Rex and Murphy

They stay very loyal. Of course, they do. Today, Rex and Murphy weave in and out between bags and boxes of medical supplies, legs and arms of strangers, and words coming out of mouths so unfamiliar to them. The past four weeks as well, they always found their way to Mommy. She is their rock, their comfort … their place to nestle two wet noses under a comfortable, familiar blanket.

Rex is about six years Murphy’s junior. He is Mommy’s little boy. The protector of all that is wrong with Greta, he is. These days, his job is overwhelming as Mommy’s appendiceal cancer has taken control over her remaining few weeks. Rex knows something isn’t right. He scampers about wondering where to be within eyesight … out of the way, but thankfully in the way of his Mommy’s over-extending heart. Close to her he dearly wants to be all the time. Sometimes, this isn’t possible.

Normal isn’t normal anymore. Every two hours, attention needs to be paid elsewhere. Rex must step aside. Elsewhere is Greta. I believe he understands. There’s a big picture window from which he looks out to gather his puppy thoughts. Rex will do what is necessary for Mommy. He’s anxious and unsure about a lot of things right now. Sure he is. We are, too.

Murphy is a fluffy tow-along. At an older age, his health isn’t a good as Rex. Just recently, a diagnosis of tracheal cancer put him behind the 8-ball a bit. He’s a steroid machine because of it. That medicine put him on an eating binge including a pair of glasses and pretty much any food – wrapped or otherwise – that isn’t at least 5-feet off the floor and 4-feet back off the front edge of any counter. He is laser focused on stuffing his snout.

Now, his love for Mommy is no less than Rex. A very comfortable little bed, at the foot of a larger Mommy bed, provides him a resting place almost every night. A low center of gravity, combined with nearly ninety-one human years muscled around his weary bones, makes jumping up on furniture for an ear scratch a bit difficult. He has the same window for reflection, but uses a lower bunked doggie bed, not the love seat. Granted, Rex has the same opportunity to it – and does. They are brothers through and through.

Rex and Murphy. Two canine companions trying their best to make a difficult situation make sense. In the furry brains as worried as all the human ones, their lives have been turned upside-down. Cancer – especially rare appendecial that strikes approximately 3 out of 1,000,000 people world-wide who are diagnosed with any cancer – changes everyone who cares for the loved one.

It’s never the obvious changes: bills, groceries, things-to-do that have to be altered. Those are (sometimes) the easy workarounds … short-term, anyway. Certainly, there’s no easy answer to any of this. I sit here not claiming a magic crystal ball. Yesterday, friends stopped by offering many open hands – as friend do.

The change is at a heart-centered level. Love digs deeper, care cores down, and tears are torrential during silent, solitary moments in the middle of the night.

Greta’s two boys aren’t immune from experiencing any of this. They sense the pain. Mommy isn’t well. Rex and Murphy are keenly aware of her missing their normal, daily connection through feeding, head-scratch, and hug set-aside times.

With this, however, hearts don’t miss a beat between a Mom and her two doggies. Eyes don’t miss every few moments available to catch a glimpse of each other between all the busy medical steps now woven in all our lives. Rex, Murphy, and Mom … a blanket of love with some snags now, but never to be torn apart by cancer.

That’s loyalty earned through years of patient petting and nurturing. Devotion in the midst of sterile equipment and impersonal, neutral medicine flowing past open valves and tubes into a body so tired of fighting … a loving soul still very much aware that two kind, devoted, four-pawed creatures still love her so much and feel every twinge of pain and also every smile.

This is a day for them, now. Rex and Murphy. I suppose, in a few hours, their wet noses will find warm spots somewhere. Wherever those may be, Greta will know. Of course, she will.

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