Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Safe Investment

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless -it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
~From the book The Four Loves by C.S.Lewis

I went and saw the Critter at the vet today. I learned (yesterday) that the first batch of plasma did not work. As a result, the doctor found a donor dog and completed a full transfusion (white blood cells, red blood cells, the whole works) and it seems to have stabilized him in that regard, despite the fact that his white blood cell count is still low. I spoke to the technicians that are guarding him at the vet's just a few minutes ago and he seems to be doing OK tonight.

When I saw him earlier today, it broke my heart. He was a bit lethargic and he wagged his tail as best as he could. Yesterday the doctor told me to bring him some boiled chicken so he could eat something solid, but in spite of my efforts he refused to eat. They currently have him hooked up to an i.v. Although I try my best to show none of the typical sentimentality that comes with these situations, it was impossible for me to keep a dry eye when I saw him. He seemed so frail, and so strained that I could not keep myself from becoming teary-eyed and anguished. This brings me to a point I would like to bring up to the skeptics and cynics who don't understand what it means to love a pet. Some of these sarcastic individuals out there might perceive love for an animal as superfluous, frivolous, and mawkish. And when our pets are sick or hurt, concern for their well being might acquire for the pet owner a "wimpy" characterisation. I can see where these critics are coming from. But to them I say that what you would point out as an inherently irrational sentiment on my part might simply elucidate a profound deficiency in you. Many of these critics have never experienced loving a pet in their entire lives, not to mention a possible pathologous condition that may prevent them from loving someone else more than they love themselves.

I think C.S. Lewis said it best in the above quote taken from the book The Four Loves. In this small paragraph he offers a warning, as well as a ray of hope, to those individuals who may be experiencing an excruciating emotional state that resulted from losing someone they deeply care for - even if this someone might be a "mere" animal. Not only does he point out that it it natural to be weakened when we love someone, but that REFUSING to love - in order to avoid the obvious perils that comes with it - is far more dangerous than the risks we take when we love someone. That is a warning to the coward in all of us. The hope in what he writes comes in the reassurance that the pain we endure over those we love is not meaningless and purposeless. There is an inexplicable and indescribable impression that tells me that in the end of all ends - whatever that is and whenever it may come - all will be healed and reconciled.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and for your thoughts. The only think I ask is that you continue to pray for the Critter. Thank you and God bless all of you.

By the way, today December 19th is his birthday.


Kirk said...

Hi Tom,
I am praying for you and for your dog.
I totally agree with your comments. A Priest once told me that you can always tell a person's inner charity by the way he/she treats animals.
I had a dog. A Westhighland Terrier. His name was Hamish. in middle life he became a diabetic and I would give him his insulin injections every day. When he grew old he developed bowel cancer. I paid for the operation but it was not a success. I could have had him operated on again to have his bowel and most of his stomach removed but his quality of life would have been zero and so I made the decision to have him put to sleep. I can't tell you how many tears I shed. I remained with him until the very end and my face was the last thing he saw.
That was five years ago and the little lock of his fur that I keep in my wallet reminds me of the bond of love that we two shared and I am certain that I will meet him again one day.
I thought I would just share that with you all.

Shirley said...

Oh Tom, poor little Critter! I know well the sadness of having a creature in my care who is ill or suffering. I pray that Critter will pull through and continue to bring you joy.

Katie Alender said...

Tom, the love of a pet is the love of one of God's creatures, so I'm always confused when people belittle it.

I am thinking of the Critter and praying he's better soon. Please keep us updated, and know you're in our thoughts.

Adrienne said...

I remember when I first stumbled on your blog. The main reason I kept coming back was because you loved Critter and your grandma. I figured you just had to be a nice guy. I was right!

Even though I have never been able to run my hand over Critter or hold him and pet him, his current illness is breaking my heart. We are all praying for him.

Melody K said...

Hi, Tom. I hadn't checked in for a couple of days and I'm sorry to hear that Critter is having more problems. He (and you) are in my prayers; I know how I would feel if it were one of my cats. We had our old kitty 16 years, and it sure did hurt to lose her. I'll pray that Critter pulls through; hang in there!

Tracy said...

still praying!!

Tom in Vegas said...

Cousin Kirk-

Thank you for sharing that story with me. It must have been a gut wrenching decision putting your dear pet to sleep. In a way, it’s comforting to know that others have been where I am now. Thank you for your prayers. BTW, the priest you spoke to was a wise man.


Thank you for praying for the little Critter. I know you are an animal lover as well, and can certainly relate to this type of situation.


You are very kind to have said those beautiful words. I, too, am dumbfounded by people who can’t find it in them to love a pet. Thank you for your prayers.

Auntie A-

Yes, grandma is very important to me, and this could have been much more difficult for me if it was her who was sick. I’m not de-emphasizing the importance of Critter and the huge space he occupies in my life. I think you know what I mean. I hope Elle is doing well.


Thank you for your prayers. I can COMPLETELY relate to your pain when you lost your dear cat, especially when you had her as long as you did. I appreciate your prayers and thoughts.


That’s all you can do - pray. And thank you for doing so.

Terry Nelson said...

I'm so sorry Tom - I just checked in here. I'm so sorry Critter is not doing well, of course I will pray for him. I feel so bad - you are all in my prayers.

Tom in Vegas said...

Thank you, Terry.