I find the mysteries in life so fascinating…
Lazarus, the dog I’d been nursing back to health after being on death’s door died yesterday, within days of my miscarriage and Mother’s Day four years ago. He was going to be my dog when he got better. I imagined him healthy, and strong. I imagined his love and loyalty to me after being the only one on the ranch who gave a damn to help him. No one even knew his name; he was a forgotten dog that came with the sheep herd. By the time his condition was brought to my attention, he hadn’t eaten or drank anything in three days. They believe he’d eaten something poisonous, meat from a dead animal gone bad, maybe.
I felt that I could save him, though he was already lying down on the bed of a truck with several dead lambs, as if his fate was sealed and he was going with them, to the dump that is their final resting place. My first instinct was to give him activated charcoal, to help move the poison out, so I called my herb friend who suggested that I mix that with crushed garlic and administer via an enema. So I did. And he was better right away, drinking water within 30 minutes, and eating a few bites of food that day. We also gave him essential oils to relax him, on his nose and on the pads of his paws, which are highly absorbable. After laying there barely breathing before, he was now digging a hole in the dirt to cool off in. He was gaining energy.
The next morning I gave him another charcoal and garlic enema, administered more oils, and also gave him minerals and probiotics to start giving him the nutrients he needed and build back up his gut flora. He was doing better. Every time I would administer something to him throughout the day, he would get up on all fours and drink from the water I had placed right next to him. He still would eat little, to nothing though. I tried raw milk, raw eggs, soft dog food, and crunchy dog food. So I made sure to give him the minerals through an oral syringe, which he hated, so I had to use a little force.
On the third day, when I would give him the minerals, instead of swallowing, most of the time he would just let it dribble out of his mouth. He was taking a turn for the worse. It made me think he was giving up and wanted to die. I would also pour liquid minerals directly onto his paws, so they could soak into him that way.
By the fourth day, he was breathing very heavy and fast, like he was grasping for air. In asking around for help, I learned there was a veterinarian on the ranch (supposedly one of the best Vets in Mexico). I had Marguerito (one of the ranch helpers) get in touch with him, and he said he would come see the dog. It took him several hours to show up. He said the dog had a bad infection in his lungs, which was why he was having trouble breathing (and eating, and only drinking a little here and there). He said that penicillin could save him, and he had some, but no needle to inject him with it. So I put a call into my herb friend to bring a needle to the ranch. In the meantime, the Vet suggested we mix up some sugar/salt water for him in the oral syringe. Our communication was very limited – he could only speak very little English, and I only very little Spanish. Marguerito translated for us when he was around.
Knowing that he was a Vet, I asked him to administer the oral syringe while we waited for the needle to show up – that when I did it, Laz would often let it dribble back out of his mouth. I figured the Vet would have had done this hundreds of times and knew an efficient (and safe) technique to help the dog keep it down. He had Marguerito hold Laz’s head back while he administered the syringe. I was unnerved by the way they were jostling him around when he had very little strength. Marguerito forced Lazarus’s head back for too long that he suffocated him. Laz died with Marguerito’s arms around his neck, went limp and fell to the ground.
Words cannot describe my heartbreak in that moment. After all the gentle love and care I was giving him, these men didn’t take into account Laz’s fragility and sickly state. I couldn’t help myself from falling apart in front of them, just bawling, and walking away. I watched from a distance as they tried to revive him, to manipulate his limp body to let the fluid drain back out, but it was too late. Those poor men couldn’t even look at me. They just killed the dog I had been delicately and tediously caring for in the several days before, by their carelessness and inconsideration.
My friend called while at the store looking for clarification on the needle.
“Don’t bother,” I said. “He’s gone.”
She came right over and we hugged and cried.
I was weeping off and on throughout the day. Mark took me to go sit in a hot tub, to try to get away and relax a little bit. He held me in the water as I cried and expressed how badly I wanted to save Lazarus. He replied, “maybe you did.” <3
The day before Lazarus died, I told him that he should go if he didn’t want to fight, but that I really wanted him to make it and that I would keep being there for him because I loved him. I also told him that we would see each other again in heaven, and that I would claim him – he could be mine, since no one else was there for him in his dying days. I am a believer that animals do go to heaven – you can’t look an animal in the eyes and tell me they don’t have a soul. Lazarus is surely there now.
Of course I named him Lazarus with the full hope and expectation that he would surely make it after those first signs of coming back to life after that first enema.
As always, I am looking for learning opportunities, and experiencing fully whatever is going on around me.
Marguerito, who has always been very kind to me since we met a month ago, called me last night.
“How are you, Mija?”
“I’m okay, Marguerito.”
“You think I kill your dog?”
Yes. “No, Marguerito, I think you were trying to help.”
“I sorry, Mija. I see how you cry. You have beautiful soul, you beautiful person inside and outside. You come to the church with me tomorrow?”
See, how sweet he is? I cannot be mad at Marguerito. He was only trying to help. Maybe Marguerito needed to see a softer side of humanity in me. It is more than likely Laz wouldn’t have made it, and for all I know, they helped him out of his suffering, and I might have only prolonged it. And truly, my anger can only be directed at myself, for not trusting myself to take care of him.
As for the Vet – it turns out that the Mexican government took him out of prison and sent him to work here (I guess that is not too uncommon – it is a way to make room in their prisons and a way for Americans to hire very cheap labor). The story I’m told is that he killed someone in self defense. Now it’s easy to start making judgments – whether he did it in self defense or not, is not for me to decide. But my experience of him was a kind man, who wanted to help me and Lazarus, and took the time to do it. Maybe he has some things to face regarding death. Who knows what the death of this dog in his hands has brought back up for him?
As for me, it is Mother’s Day, four years ago I miscarried, and today I will bury the doggie I so desperately wanted to save and have in my life.
What are all the connections, coincidences, and reasons the Mexican Vet, the Mexican helper, Marguerito, and Lazarus and I were thrown together in this random situation at this ranch all far from our homes? I can’t say for sure, but beyond the sadness it fascinates me, like all circumstances like it, believing in no accidents and no wasted experiences.
Our lives are chalk full of happy and tragic accidents, and strange coincidences. When I get to heaven, I want to walk back through my life and see them plainly – how they all assisted me in my progress and growth as a human being. I want to see that everything mattered, and everything counted for my experience.
Lazarus, forever in my heart!