As my readers know, I have an adorable rescue Maltese-mix named Gus. I am simply wholly, unabashedly, in love with Gus.
I love his small size, his soft, fluffy white fur, but mostly his loving, quirky personality.
But there is a problem. Gus is an older dog with heart disease. My vet suspects that he had heartworm at one time since he never had received vet care until he was dropped off for adoption. His heart is too big…which is a disease that befits his personality. He is super cuddly and loves life. He can’t wait to start each day (usually at 4 a.m.) and loves everyone he meets. My vet informed me that he could live for a couple or years or die tomorrow…just until this big heart of his finally quits.
Since I learned about his disease last year, this poor guy rarely gets an uninterrupted sleep as I periodically pet him to see if he is still with us. He doesn’t mind, he lets out a little grunt, snuggles closer, and goes back to sleep. So far, so good.
At the dog park a month ago, he had a heart incident. One of the dog park regulars is a retired emergency room doctor and tried to help; but he was fading. I scooped him up and carried him with my other dog gently following behind. I placed Gus in his dog bed, gave him an aspirin, and my other dog, Annie, placed herself sphinxlike next to him; just watching and looking up at me. Neither of us knew what to do.
In that instant, I decided that if this was going to be his last day, it was going to be his best day. Gus is a foodie (as well as a flawless vacuum cleaner) and except for dog medicines, I have yet to find something he doesn’t like. He would sell me for a hot dog (lest any of you get any ideas and go to the store to buy hotdogs…I would like to keep him as long as possible).
I cut up an apple and placed it next to him; he lifted his head slightly. Then I went to the kitchen to fry him a hamburger. At the same time, I commenced frying bacon for a Quiche Lorraine. The bacon did what bacon does, sizzle and pop, and disperse its aroma throughout the house.
I went back to check on my little guy, almost tripping over him. There he was, sitting at attention in the kitchen. He was alert; his large doe eyes staring at the bacon and then back at me, his head tilted, his ears slightly up, in his best “aren’t I cute” pose. My little guy was back and ready for some bacon.
I explained to a disappointed Gus that if I gave him bacon; it would be his last meal. But he kept looking at me and then back to the bacon; gently trying to help me understand.
Little Gus is still with us. I have no idea why I still have him; but I am grateful for every moment.
When these things happen, I try to explain or learn from them. So here are three possible explanations.
- It wasn’t his time.
- I may have misinterpreted his symptoms and he was only tired.
- Bacon cures everything.
Who knows, but me for…I am going with the healing properties of bacon.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.