few minutes, and gave him a biscuit. 

From my end, at least, it worked splendidly—OK, a neighbor, incomprehensibly, forgot Cooper one day, but he survived. And I think another friend wondered why I was keeping the dog alive, but never mind. 

Because it extended our family. Before Christmas, Cooper and I sat together on the couch with a catalogue and ordered tulip plants for all his helpers. 

And at Valentine’s Day, when I was feeling particularly bereft, Cooper and I had five Valentines to send. 


  1. a good lesson learned. Nice, Deb!

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  3. Marty said... (how do I get rid of damaltd said?)

    I would venture a guess that the friend who asked, "why keep Cooper alive?", doesn't have dogs or maybe no pets at all. They are our family, that's why. Hiro, our gray poodle just had another cancerous lump removed from his leg and is going through 27 days of radiation with 8 chemo sessions (every 3rd day during the radiation). I am driving 130 miles each day, round trip. I'm shocked at how many people have said "why not put him down?" Thinking it will be best for Hiro. Thankfully, this sarcoma will not kill him. It's not like cancer of some vital organ. He is our youngest son and you just don't do something like that to family.

    Thanks Enid for this morning's email about Debby's blog. I just started following today and have read everything and am thrilled to read such beautiful, extremely well-written writings. It's been a pleasure reading this afternoon, after coming back with Hiro from his treatment.

  4. From Bernie: I was struck in today's blog by your reference to the person who wondered why you were keeping Cooper alive. People who have never had or loved pets simply don't get it. It's almost as hard as pulling the plug on a human, only with the animal you are actually going to kill it—and I have no use for that charming euphemism "put down." "Putting down" means giving a last pat to a trusting creature that has looked to you for sustenance all its life, handing it to a stranger, and having its still-warm, recently mercy-killed corpse returned to you in a box or bag—I forget which—a few minutes later—though you can forgo that option if you have alternative plans. I've owned one dog and a number of cats in my life, but only in one instance had to agree with a vet to kill the pet—in this case a cat who had been run over and was clearly going to be forever incapacitated for any kind of life that a cat might enjoy.

  5. Just to be clear: the friend didn't say anything while Cooper was alive. From something she said later I think (as I say above) she may have wondered why I was letting him live. She did have a dog, but you know, country folk can be tougher on dogs than we—and Dan—might be. More on Cooper in Scary Thing #5. Stay tuned . . .