White Dog and the White Dog Army have been focused on Puff's health issues. We are all aware of and do not tiptoe around the fact that she is dying...Puff would have it no other way, but directly and matter of fact.
These past few days have indicated the time is nigh for us to add pain management into our stoic girl's hospice care. Up until now my Feisty One has ignored the monster inside of her but has begun to pant and squirm in discomfort when she gets herself into certain positions.
That is the agreement Puff and I have; she drives the bus as long as she is not suffering. We have had that conversation, she and I, several times. It is not really a conversation it is a statement of independence and the right to self-determination. Puff gets angry when the idea of "help" over the Bridge is even mentioned. "You are pro-choice, momma," she says flatly. "Don't take away mine. It is for me to decide."
The White Dogs seem to understand...and back her point of view...as they share her journey moment-by-moment with no judgment. We have others in our lives, humans, not so supporting, who have come very close to suggesting that letting Puff continue with a diminished quality of life is selfish.
White Dog has answered that criticism. "Who ultimately judges that," she asks. "If Puff is unable to go into the yard without help does she deserve to die before she chooses? YOU, momma, with your disability, cannot do a lot of things like climb stairs or run or walk around the yard. I do not think your quality of life suffers. Why assume so for Puff?"
Zsofia takes up the argument, "My sister eats heartily at every single meal and loves her food and treats. Does it matter that you hold her water bowl while she drinks deeply the cool water from there?" "And she wants to be part of the pack not hide away alone. Puff loves lying on the bed and watching the WDA Song to the Mailman and the wrestling matches and greeting dad. She is still involved in our family," Nilla added.
Our insightful WDA healer, Dr. Julia also agreed that Puff should make the call. "She will let you know when she wants help or she may just choose to go naturally. We can make her comfortable so she is not in pain. If she stops eating and drinking or withdraws then ask her again."
It was Benson who convinced me that Puff was right. He walked over and gently put his head against me...like he always does when he has something to say. He is my quiet thoughtful one. I acknowledged him with a hand to his shoulder.
"Momma, Puff had a really rough life. The time she has been part of the White Dog Army have been the most amazing and wonderful times ever for her. Can you understand why she isn't ready to give that up...to leave? To her maybe a little pain is worth more time feeling secure, safe, cared for, and loved. It must be her decision."
I close my eyes to hold back the tears as much as to think. Puff in any pain is a hard concept to accept... much harder than the fact that she is at the end stages of her life. But I would demand no less for myself than she is asking, I conclude but I keep wanting to add "but for me it is different." I lift Puff into my arms and kiss her nose. "Love you so much it is hard to be fair. I will ride the bus to where ever the end of the line is, Sweet Girl. Drive on."