Friday, February 17, 2012

Paolo's Progress

It’s been one month since Paolo’s injury. Paolo is making progress and we’re feeling pretty confident that he falls into that 70% chance of recovery from spinal surgery. He’s wagging his tail, he’s moving his right leg, he’s able to control his bladder (mostly), he can stand with some assistance and he can walk a few steps with a sling.  Those are pretty significant strides for a dog that was paraplegic one month ago. He is a fighter and he has a will to live.

I first met Paolo as an emaciated, flea ridden puppy in a boatyard in Sicily six years ago.  He’d been hit by a car and his mouth was taped shut with medical tape. The man in the boatyard, Salvatore, said he’d been dumped there and I should take him or he would die. After a lot of tears and an argument with Trent, Paolo came home with us. The vet told me that Paolo had a severely deformed nose and a massive respiratory infection and probably wouldn’t make it through the week.  

Fast forward six years, 2 children, 2 countries, 3 cities and 4 homes.  I wake up to find that Paolo’s fall off the bed the previous day was more serious than I thought.  He’s paralyzed and he needs a very expensive surgery that I can’t afford.  I’m faced with taking out a loan or putting Paolo down.  While I’m left in the room alone with Paolo to “think about it”, I say to Paolo, “Damn you!  This isn’t how it’s supposed to end.  You’re supposed to grow old with me.  Please tell me what you want me to do?”  And he just looked up at me with those same eyes from the boatyard and said, “Save me!”      
I know some of you think I’m crazy for the choice I made. Someone said to me, “Wow, you’re a better person than me. I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather spend $6,000 on than a dog!” I have two things to say to that person. 1. Yes, I am a better person than you. 2. Paolo may be just a dog to you but to me he’s someone that I share my home and my bed with. He is family. He is my child. He is my friend. He was there beside me on the bathmat when I peed on a stick and learned I was pregnant with my first child, he welcomed two babies into our family, he cuddled me through several periods of debilitating depression, he has greeted me at the door everyday with ridiculous enthusiasm even when I’ve just stepped out to check the mail, he has witnessed many trials and tribulations in our family. To me Paolo is not just a dog. He is part of my life story and that chapter isn’t over yet.  


Gemelli in Sicilia said...

Oh you are making me cry! Pets certainly take ahold of you and become family. One of the hardest days of my life was when our cat died a few years ago. We had had him since Dave and I started dating. He had lived in Guam, Michigan, Sicily and Washington. He used to help tuck in the boys each night and listen to books being read. You just have to do it! Forza Paolo!

Anonymous said...

jesus wept.

Hoe said...

Lucky dog to have an owner like you.

Daniel said...

I remember that day at the boatyard :)