Monday, November 26, 2007

Max has had the Fentanyl patch on him for three days now. You could say he's acting either like an angsty teenage stoner (staring out the window, sighing and whimpering) or a love-sick hero trying to snap out of it (staring out the window, then vigorously shaking himself and whimpering).

This had been so, so hard for us. One thing that helped immediately was a suggestion from Max's teacher Judi. "Don't talk to him in a 'Sympathy Voice,'" she said. "He'll hear the distress in your voice and that will compound his own distress."

Honestly, I'd been talking to him in Baby Talk the whole time and I just stopped and he was a little better. Well, I know I was. I keep saying in an optimistic tone, "Well, Max, we'll get through this. And then you can tell the story of how you survived the pit bull attack!" It's doesn't erase the pain (either physical or emotional) but it proves to me once again, that's it all about on what we choose to focus.

I can't very well pretend this is no big deal as I apply hot compresses to his oozing, bloody wounds. I've been forced to think hard about forgiveness in regards to Max's attacker, or more correctly, the attacker's owners. So I'm forced to take my own advice: "Feel your feelings, give them a voice and then move on."

Max seems to be processing this whole thing pretty well in spite of the fact that he is on major narcotics and wearing that hideous plastic Cone on his head. I give him a break from The Cone when I can be around to make sure he doesn't lick and pull out the stitches.

Yesterday was the first time we left him alone (with Cone on) because I officiated at a funeral. It was a bright, crisp, achingly gorgeous day. The burial was at a small cemetery in Mt. Vernon and the memorial service at a beautiful little church in Conway. In my homily I talked about how when all is said and done, the most important things in life are not things at all, but the quality of your relationships. Who loves you, who have you loved and more importantly, who have you forgiven?

After the burial service we walked back to the car through the cemetery. I looked at all the different gravestones. Did any of these people take their anger or bitterness to their graves? If they did, it didn't matter now.

Just then a sharp wind cut through the trees and blew leaves and sticks across the gravestones. And at that moment I let the wind take all my anger and fear around Max's attack. I didn't want to carry those feelings to my car, let alone my grave.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! I was sitting here killing time before 5:00 p.m. on a Friday, when I could finally leave the office, and I said to myself, "Maybe I'll check Debra's blog and see what's new with her."
Holy crap! I know that's one of the most un-Christian things I could say, but here's a worse one: I hate pitbulls! I really do! I just hate them. I don't buy all that "they had bad owners" stuff! I'm sorry, but you never hear about a golden retriever running out of a garage an mauling a poor, sweet, innocent puppy!
I know, you're probably going to tell me I need to forgive them, and let the wind take away my anger like you did, but I can't! Look at your poor little puppy... This is one of my worst fears when I'm out walking my precious doggy.
But I do have to say, as a parent, I agree with Max's teacher's suggestion not to talk to him in a sad, pitiful voice. I learned this when my kids were very young. If they fell and hurt themselves, they would immediately look to me for reassurance. If I panicked, they panicked. But if I said, "You're ok. That hurts, I know, but you'll be ok," they calmed right down. I think dogs look to us for that same reassurance.
Tell Max he'll be ok from me. And that I still hate that mean pitbull!
I hope he's all better soon.
Cathy H. (I don't want to give my last name in fear of getting bombarded from pitbull advocates!)