Isabelle's New Years Message
Updated: Jan 3
Isabelle is still here. She made it to 2023! A few months ago I would not have thought this possible. But she seems to have settled into her cancer with stoicism, some good days, and some bad. She limps in and out of the house, carefully maneuvering the stairs, sometimes faltering, sometimes asking for support, looking up for reassurance that someone is nearby. When she can’t seem to manage we lift her 65 pound body up or down the short flight of stairs on the deck and then she gets the rest of the way on her own.
Starting the journey, whether it’s up or down, is always the hardest for her. Once she gets going she gets herself there. I guess that’s a pretty good metaphor for a lot of things. First steps can be the hardest. Trying to make changes in your life can feel impossible until you’ve set your foot on the path and actually started. Then the journey becomes what you choose to make of it. For Isabelle the journey has an inevitable end. But she’s still enjoying what she has. She adores her family (well maybe she only tolerates Archer) and would do anything to be close to us, laying her head on a lap and leaning in. She loves lying out in the yard. We call it “earthing,” treasuring the elements; wind, sun, cold, warm, snow and even rain and we often have to insist that she come inside. She sits outside head up or down, eyes closed or open, feeling the world around her and being at peace. Sometimes she even manages to roll in the grass.
She also still loves food. She probably can't believe her good fortune that she no longer has to eat just kibble, but gets a home cooked meal every day. Every evening she waits in rapture as I take the lid off the treat jar to fish out something special like pork jerky, or dried minnows or cheese puffs. Even getting her pills, hidden in mozzarella cheese sticks or peanut butter brings her joy.
You can learn a lot from a pet. This is what Isabelle has taught me, that the things that really matter are the love of family and friends, the beauty and joy of being in nature, having good healthy food, and indulging in the occasional special treat. This is what I'll take into 2023. That and putting one foot in front of the other, even if it hurts.