Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reading and Ralph

I have closed my Shelfari "account" or whatever it is. I have found it less and less user friendly and I can no longer get it to link to my blog, which is the whole reason I started it in the first place. 

I am looking for another way to show the books I have read. In the meantime, I'll share with you the books I have read since the last one that appears on my Shelfari shelf, The Pillars of the Earth (which I thoroughly enjoyed, by the way).

Bonhoeffer, by Eric Metaxes, is a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German dissident and Lutheran minister who joined in a plot to assassinate Hitler. I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal about Hitler, the Holocaust and general information about World War II that either I never learned or had forgotten. 

Still Life is the first in a mystery series by Louise Penney. It was a good "light" -- but fun -- read after the last two heavy hitters. It is set in Canada and includes a lovable cast of quirky characters. I look forward to reading more. 

I'm currently reading The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Set in the late 1700s and early 1800s, it chronicles the life a young white girl who is raised by a slave family and is eventually torn between  the world of slave and free. 


Ralph the Dog has now lived a year since we were told he had "probably a few weeks, maybe a couple of months."  For most of that year, he has scarcely missed a beat and life with him has continued as usual.  As I've said many times, nobody bothered to tell him his time was short. 

For the past couple of months, however, we have begun to see changes. His "plumbing" still works but I'm afraid he's lost a bit of his control. As much as we try to get him outside, we can't seem to avoid "accidents" of both kinds. He has a tumor on his posterior (which was supposed to have caused his demise) which we were advised by the vet would eventually impede his ability to "go." Instead, I believe it has just caused him to go more frequently, and in inopportune places. That's all I'll say about that.

He is a bit disoriented and when we take our morning walks we don't get very far before he just stops, sniffs, then heads back the other way. We also don't make it nearly as far as we once did.

We trip over him in the house quite a bit. I don't think he's totally blind and deaf but I'm pretty sure he has no peripheral vision and I know he can't hear me until I'm right up next to him. 

About a month ago he fell down the stairs, resulting in a vet visit with X-rays that showed nothing broken. He was shaken up and bruised and while he will now still walk up the stairs, we have to carry him down.

He's nervous and the accidents are more frequent when other people are in the house.

He still eats and drinks quite well.

He startles easily, especially after he's been sleeping (which is what he does most of the time) and will sometimes snap at us when we approach him to try and take him outside. We tell all visitors not to try to pet him or play with him because of this.

He is much more calm than when he was a younger dog. He doesn't bark when the doorbell rings anymore, or go crazy when people come in the house.

In short, he's an old dog.  He's about 15, probably already past his life expectancy, and he's been part of our family a little less than 14 years.

So you know my dilemma. Sometimes I think he looks a bit sad, as if maybe he's done with all of this and trusts me to make the right decision. Other times, like before our walks when he's standing at the door wagging his tail, I think he's good for a while longer and it would be unkind to intentionally remove him from our lives.

I'm supposed to "know."  Well I don't know and I don't know that I will.