The word suffer according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary means “to experience pain, illness, or injury; to experience something unpleasant (such as defeat loss or damage); to become worse because of being badly affected by something.” Through the suffering of my beloved pet Nikki I have learnt what it is to suffer. But let us not forget that the suffering of people in this world is far worse than the suffering of any animal but the endurance of suffering through our pets can also be quite damaging.
Since rheumatoid arthritis has shown it’s face it’s been an utterly intolerably cruel disease to Nikki. At first she could still walk but it was a very slow and paced walk. Then her muscle began to give way and her walking became rarer, became a loping, an utterly hard process to watch as she tried to stay off of her previously injured front right paw and make her way around the upstairs floor. She could no longer go to the basement or go outside in the back yard because there were to many stairs for her and she could hurt herself badly. Now Nikki, having lost almost all her strength has one good point around supper time in the day where she can maybe get up to just snag a little treat but mostly she just lies there. And I ache for her suffering because without pain killers her legs hurt. And it still hurts her to raise her body off the floor and if she stands she stands for but a moment before falling and she has learnt the correct way to fall as to not hurt herself more. Her body, her legs are giving out.
I sit with her at lunch. Where she used to come and beg, I go to her and give her a few scraps from lunch. I give her some vegetables and pieces of toast with peanut butter. It makes me feel better that she is eating something because I had to hand feed hera portion of herkibble this morning. Today I am trying to get her to drink but even putting a short little dish or water by her head
and holding her head to drink, she isn’t interested. The only time I can see she feels pleasure is when we feed her little scraps or pet her because she pants and smiles. Other than that, her tail is between her legs and she just lies around on the floor. She was a snuggly dog before and she can’t snuggle. So I pet her many times as I pass her by so she still feels the love. My Dad had to pick her up so she could go to the washroom the other day and she could go on her own once she was on the grass but I wonder how long that will last.
There is one more medication for us to try, while Nikki suffers and waits. I wait for the vet to call us with the price and medication. I wonder if she’ll last that long. I didn’t think arthritis would simply take her out. She is old (12 years) but not that old. Through Nikki I learn suffering. Years ago I learnt it through my Grandpa as he faded away but it is a different kind of suffering I learn to see an animal suffer, more like seeing a child suffer. Nikki is helpless to the suffering. And maybe some people can disassociate themselves away from their pets and think they’re just animals that’s what happens, the have short lives. But you see with any sickness, even with my own, you never see it coming. You never know how damaging it can be. So I learn suffering through my little dog as she lays expressionless on the floor and I wonder how long she’ll last? Will she get better or will she end her days on the floor, remembering legs that use to run and run and run.