From the Vaults: 3 for Zorro

I was looking for something on the ‘net and found this, written October 19, 2007:

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.

Write either three short verses or one long stanza about these three things – fear, love, and loss. Any form of poetry is fine – haiku, a sonnet – whatever works.

* * * * *

I’m not a poet. I dabbled in verse ages ago, but I generally think in sentences. Still, it’s a good exercise to play with other forms once in a while. I don’t post verse or fiction to my actual blog. That’s what this is for.

* * * * *

I. Fear
Monsters with headlights whizzing by
Cold rain falling from the sky
Hiding for naps
Begging for scraps
Constantly running on tiny feet
This is the life of a stray on the street.

II. Love
He reminds me of the childhood poem
About a little shadow
Up and down the stairs, he’s at my heels.
In the kitchen, he’s underfoot
On the couch or in bed, he curls against my hip
Puppy kisses tell me what he feels.

III. Loss
Day by day, I’m seeing him fade.
He’s withdrawing from us a little
As if he knows his clock is winding down.
His muzzle is grey where it once was black
The “eyeliner” that helped earn his name is nearly gone
He’s taken to barking at the other dogs in town

Ten isn’t old for a Chihuahua, they say
But they forget the epilepsy, the years on the street
And the dental issues, and the heart disease.
They just see the spry little man with the sickle tail
Ears erect, nose a-quiver, eyes all big and round
Like a plumber, the vet never hears him sneeze.

I know our other dog feels second best,
Which is ridiculous because I love them both
Differently, because MissCleo is a dog for play
While Zorro, my little man, is content to be quiet
Always near, his quiet presence warming my heart,
I don’t know how I’ll deal when he finally slips away

Zorro dog died in February, 2009.

Zorro Dog

Zorro is one of those chi/JRT mixes who manages to capture the best parts of both breeds with very little of the bad. One of those traits is his love of vertical take-offs and landings. He can, when inspired, jump higher than my shoulder, and while that may not sound like much since I’m only five feet tall (exactly), he’s only 7.5 INCHES tall.

He likes to jump up and down from our bed, which is fairly high, as we have a thick box spring on the frame, and a pillow-top mattress on top of that. There’s a chest at the foot of the bed that makes a good step, and sometimes we find him curled up on top of it, but he almost never uses it to get up or down.

A couple of days ago, he fell off the bed, and I thought I heard a dog-bone sort of pop, but he didn’t squawk or anything, though he did begin to limp on that leg, a leg where he already has a problem knee. The limping continued, with no signs of pain when I manipulated the leg or hip, and I began to wonder if my dog was just acting out for attention. (He affected a limp when the pet sitter was here last Christmas.) He’s also got a stage six heart murmur, so when limping was accompanied by his dry hacking cough for the past two nights, despite drugging him like crazy, we went to the vet.

Here’s the result:
His heart is marginally worse (it’s enlarged, but it has been for a while). His blood pressure is a little high, but not dangerously slow. He’s at his higher summer weight (9 pounds) because it’s been too hot for walkies (108 today). The cough, the vet thinks, is allergies/cold/irritation, and rather than give us more cough meds, he wants us to try benadryl.

His leg, OTOP (on the other paw) is not so good. He basically blew out the ACL on the side with the bad knee. There’s a surgical fix, of course, but because of Zorro’s heart condition, the vet advises against anything invasive, especially since anesthesia would be required. They are uncertain it is worth the risk putting a 14-year-old dog through that.

So, we have canine narcotics (tramadol – it’s $1 / pill, and we have 15, but that’s a 60 day supply for a dog this small), and we’ve been told to keep him still as much as possible but that there will be a degree of healing, though we should expect that he’ll always run on three legs, even when he begins walking on four again.

The people who were leaving as we came in had one dog in a trauma collar, and had just put down their other, and were in tears.

We got off with drugs and a $140 bill.
We were lucky.