“There are no problems; there are only situations.” Eckhart Tolle
Spirit, my 11-year-old yellow lab/golden retriever mix, did me a favor yesterday. He waited until 5:45 am to have his seizure. It was only a little earlier than I had planned to get up anyway for my run. It could have been worse. It could have been one of the 3:00 am seizures, the kind that rips you out of your deepest dreams and leaves you shredded and useless the rest of the day. I’m always grateful when it’s not one of those.
My dog is very organized. He starts asking for dinner a few minutes before 5:00 every night, and he has seizures every two weeks. He has his own neurologist, my dog, and no matter how we try to tweak his meds, his brain goes haywire every fourteen days.
He’s had seizures since he was 2 years old, though the frequency has increased as he’s gotten older. It’s amazing he has any surviving brain cells after 9 years of this.
The seizures are messy, entailing both bladder and bowels emptying on the spot and frothing at the mouth, sometimes with a little blood mixed in if he’s bitten his tongue. Noisy too–his head thumps against the floor with each convulsion, claws click rhythmically against tile or wood floors, dog tags clink and clatter. Smells come in to a greater or lesser extent depending on how fast we surround him with towels and catch the goop as it emerges. If we’re out when it happens, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.
If you want to bring the sensory experience up a notch, you can put your hand on his skull and feel the electricity coursing through his brain, like Frankenstein hooked up to the generator. It’s disconcerting if you watch too closely, though, because then you see his eyeballs contracting into their sockets with each electrical pulse, sort of like those old owl clocks from the 1970’s, the ones with the eyes that popped in and out of their heads.
When he’s not seizing, Spirit is my most constant source of presence and pure awareness (who was it who pointed out that “dog” is God spelled backwards?). Just as we need to have darkness in order to appreciate the light, Spirit’s absence in the midst of a seizure makes his inner light that much brighter when he’s here.
I offer this up as a first glimpse into the many layers of our Animal House. Spirit is just one of many four-legged and winged beings in our home. Though the latter portion of my Feng Shui Animal House book title was inspired by the movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” I quickly realized that our small petting zoo was one more aspect of the chaos we embrace.
The two-legged creatures will be introduced soon. They are still deciding what their pseudonyms in the book and on the blog will be (yes, the characters in this story are real, but their names will be changed to protect the innocent–and not so innocent as it turns out).