Our Cody is not well. Since spring he and Rosie have been sneaking out of the yard to go creek running, sometimes for hours. They come back filthy, joyful and exhausted. In June Cody came back limping. Turns out he had partially torn his left ACL. The vet put him on restricted activity but Cody isn’t a very compliant patient, to say the least. He got away again two weeks ago and reinjured his knee. The ACL is now completely ruptured, repairable only with surgery, obscenely expensive canine surgery.
The thing is, Cody is elderly, into the tenth of a twelve year life expectancy. Except for his knee and a bit of arthritis in his hips, he’s perfectly healthy. Without the surgery the vet says he’ll steadily decline and eventually be unable to walk. The pain will worsen and there’s some risk of infection.
We haven’t decided what to do. On the one paw, it’s so much money; how can it be ethical to spend it on a dog? On another paw, this is Cody. This is the dog who lets little kids ride him, stand on him and put ice packs on him when playing doctor. He once had a baby rabbit in his mouth and then set it down very gently, licking it until it stopped trembling. He can’t jump anymore so my son lifts all 93 pound of him onto his bed so they can take naps together.
What impresses me most these days is that Cody’s body is broken but his spirit is still perfectly intact. He never complains, just sometimes needs help getting his hiney off the floor. He is still thrilled by treats, peanut butter and guests to the house. He knows when I’m sad. When our daughter had surgery and lived on the couch for three days, he barely left her side. He positively loses his mind when Ben comes home from college!
Cody has already given, for free, ten years of joy and comfort ~ and isn’t that worth something no matter how much longer he is with us? Sappy as it is, I have the sense that the world needs all the joy and gentleness it can get - even if the source is a elderly golden retriever. The real gift is that whatever we decide, I know Cody will be fine with it. Because, as the saying goes, once a golden retriever, always a golden retriever. peace & prayers, pastor annette