… on getting ready for the train


People get ready
There’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage
You just get on board

All you need is faith
To hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket
You just thank the Lord

Curtis Mayfield.

It’s one of my all time favorite songs, and speaks to inevitability, and the potential of great things for those who do good.

I just went back to find a post I’d written about Monty, six months ago.

Sam’s big old dog, it seemed, was on his way to whatever is next, after this life.

We had done countless tests, and the prognosis was that he was probably dealing with something bad – most likely some form of cancer – that we couldn’t identify.

But against the odds, a week later John greeted a happy, slobbering Monty – clawing his way across the waiting room (dragging a vet tech with him) of a specialty veterinary hospital down in Woburn.  And he brought him back home.

It turned out that Monty had eaten something – months before – but whatever it was, it was hiding from the x-ray machines. A certain medicine that we’d given him, expecting the end to be close, stimulated his appetite and moved the item, which then made itself known. Once symptoms and x-rays showed the item, we could do something. So we took a risk, with an old dog, and did surgery.

And he came through with flying colors.

An oldie but a goodie.

This past Friday, I took Monty in to visit the love of his life, Dr. Berkowicz. He’d been favoring one of his creaky back legs, and we’d increased his arthritis medicine, but he’d started to hold that leg up the night before and he seemed uncomfortable.

He greeted his sweetheart with a thump tail, and limped and gimped back to the x-ray machine.

And when she came back into the exam room, my heart sank.

I know that look.

Monty has a tumor.

It’s big, and it grew fast, and it’s bone cancer.

He’s far too old and arthritic to survive an amputation and have a good life.

In August, when we thought we were where we are now, I wrote:

… in the case of an old dog approaching his time, it’s all about the signs. It’s like a hulking freight train grinding its way to life. Slowly. Inevitably. And then it’s up to speed. And before you know it, it’s right there.

And I can hear the familiar sound of that train in the distance, and I don’t know how far away it is.

Well, now the train is close.

Monty’s home.

And we’re going to keep him comfortable for as long as we can. Hopefully at least until his boy returns from New Orleans in a few weeks.

We’re paying close attention, and I don’t know if we’ll reach that goal.

I’ve talked to Sam. And we agree.

If Monty is in pain, I’ll bring him to his sweetheart.

And she and I will put him on the train together, and send him off cradled in love.

In the mean time, we’ll spoil him at home, and help him navigate on his old, wobbly legs.

And we’ll rub his belly and his giant head.

And for this great big old dog, I will thank the Lord.

Thanks for readin’.


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