Wednesday, December 31, 2014

big brown dog companion

Apparently JoJo needed to go out this morning around 3:30.  Jack got up and let her out and then back in.  I sensed more than heard the sound of her nails clicking-clacking on the wood floors just before she jumped back onto the bed, which solidly woke me up.

I lay there thinking about weight watchers, whether or not I would still be welcome at meetings, deciding that I still need the support and definitely want to be there to support my friends as they continue on their journeys to good health.

And then my mind switched to the call I got as I was leaving the meeting tonight.  The call from Stu about his liver biopsy, him explaining that the new doctor running the transplant program comes from a 20-year-stint at the Mayo Clinic, so he's no slouch--the guy who says that there are signs of early rejection, and if I remember right, recurrent PSC, which all sounds very ominous to me, and Stu, who looks out for and protects his mom, telling me that while this sounds bad, they are upping one medication and adding another and rejection is something they can handle and the recurrence of the autoimmune disease was also somewhat expected after the transplant, so this is all manageable, but of course, I'm me, so I'm a bit freaked out.

When my mind switched to thinking about Stu, almost immediately, JoJo got up from laying near Jack's feet and came to stand right next to me on the bed, face hanging close to mine, waiting for me to reach out to stroke her back, and as soon as I touched her, she settled herself snugly lengthwise against my body.  The warmth of her soft brown coat, the deep sighs she gave as she settled into sleep, her long slow breaths--all of these calmed my mind and helped me ease back into sleep.  I read an article recently that claimed dogs are very in tune with their owner's minds and bodies, and as I think back over the past few months, I can see that in Jo's behavior.  She comes often and stays by me when I am feeling emotional, and I can't count the number of times she has gone to Jack, to sit with him or to have him toss her ball, as he deals with the emotional upheaval of nurturing his mother as her caregiver, while she slips further and further away in dementia.  

Life is complicated.  It is good to have a dog to calm your mind and warm your feet. 

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