26 August 2010

Shadowy passages

I went for a quick swim at about 5:15 this morning, although it was not originally my plan. I jumped in to retrieve my little guy, Tristan, who had wandered into the pool by mistake in the dim morning light. His aging eyes betray him and he is guided primarily by sound, smell and touch. But this morning he encountered mixed signals and took a wrong turn.

It was his first time in the water and it was undoubtedly a frightening experience for him. Back on dry land, it took him a short while to recover the strength to move around again. And even then, he was nervous, shaking. Breakfast, biscuits and the warm air from the hair dryer helped to banish the scary memory.

His eyesight has been deteriorating rather quickly over the past several weeks and it is clear to me that I need a better plan to help guide him and communicate with him as he navigates through the shadowy world. Over the next several days I need to make it a priority to experiment with a few behavioral strategies to determine what seems beneficial.

He is my little dog of nine lives. When I found him, he was nearly dead from starvation, exposure and heartworms. But he bounced back. A few years later, he was diagnosed with cancer and had a nasty tumor removed from his foot, but that experience didn’t slow him down a bit. A few years after that, he slipped out the front door by mistake, ran into the street and in the blink of an eye was in the path of an oncoming truck. The truck ran over him but Tristan was not injured badly, just sore, bruised and scared. And now, blindness. It sort of reminds me of Voltaire’s notable character, Candide.

He has the heart of a lion and is cheerful every day of his life. He stole my heart that first night when I saw him wandering and lost. Perhaps his courage, spirit and the love of his 2-legged and 4-legged family will help to bolster him through this next stage of his life.


  1. How lucky he is to have found you. I believe we're brought together with our animal companions same as we're brought to the special people in our lives. It's warms me to think of the chances you have given him through your love and care!

  2. Oh, Diane...I've never even met Tristan, but I can tell I would LOVE him.

    What a "special" little canine soul he is. He most certainly does have nine lives!

    Our family had a little yorkie-poo (half yorkie, half poodle). His name was Kino. And he was the feistiest little dog I ever met. My mother use to always say he had nine lives too because he survived so many accidents.

    "He has the heart of a lion and is cheerful every day of his life. He stole my heart that first night when I saw him wandering and lost."

    Yes, Tristan would have stolen my heart too!

    Bless you, dear lady!


  3. Poor frightened baby, so glad you were there to rescue and comfort him.