Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mourning Dove

In June of 2015, our pack went through a great upheaval. My husband, Gary, had a knee replacement and stayed in the hospital for 18 days to recuperate and relearn how to walk with his new knee. This became the second major upset for us because in January he also had been gone for six weeks nursing his mother back to health after she had a major hemorrhage. This took a huge toll on both Star and myself, but for his little buddy, Kindu, it became devastating. Nothing I said or did consoled our little basenji boy over the loss of the daily companionship of his pop,

Kindu with his head on his favorite man's shoulder.

Ever since Kindu was about 3 months old, he went through times of great problems from his intestines. We had him tested for worms and other common ailments for pups, but about the time he was nine months old we understood he had an irritable bowel. The vet provided us with simple remedies to deal with his occasional bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. Over the years we learned how to cope and get him back on track and feeling better within a couple of days.

When 2014 turned to 2015, I found myself constantly busy with helping Gary with his mother, taking care of everything in our home on my own, and a very sick basenji boy. For the first time, Kindu's symptoms lasted longer than a few days. I found him drinking the water bowl dry many times per day. All that drinking water necessitated frequent trips outdoors with more than a couple of accidents in the house as well. Kindu cringed every time he messed up in the house and I found myself losing patience with the constant demands from so many directions.

By mid-January Kindu became even worse just as Gary and I were realizing that his mother was improving. Our basenji boy had the worst bouts of diarrhea in his 7 years and began to lose weight daily. Gary spent hours on the internet searching for remedies to help Kindu and I kept running to the store for more and more unaccustomed dog foods, like cans of pumpkin to help cleanse him of his problems. These things might help for a week or two, but pretty soon our boy declined again and the search began all over again.

We all rejoiced when Gary returned home in both February and June, but Kindu continued to struggle with what turned out to be inflammatory bowel disease. Trips to the vet led to antibiotics, special foods, pancreatic enzymes, vitamins and eventually a special diet of chicken thighs, baked potatoes (with no skins), yogurt, coconut oil and me pushing more pills down Kindu's throat than I cared to count.

By July, things were finally settling down. Gary's mother recovered and resumed her normal routine. Gary attended 3 times a week physical therapy punctuated by one or two trips to the gym daily. Kindu put on weight and began to return to his normal vibrant self. However I was exhausted to the bone and began to spend more time in bed every day with my own inflammatory bowel disease.

Gary recovered enough to begin taking on some of the daily routines I had been doing. First he took over driving himself to physical therapy. Then one very hot July afternoon he decided that he would take the dogs for their afternoon walk. I relaxed on the bed, but the length of time the 3 of them were gone became a bit worrying to me.

I became concerned that Gary's walk with the dogs went a tad bit too long. My imagination ran away with me and I envisioned Gary collapsed from the heat. Concerned I opened the front door to look for him and the basenjis. The moment the door opened, a mourning dove flew in the front door! After a swift trip around the front room checking 3 of the 4 corners, she settled on top of the still open front door. I stood, mouth agape, wondering how to release her without scaring her back into the house.

About this time, Gary returned with the pups and stood staring at the bird atop our door. The dogs decided to take matters into their paws and stepped inside, ignoring the bird far above. The door opened wider as Gary entered and at that moment she decided to take her leave. Filled with wonder, we wished we had been swift enough to capture the image. Alas, we only captured the dove in our minds' eyes. I cleaned up the gifts the terrified bird left scattered around our living room and returned to resting. Still the whole event left me feeling confused about what it had all meant.

We have lived in this condo for 7 years and I often took time to admire the big variety of birds including finches,pigeons, sparrows, tuxedo birds (my name for them), falcons, geese, seagulls, and my favorite hummingbirds. At night I listened for the bats and owls that patrol the skies after dark. Not once in all of these years had a flying creature entered our home, although once we scared a falcon off of her beheaded pigeon in the back patio.

I wondered why these doves were known as mourning doves to me and marveled while still feeling apprehensive that one had decided to visit us on that blazing hot summer day. I consoled myself that she was overheated and needed the comfort of shade, but then again...

Long story short, our sweet boy lost his battle with his illness on September 17, 2015. His final weigh in showed a scant weight of 17 pounds, 10 pounds less than normal. He tried and tried until he could no longer eat or drink and he put smiles on our faces through his dying day. He took a piece of both of our hearts with him when he left us. A special dog, a valiant fight, a mourning dove, a broken pack. We wait upon the Lord's timing for us to bring a new basenji boy home.