Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Family Prayer

Update on my animals:
The vet said that my cowdog, Rita, has congestive heart failure. There is not really anything we can do about it. Yesterday I was faced with a decision – either we could put Rita down then and there since she will not get better, or we could try giving her some lasix to nurse her along for awhile and see how she does. The other possibility would be to do nothing, but I knew that was out - I had to do something. I don’t do well with these sorts of decisions. Part of me wanted to just get it over with. I don’t want to see her struggle to live and be in any pain only to die anyway. On the other hand, maybe the lasix will pull some water off of her giving her more time and relieving the struggle. I worry about letting her live for a little while only to see her go downhill later. What if I don't get her to the vet in time and she suffers? What if Toby has to do the "putting down?" Those were my thoughts. I was a blubbering baby while watching "Marley and Me" and did not relish the thought of watching Rita be put down. Worse than that would be to watch her suffer an agonizing death if we did nothing. So I called Toby, and we took the middle road of trying to prolong her life if things went well. If they do not get better, we will have to put her down. And the cat, Rugen, is still gone.

A Funny Story to lighten the load:
We have a family prayer that my dad taught us as kids to say at meals. He got it from his dad. We call it the Barker Prayer, and we still use it - often saying it out loud together. One time when my brother and I were about six and seven years old, my dad asked my brother, Craig, to say the prayer at dinner. It had probably had been a while since we were asked to say the prayer, and Craig could not remember all of the words. Dad took him into the other room and spanked him. Then Dad came in and told me that I would be saying the prayer the next night and I had better be ready or I would get a spanking too. Let me tell you, I can still remember the panic and fear that set in knowing that if I forgot the words that I would get a spanking. I must have said that prayer over and over the next day practicing for the supper meal. I was so afraid of messing up and getting a whippin’. It turns out that I did fine. In fact, Dad probably forgot his threat, but I never did. It has become a family joke that if you mess up, you will get a spanking. Many times, someone has not been paying attention and said the wrong words. At the end of the prayer when everyone looks up, someone will say, "You’re getting a whippin’!"

The other night, Jesse and I were setting the food on the table for supper, when I asked her about something. She replied with something like, "You should have asked earlier." To which I imitated the line out of "El Diablo," in a very scruffy voice, "You should have asked yesterday." And Jesse and I started giggling at our silliness. About that time Toby started the family prayer. Jesse and I joined in, but she started that silent giggle thing, which made me start laughing silently too (head down, shoulders shaking). As Toby finished the prayer on his own with Jesse and I still laughing, he looked up and said, "You are both getting a spanking." It just made us laugh harder.

Just for your information: The movie "El Diablo" came out in the late 80’s on HBO when the kids were little. We watched it over and over. It is still one of my favorite movies next to "Silverado." "El Diablo" has some great lines – almost as good as "Princess Bride." The kids and I can almost quote the whole movie and often do quote it.

The Barker family prayer goes like this:
Thou art great.
Thou art good.
Father we thank thee for this food.
By Thy hand may we be fed
Give us this day our daily bread.


Jenn said...

If there is nothing really to be done, I'd get her put to sleep I think it's even worse to watch an animal suffer.

Buck said...

I'm sorry to hear about Rita... NOT good. And I know about weighing your options -- that's not good, either. But... putting her down at the vet's is a painless process, for her. Not so much for you. I still remember holding Fritzi (my German Shepard) in my arms while the vet gave her the shot. That was one of the hardest things I've EVER done.

Good luck, Lou.

re: your story. That made me smile. You always manage to do that!

Punk Princess said...

I'm real sorry about Rita, I hope that she will get better. I know how hard it is to lose a good dog.. I had a lab,named Honey, she was a great dog.. But she got sick and we had to put her down:[ I hope that Rita gets better..

P.s- I love the Barker Family Prayer story:} {lol} made me think of my dad'n'mom and grandparents:}

Best of luck with everything:} lots of love!!

Inquiries said...

I'm sorry about Rita. I think I will go into clinical depression when Chandler dies. :(

inpassing said...

We've already talked on the phone about this, but I'm sorry about Rita, too.

I hope when "the decision" comes that it will be so clear what is right and you'll be at peace doing it...even if it is hard!!

The GG's were here from about 10:30 to 2:00-ish. The beauty shop appointment got canceled due to unexpected events so we all just made a morning and afternoon of it. They were pretty tired when headed home and I definitely think naps were going to be the next thing on the list.

Towanda said...

I am sorry to hear about Rita, too.

We had a Pomeranian a few years ago who developed congestive heart failure, and we went the Lasix route, too. But there were too many trips to the emergency vet clinic in the middle of the night while he could barely breathe and I would beg him to keep on breathing. We kept him alive for a whole summer, but you know what? I think we did it for us and not for him. If my current dogs get sick like that, I hope I will be able to make the decision to give them a painless peaceful death sooner at the vet's rather than try to save them even though they are suffering.

This is a decision everyone must make on their own and I respect you for whatever you decide.

Becky said...

I am so sorry to hear about Rita. I know that with Katie pushing 14, I'll be making that decision myself, and I'm already dreading it.

Your family prayer was very similar to ours. Ours went:

God is great
God is good
Let us thank him for our food
By his hand we all are fed
Thank you for our daily bread.

Dale said...

Lou, as many times as I had my feet under your mom and dad's table I'm thankful he never asked me to pray! I do recall a stern look or two when the three of us were in a giggly mood. Those were very special times for me!

Bob said...

I feel for you in dealing with losing Rita.

When we were kids, we had a version of that prayer we thought was hilarious, but of course we never actually had the courage to use at the table:
"God is Good, God is Great.
Let us thank Him for what we ate."

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

don't even wanna go into losing a dog that you don't want to lose.

On the other hand...that family prayer massive eye roll from my brother the last time i said it. Next time i'm at your house for dinner i KNOW what i'm sayin'.

Bag Blog said...

Dale, do you remember the time my mom served chicken and we kids all had a turn at trying to eat the gizard - the same gizard - each of us took a turn chewing on it. I'm glad you got the part about my dad and his stern-ness. Just a look from Dad and we were all quaking in our Keds.

Everyone, thanks for the kind words on Rita. The decision was made before I left the vet's office to keep her alive, nursing her along with the lasix until she gets worse - where she cannot breathe easily. Right now she is breathing shallow, but still moving around well and doing okay. She is not suffering right now. Before she left the vet's office, she was herding his cats - maybe I should say stalking them.

Becky, your prayer is much like ours - cool.

Bob, for years I thought the words to our prayer were "dark great, dark good." Dad never said a word about that mix-up.

Piper, you better get the prayer right - or else!

Punk Prnicess, it is nice to have you dropping by my blog - I know you love animals like I do. In fact, I remember the first time you came to my house as a little girl in your Sunday dress, and you dropped down and played with my dogs as if you were wearing play clothes.

Dale said...

Lou I do remember those times around the table especially! And the gizard bit....hey we were/are family!

Doc said...

So sorry to hear about your dog, Lou. I'll be thinking of you. Doc.