Moshe | Street Jazz

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Posted By on Sun, Aug 3, 2008 at 1:57 AM

It seemed like a cruel joke, after Tracy’s struggle with breast cancer last year, that one of our dogs should be diagnosed with the same disease.

After Tracy’s mother died last year, we took in her older dogs. One of the animals was a Great Pyrenees by the name of Moshesherie, which I promptly shortened to Moshe - or sometimes, Moshe Moshe. I’ve been around dogs all my life, and my own life is run by the fabled Action Dog (a creature I shall write about at another time) - but I had never been around a dog with the sheer majesty and dignity of this beautiful animal.

Clocking in at over 100lbs (even while ill she gained weight), she always sort of reminded me of Falcor from The Neverending Story. They are strong dogs, too; during World War II the dogs were used to haul artillery over the Pyrenean Mountain range.

When we learned of her illness, we discussed her options with the vet. Sadly, her problems were complicated by the fact that she was not spayed until late in life. No use crying over spilt milk. Our main concern was making sure that Moshe was comfortable and pain-free for as long as possible.

The truth is, for almost two months, she displayed few symptoms. She had inflammation from the cancer, for which she took medication. For the most part her appetite was good, and she seemed to enjoy life as much as she ever did.

She especially enjoyed cambering up on the bed. Whenever I would lay down for a mid-afternoon nap, or to use the telephone, she would plop her massive head down on my shoulder and look up at me, as if to imitate Joey from “Friends”:

“How YOU doin?”

She attacked bones with the passion of a beast in the wild.

But in the last few weeks she began to slowdown considerably. We made several trips to the vet, and worried whether or not we her keeping her alive too long, and whether she was in pain. Of course, the cancer had also spread onward throughout her body.  Her back legs began to give her trouble. So much trouble in fact that we ordered a doggy wheel chair from an outfit in Oregon.

It came, complete with probably the worst instructions I’ve seen for anything in my life. Phone calls to the seller have gone unanswered.

At any rate, she never got to the point where she actually needed the wheel chair. Last week her breathing became labored, and finally she stopped taking in food. Wednesday afternoon we realized that the time had  to allow her to leave with some dignity, and we took hjer to the vet.

As we helped her into the car, I noticed rain clouds overhead.

It was the first time I had ever actually been present for the procedure - “putting to sleep” sounds so foreign - and I was shocked at how quickly it went.. Fore which I was glad, really; it truly was Moshe’s day to pass on. She did the best she could with the cards she was dealt, but the cancer got her in the end.

Like a bad movie, it began to rain as we drove home.


That night I had a dream . . .

Sometimes, I would look over at Moshe, and I would catch her looking at me, and I would begin to tear up.  So I’ll tell you this story, and you can judge it for yourself, bearing in mind that I was getting pretty emotional about losing Moshe.

That night I had one of my many dreams about Mexican Original. I have lots of dreams about M.O. - every time someone tries to tell me how smoothly things run in the corporate world I think back on my days in the old tortilla plant.

So most of my dreams are sort of unpleasant.

Wednesday night I dreamt I was making the dough for the tortillas - which was one of the jobs I held at M.O. I opened up the large blender - capable of making over 700 pounds of dough- and found Moshe inside.

"You’d better get out of there," I said. "You'll  hurt yourself."

She acted like she never heard me. I shut up the blender and the blades inside began to whir around.

After a few seconds I opened the blender again, and there was Moshe, looking ecstatic, enjoying the ride.

I closed up the blender and walked away.

I have no idea what that dream might have meant.




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