Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In dog we trust

I'm hanging here on the couch tonight. I've got my computer, my blanket, my glass of wine, and I'm watching the snow dump from the sky. It's comfortable, I won't lie. But I'm missing the special little something that keeps my feet warm. Vito isn't here.

Those of you who know our dog, Vito Polito, know that he is the best fucking dog who ever lived. And that is an unbiased statement. He really is that good. Vito is up in Fort Collins tonight at the CSU veterinary hospital, resting comfortably. In the past week, he has been not so fresh. He hasn't been eating. He doesn't feel like walking, even in 60-degree weather with squirrels running amok in our 'hood. He doesn't even lift his head for human food. In other words, he has been: not himself. The vet isolated his issues to his liver and gall bladder, so we've sent him up to Fort Collins for further observation and possible gall bladder surgery tomorrow.

I've watched Vito this week and I've seen the looks on the doctors' faces. This is not "sometimes dogs just puke." It's not "oops, Vito didn't chew that burrito enough before stuffing the whole thing down his piehole." This is pretty serious. As in, elevated liver functions. As in, surgery with risk. As in, he's 12 years old. As in, please peruse this "do not resuscitate" document before we proceed.

Does that mean this is the end? No--he may be fine, hopefully he will be fine. But this is the first time I've actually seen the end for Vito come out of the distance, and that. is. scary.

There are dogs in this world who live a life of great privilege--sleeping in beds that are replicas of their owner's beds, dressing better than I do, eating lovingly prepared organic meals every night. Vito is not one of those dogs. He is not a child substitute. I have two children who make perfectly good child substitutes. He is my dog. But he is an amazing dog. And he is the first living being other than myself that I ever vowed to take care of through good times and bad, for a lifetime.

So I'll be driving back up to Fort Collins tomorrow in the snow to be in the waiting room when he wakes up. I'll be shaking the cash loose from my savings to do whatever it takes to keep him around. As a dog, as a companion, as a foot warmer, he is so worth it. I want there to be another day when I take for granted his little body burrowed under the covers. Another morning at 6 a.m. when I get to think, "oh for god's sake SHUT THE FUCK UP and let me sleep."

As I hear news, I will post updates. But for now, he is resting comfortably and there is nothing new. And my feet are cold.