Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doing Right By My Boy

Ever since Elvis had his second surgery for a cancerous tumor on Friday, I've been observing his slow recovery, kicking myself and agonizing:

Did I do the right thing?

Friends who called over the weekend to check on Elvis wound up getting an ear full of tears as I sobbed my concern that I shouldn't have put him through such a brutal procedure. I should have just accepted the inevitable, kissed my sweet companion goodbye, and put him to sleep.

Wonderful friends that I have, they reassured me that I made the best decision based on the information available at that time. No one anticipated the viciousness of this second tumor. And Elvis might bounce back, they reminded me. There might still be some quality time ahead.

Still, I've felt nothing but remorse. Did I do the second surgery for Elvis...or for me?

This is why I was so grateful for a website comment I found the other night. It was in response to my recent column about Elvis that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle a couple weeks ago:

"Eileen, like so many others, I have loved Elvis for years and hope for his happiness and comfort as long as you can be together. I know that any decisions you make will be with his best in mind.The years you have shared him and Lucy with us are precious. The gift of all the other critters' tales has been made all the more special because of the love you have shared with him. We KNOW you "get it."

The stories of your discoveries through Elvis, and all that came later (your mother and Lucy), empower us to do better with our own families (human and otherwise). Thank you. Give Elvis a skritch from us, keep us posted on the ups and downs. And may you both be fortunate enough to be there when he sleeps his last... (hopefully not too soon)."

These kind words stopped my tears, warmed my heart, and lifted the temporary amnesia that my tears had induced: it took an anonymous stranger to remind me that everything I've ever done has always been in the best interest of my beautiful boy. When that day comes and Elvis is ready to go, he'll let me know and I'll do right by him.

Just as he's always done by me.


lin said...

This is true. I've followed your Elvis exploits for years, but recently it's been off and on, since I no longer get the Chronicle and liked your Pet Tales but not as much as I liked your greyhound tales. Your love for Elvis has always come shining through, and you will always do right by him.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but I feel like I do after reading your column for so many years. I hope you know you aren't alone as you ask yourself whether you are doing the right thing. I lost my first greyhound, Jordan, to bone cancer in 2007 and I asked myself the same thing so many times when I found out he was sick and didn't let him go right away. I knew it was time when even pain meds wouldn't let him rest without pain (and resting is what Jordan did best). You know and love your dog so much that you'll know when he's been through enough. Much love to you and Elvis.

Too Gemini said...

What a wise and beautiful response from that reader. Sometimes the Universe gives you gifts - that was one.

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