I've been having some good luck with getting published recently. Yesterday I found out that my story "A Healing Friendship" will be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog's Life. The book will be out in stores next April. It's an essay about the profoundly special relationship between my middle child, Jack, and our dog, Biscuit.
Jack was thrilled, and actually got a little chocked up, over the news. It's bittersweet for me.
Biscuit has been through so much in her 8 years. She was injured at the age of one, had two surgeries by age two, and then, due to a life-threatening infection, had to have her left, hind leg removed. Since then, she's had several additional surgeries...infections, skin cancer, a cancerous tumor and a procedure to flush out a severe case of pancreatitis.
A few weeks ago, she began falling down every time she'd get up to walk. Her one remaining hind leg seemed to have lost all its strength. Over the past few weeks, her condition has gotten progressively worse. A visit to the vet yesterday confirmed that the problem is neurological. She won't get better. In fact, she'll get progressively worse. I can't put Biscuit through any more surgery. And her quality of life is nowhere near what it should be.
Dr. Mike (her vet) told me I have a tough decision to make. Biscuit can't run (or even walk without help), she can't play, she can't even stand at her food dish to eat without me holding her up. My heart is breaking, but I know that I can't let Biscuit continue to suffer. Talking to my kids - especially Jack - is going to be difficult, to say the least. I pray that we'll all get through this, and find peace in the knowledge that we love Biscuit enough to let her go.
I will be taking lots of pictures of our beloved Biscuit this week. A black and white close up of Biscuit and Jack, along with a copy of the story of their friendship will make a great Christmas gift.
The news from Chicken Soup couldn't have come at a better time. Writing has always been cathartic for me, and getting a piece published brings with it a great feeling of accomplishment. This time, it's a blessing. Not just for me, but for our whole family.
If you've got any words of wisdom, advice or prayers...I'll gladly accept them this week.