creativity

The time I almost put my dog down

I almost said goodbye to my beloved dog, Phineas, on June 30th. He wasn’t able to eat or drink that morning. I got scared and called my local vet. They said to bring him in to assess. The vet was so kind. She said this decision is never easy, and there is no wrong decision. I’m still processing the series of events that followed.

I signed all the papers with the vet and crematorium. Then we inserted the catheter in Phin’s front right leg. After the light disappearing from his eyes this morning, he rose up and screamed out loud “NO!” He was so loud even the nurses were alarmed. I looked in his eyes, and they were wide and wild and full of light again. He began to shake.

The nurses gave me some time with him. I held him and looked into his beautiful marble eyes. Something in my gut said I would regret doing this. It wasn’t a fear. It was an emphatic “ABSOLUTELY NOT! He has more time.” I felt him say, “Not yet. Not like this. Mom, please don’t do this.”

This reminded me of the time I was in the hospital for my severe allergy to a chemo drug that nearly killed me. All the doctors wanted to send me to the ICU and have me intubated because my oxygen levels were falling. I was terrified because the ICU was filled with COVID patients and vaccines had not yet rolled out widely. 

An ICU nurse was called to take me down, and she fought to not send me. She wanted to try one more machine to see if my body would take up oxygen. 

“You have 10 minutes,” said the attending physician. 

“Then let’s give her 10 minutes,” said the nurse. 

Against all odds, within 10 minutes my oxygen levels surged on the new machine. 

“Holy shit,” said the attending doctor as she stood at the foot of my bed watching my monitors.

That ICU nurse saved my life. I’m certain that if I had gone to the ICU and been intubated, I would have gotten COVID and died. Now, I was that nurse for Phin. He needed me to protect him just as that nurse protected me.

As the doctor was about to come in and administer the final medication to put Phin to sleep, I ran to the lobby of the vet’s office and said, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I’m not ready and neither is Phin.” Instead, we gave him some injectable medication in an attempt to stabilize him and get him eating and drinking again. 

I walked out of the office with Phin in his carrier. We both breathed a sigh of relief. We got home. He drank some water, ate a very small meal, and rested. There are so many other details to this story that I will write about eventually. The signs to not do this presented themselves and I didn’t see them. Phin did, and he spoke up. I can only see them now in retrospect.

I don’t know what tomorrow, or even today, will bring for my boy. But I do know that June 30th was not Phin’s time to leave this plane. I would have regretted not trying to give him more time to come out of the sedation he got late last night at the ER. He’s still here, still with me, not in pain, and I am at peace, glad and grateful to my gut for getting him extra meds, extra care, and extra time.

A few pictures of me and Phin over the last few days:

creativity

Joy today: My dog, Phineas, is 10 today

It’s a happy 9th Gotcha Day for this little guy! Today my sweet dog, Phineas, is 10 years old and he’s been in my life for 9 years. How grateful I am that when I rescued him, he rescued me right back. I’m the luckiest. Here’s to two pawfuls of life, buddy, and many more ahead.

Phineas Day 1
Our first photo together on the day I adopted Phineas

Phineas October 2010
Our first My Dog Loves Central Park festival photo

Phineas October 2010 2
His first close-up

creativity

A Year of Yes: Feeling stuck in your writing? Go outside.

Despite the cold, my senior dog, Phineas, took me on a 2-hour hike through the North Woods of Central Park yesterday. The late afternoon light was just perfect. Time in nature is like a massage for the brain, heart, and spirit. It prompts my creativity. The movement jogs my imagination, restores my resolve to do work that builds a better world. If you need to be restored, get outside. Your restlessness has a purpose. It is meant to move you. Don’t fight it. Go with it. 

creativity

In the pause: Happy Thanksgiving from New York City

23737930_10104014965393976_7867983202038481308_oA gorgeous and sunny Thanksgiving morning. Phin and I bundled up and went to Central Park. Thankful today for my sweet pup, Phineas, this gorgeous park, my homey Upper West Side neighborhood, and all dogs everywhere. And of course for all of you. Happy Thanksgiving. 🐾🦃

 

creativity

In the pause: Happy 8th birthday to my dog and writing companion, Phineas

Phineas 8th birthday7 years ago today, I adopted this sweet, brave, and loyal boy. Phineas was just 1-year-old, and someone had dumped him in the woods to fend for himself. His howling saved him, a policeman found him, and thanks to New York Dachshund Rescue, I became his mom. Today on his 8th birthday, I wish him a bottomless bowl of food, a mountain of treats and toys, a soft, cozy bed, and plenty of long walks, grass rolling in the sun, and tummy rubs. After all he’s given to me, this is the very least he deserves. Happy birthday, buddy. May we have many more. I love you.

 

creativity

Wonder: The greatest lesson of life

One of the greatest blessings of being Phineas’s mom is that he makes me remember that every moment counts. There isn’t a single walk, snuggle, or smile that I take for granted with him. Yesterday when I had to take him to the ER for his back again, I was reminded, painfully so, that we have only so much time and that every day is a gift that we are never promised. Each day deserves the best we can give. There isn’t any time to waste. While I wish that realization wasn’t so heavy, maybe it needs to be. Maybe that truth is so significant that we need to feel the weight of it to really understand it.

For the next few days I’ll be home for most of the time monitoring Phineas to make sure his medication and rest is working. I’ll be writing, doing yoga, and meditating on just how lucky I am to care for a being that has taught me the most important lesson of life with absolute certainty—that we must do as much good as we can wherever we are with whatever we’ve got, and be grateful for the opportunity to do so.

creativity

This just in: The art I made for my dog, Phineas, for Christmas

What do you get for the dog who has everything he needs? The same thing you get for people who have everything—art. I made this paper collage for Phineas to capture his philosophy on life. Merry Christmas, Phin!

Here’s the Phineas Way:

  • Join a parade whenever possible
  • Don’t be afraid to lead the way
  • A first snow is a very happy thing
  • Sometimes the best thing to do is sit and be quiet like a yogi
  • “How good can you feel?” is a question you should ask every day, and answer
  • Share something wonderful with everyone, always
  • Fall in love with as many things, and people, and animals, as possible
  • There’s cool stuff out on the edge
  • Be excited
  • Embrace the wild
  • You’re perfect just the way you are
  • Stay unique
  • Learn how to be a good copilot
  • You can never have too much joy
  • New York is my soul city, and always will be
  • Embrace tomorrow, no matter what happened today
  • Live color fully, in many different directions
  • Sing loud and proud like a bird
  • Be unstoppable
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the greatest places in the world to hang around
  • I love snuggling; snuggling’s my favorite
  • I have one goal: to be the best dog ever. (And, for me, he absolutely is!)