photo: baked Rafe

9:52:35 AM

We took Rafe to the vet yesterday, and he got a one-shot IV and a
shot of penicillin, and we took him back today for an X-ray,
and maybe an endoscopy down his throat. He seemed better
today, though. I think the penicillin did him good.

It’s been hard to watch him struggle, and we’ve talked about putting
him to sleep, but he’s still interested in eating, and going outside,
and having his chin rubbed, so I don’t think he’s ready to leave
us just yet.

Through all of this, I’ve enjoyed spending time with him, too. It’s
hard to explain, especially to someone who doesn’t love pets, but
just sitting next to him makes me feel better. And to be able to
give him what he wants, to see him satisfied afterwards, sleeping
happily, makes me happier than I know how to say.

He doesn’t want much, any more – water, food, a warm place to sleep,
and a nose rub every now and then. And really, that’s all I need,

11:12:47 AM

Rafe is back from his x-rays, fortified with a stronger steroid
(dexameth), which we’re supposed to inject every 48 hours. He was
happy to come home.

Rafe’s suffering (and our suffering along with him) has rekindled
an old question in my mind: Why do we suffer? But this time, for once,
I have an answer.

Suffering brings us together. In others, it gives us a chance
to show compassion. In us, no matter who we are, it makes us
vulnerable, approachable and accepting. For a thick-headed species
like humankind, we need suffering, or else there wouldn’t –
there couldn’t – be love.

Why we have to be so thick-headed that we can’t love without
suffering, I can’t answer. Maybe if we could, suffering wouldn’t be
necessary, and might leave us for good. It couldn’t hurt to try. It
might even make a good New Year’s resolution: to show compassion
to others as if they were suffering (even when they’re not), and
to be vulnerable, approachable and accepting as if I were suffering
(even when I’m not).

3:14:34 PM

A comment on the photo: I made my signature spinach pie for New Year’s Eve
– I can’t believe I haven’t posted the recipe for it yet, but anyway… My
favorite part of the recipe is decorating the top of the crust. This year,
because Rafe has been such a big part of our lives, I made a small image
of him, curled up warm in the center of the pie.