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Living Without Worry, by Dr. Timothy Lane. Don't I wish I could live without worry. It's a constant challenge, so for certain I'll be reading Dr. Lane's new book. Dr. Lane is president of the Institute for Pastoral Care and co-author of How People Change. He's today's guest author and he's giving away 5 copies of his book, Living Without Worry. To enter the drawing and say hello, email: email@example.com
Welcome to the book club, Dr. Timothy Lane...
It is a pleasure to share with Suzanne's loyal readers, unfortunately, it is about a recent loss that our family experienced. It was a loss that I had minimized when it happened to others. Sadly, that is how we often think about loss when it is someone else's.
Recently, we lost our Labrador retriever, Lola, to lymphatic cancer. She had been a part of our family for over ten years. Our children had grown up with her as a loyal and ever-present part of our "pack."
Over the summer, I had noticed that she was having a hard time running after a ball when I would take her outside for exercise. One evening, I felt under her neck and noticed that her lymph nodes were swollen. That seemed odd. I phoned the vet and made an appointment the next day. He examined her and wanted to take some blood so he could diagnose what was going on. A few days later, the call came. "Tim, I have some bad news. Lola has cancer and there isn't much that can be done at this stage." I discussed our options with the vet and then it became a matter for our family to decide. Over the next several weeks we did everything we could to make our last months with our sweet dog as enjoyable as possible. This was done as we daily gauged her level of suffering. We wanted our memories of her to be good ones and we did not want to let her suffer.
Herein was the challenge; enjoying our last days and minimizing her suffering. Our vet told us something interesting about dogs and labs in particular. They are hard wired to please their owners. He told us a story about a lab that they recently had to "put down" (I don't like those words). He said that the lab was unable to move and was confined to the floor. Even still, when someone would accidentally bounce a ball, the lab would move its head in an attempt to chase the ball and please his owner. He told us that to the very end, our Lola would do everything she could to please us, even if she was suffering.
One evening, we went for a walk with Lola in the neighborhood. She kept up with us just like she had always done. When we got home, she found a quiet place and lay there. It was obvious that she was suffering. The tumors were growing and causing her pain and distress. That night, as she tried to sleep, her breathing was labored. She was hardly able to catch a breath.
We knew that to keep her alive for our happiness was only adding to her suffering. We made our last visit to the vet Sunday afternoon. The next few weeks, it was hard to mention her name, but slowly our thoughts were drawn back to those moments where Lola brought us together as a family. The puppy years; the Christmas she got into a bag of flour with her black body covered in white; the Halloween she devoured the candy from one of our kids bags; the way she could catch a Frisbee or ball stretched out mid-air; her barking whenever someone would enter our house. The memories began to flood back. Even though we miss her so much, she remains a source of joy even in her absence.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE SAD END OF POLICARPO QUARESMA, by Lima Barreto. Start reading now and enter to win a Penguin tote bag, just in time for your summer reading! Goto: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqR1AFEF3957A1&c=CLASSICS
AUTHORBUZZ: Meet authors, win free books and more at this week's Authorbuzz. Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader