It is snowing outside and Lupine and I do what Emily Conrad’Oud and my teacher Val call a dive. The lights are low and the music very meditative and we breathe and deepen. There are core things one can do with breathe and sound but tonight the emphasis for she and I is on that space. Lupine rests into it and so do I, and sleep on the floor next to her.
This morning she seems very much here this morning and it feels too soon on some level for her body and spirit to move on but the tumor is tough. Lots of snow outside and quiet.
As I look around the house I see nothing that matters like Lupine. I see the jewelry hanging on the metal hook and the spiral silverware that my friend Robin helped me pick out for myself when I was divorced. How Robin encouraged me to get something for myself and in just a few years she died from cancer herself. I went today and did get something for myself I found these tiny bee earrings and wore them all week. I feel like my most precious non-object I have to hand over and say take her life essence with a needle, give her a merciful death in a matter of days is Lupine.
Lately I sleep on the floor by her so that now and then can pet her chest or touch her head so she can rest and stop licking the tumor that is riddled with bits of teeth and bone that must feel in her way and by licking it can be extracted. But it remains there; this mass of death and destruction. I bought more CBD tincture, a stronger dose in case and yet it is a whole bottle and so much will be left, so much not extending her life but gathering that last bit of comfort.
She is thin, like the first four years of her life when people would stop me and ask me if she is wolf or coyote. One young man sauntered up to me one afternoon and said “hey, she is barely street legal” with her long coyote legs and yellow eyes. Those very timeless yellow eyes.
It turns out my friend is in town for a shuttle pick up and we meet. Lupine loves him. She is unsure of who he is since she is used to their house in Taos and dog pal Tanto but she wags and looks into his shuttle bus. We drive around town trying to find a car wash that is big enough for him to rinse off the truck and finally after a third try we do. Lupine is quiet most of the day and eats far later into it. When her pal leans in and says good-bye she looks him in right in the eyes and seems like a deer. After he leaves I take her off for a ride to a favorite spot and keep encouraging her to eat and give her more tincture because the pain has caught up with her. She eases and eats and we go home so she can rest and listen to jazz.
I found this shot of her at a friend’s art studio in California. She is very interested in how things are measured and cut and she puts her paw along the straight edge as if to hold it steady. I pray that something holds her steady in grace as she travels this road. Maybe I am keeping her too long but it feels like she is present and aware and eating less but eating and in a deep rest. I figure we may make it til March and the entry of spring. I know they say beware of the Ides of March but also it is lent and a time to enter into the journey of death and rebirth. I have no idea but her mouth looks miserable as she meets my gaze and hops in for a walk, and ride and so off we go as long as we can muster this. I can do this as long as she needs and can herself.
Lupi and I drive up into the storm. It is a gentle snow fall with thick flakes. When we reach the summit we can see the mountains as they fade into the carpet of snow enveloping them. We sit by the Buddha in the garden of friends in California who had just bought this house and were back in California dealing with cancer themselves. Oddly the house was built for the man’s wife that had cancer. Lupine enjoying a lunch of fresh sliced very thin turkey and some herbs and a digestive enzyme. We sit as the snow swirls around us and that inner glow of light from the white fluttering in the air to the ground. She loves the vista and takes it all in east and west.
When we drive back I stop at the humane society dog park and we watch two big siberian huskies running around the park and I show her Mac’s Ally where a dog that wants to be solo but bark at dogs on either side can run down it like a bowling ball in an ally. It seems like such an odd structure for a dog since it would build up a charge in ways that are not advantageous but none the less there are several nice open areas for the dogs, and people seem pleasant about their time and turns at the park.
Lupine most of all wants to be on the road, arriving home is a bit of a let down when we stop but at least is a place or rest as the snow continues to fall and moisten the landscape and dull city streets.
Several times a day I clean up blood from Lupi’s paws with a damp red towel. At times I put herbs on her outer paws so she can lick that off instead. I put Manuka honey on her upper leg a couple of times last night and this morning when she was passing clots in her mouth and in order to help her immune system. I offer her another taste. I very gently go under her chin to try and catch the knot of blood so she has to lick less blood which now runs through her system like a river. I give her a shot(the nickname for a little plastic tub with liquid B with a raspberry taste) of B-12 from a company named “Now” that has a dose of 10,0000 mg and half is for her, and half for me.
This ritual of washing is a kind of blessing as old as time, and for Lupi it is a tender way to give her loving touch. Sometimes she looks at me with a kind of concern or fear and that seems to soften as I let her know best I can, she is fine, passing through like all of us, and as a friend said pain is a movement. The CBD tincture, and the herbs continue to soften that edge, and the trick always is how to give that to her simply without more mouth trauma rising to the surface. I can feel my own panic like butterflies yjsy settles sometimes just with tears and good heartedness towards her life blessing my life.
It will snow more today and the next coming days and lots of cool snow for her to rest her mouth. The bag of frozen peas do not work, she does not want to lie on them no matter if I cover them with terry clothe but the snow well, that is her thing.
Spring is around the corner and a time of rebirth and Lupi is heading that way in her fashion. I have made arrangements with a vet to help her soon and found her a wonderful glass jar with a heart on it for her ashes. I will not hold onto them long but let them fly in the hills and at the rivers where we visited in the southwest and to the ocean in California and the northwest.
It is dark and a storm is approaching. At the second library wolf visit Stormy lies on the floor and at some point he meets some of the children. He looks at them with gentle and alert eyes. One little girl sits across from him and stares back. Lupine often takes life in with that witnessing demeanor. She will step up to meet life and a person when they have become part of her pack. It seems there has always been a certain way she moves closer to some people and animals and not others. I have never questioned her choices but I see she is at ease with others who feel that ease in themselves and have an open regard for her as herself. Approach requires a spaciousness and acknowledgement of who she is and not baby talk, never baby talk.
At the library I talk to Leyton who is visiting from Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and ask about using some of the footage about wolf dogs he has on line for the movie about Lupine as wolf dog. I share a bit about her illness and ask if I can take more pictures at his next visit on the following day. I have written him for a while about many things over the years, and really met him when I got Lupine and the organization was called Candy Kitchen. The first time I met and talked with him was at the Bosque del Apache celebration for the migration of the cranes and geese. At the time he brought Raven a black and silver timber wolf who made the largest dog we had look like a toy poodle. Dancer dog tucked his head under our armpits when Raven smelled him and his stark blue eyes were magnificent as he looked unabashedly at all of us. He was like staring into clear blue water where your own reflection cannot escape. The story about this wolf is a book about Raven and Leyton, the hard learning curve Leyton had with working with a wolf, and the inception of the sanctuary that Leyton has done for nearly twenty years. Recently they have been acknowledged by AR Martin who wrote the Game of Thrones. Thee Westero pack are named after the characters in the book.
It is always wonderful to see Leyton and his funny, animated,smart and sobering account of rescuing wolves, and wolf dogs as well as a dingos, coyotes, singing dogs and a wild fox named Romeo. Lupine has seen the other arctic wolf Flurry that was home this time and not on this trip at one of the events here in town, and it duly humbled her at both his size and wild presence. Today Stormy visits and he is quiet while kids and parents gesticulate right and left of him as he finds his spot behind the water bowl.
Lupine has had a better day today, less bleeding. I am hoping the remedies I have from Dr. S are helping her as she slowly loses power to continue on in her normal world because this has become her new normal and my rhythm works with her accordingly. We spend a shorter time out at the creek earlier in the day and she has a restful morning and evening.
This wolf does look like he is in sheep’s clothing and his magnificent paws are so wonderful as his large skull and soft ears move with sound and rest by his water bowl.
Yesterday we celebrated the Lunar New Year for Tet..today her blood comes out in small clots and bleeding along our path to the creek. She was doing quite well on the herbs and it is what it is today. Dr. Joy and I talked about next week possibly but not sure if the bleeding continues if we can wait til then so I am just sticking close, loving her and trying to reassure her by just being close, treating her normal and tender all at once.
She flicks her tongue out with the blood from the tumor and it splashes up on her snout. I gently towel off what I can and the whole time she is focused on the hillside in front of her, the water behind her. Eventually she gets up and as she walks some of the blood lands on the bark of the fallen branches like two eyes staring back at us.