Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Power of Pork

It could equally be the Power of Love, but after all this is supposed to be a Food Blog.  And just so you know, pork was a major player in the story. I rest my case.

Some 15 years ago, I was taking my daily walk and towards the end, I was joined by this little critter.

She had no collar but seemed well cared for and was the friendliest dog I had ever met. Not in the I've got to jump all over you to show you how friendly I am way but she actually appeared to be smiling and she trotted along and told me she was going home with me. I gave a half hearted attempt to shoo her away but when I opened the front door, in she came and jumped right up on the sofa and asked "what's for dinner?" I didn't do much edible cooking in those days but I happened to have a pork roast braising in the crockpot. I shoo'd her off the sofa, gave her some water and called WSH at the office.

"This dog followed me home" I said.
"Hmmm" he replied somewhat skeptically.
"No really I tried to get rid of her but she came in the house... she seems really nice"
"She must belong to someone, we need to find her owner" he stated
"OK I'll make some posters" I replied

I called around and it turned out that she had been (I think dumped off by someone) visiting a few of our neighbors during her sojourn in our little neighborhood. It also turned out I had competition. Everyone loved this dog. Thinking quickly, I knew she MUST be hungry so I fixed her a little bit of the pork loin roast. Truth be told, I wanted an edge in the competition.  She visited around again and it was close. Our dear friends the Macleans had lots of children! other dogs! excitement! in their house. But I think ultimately what they had was enough and Bullet as she came to be known (due to her speed when chasing chipmunks or squirrels), came back to the pork roast house to stay. We did try to find owners but no one claimed her. (Thank God!)

So we spent 15 wonderful years together, with this creature who has become more than a dog to us. We have pictures but mostly the old fashiuoned kind, on prints.  She is a very expressive animal and has body language that says way more than words ever could. I think I've only heard her bark perhaps 10 times in the fifteen years, she spends more time snoring or smiling. She has two special beds, one upstairs and one downstairs. And no she isn't catered to...why do you ask? Way back when I was a church treasurer and keeper of the rose garden, Bullet accompanied me to the church grounds for the gardening sessions. Once our wonderful and much loved Rector Joel Hudson came out and was chatting with me, and mentioned that Bullet seemed to be looking for some acknowledgment. I said "Yes, that's because she's so neglected, can't you tell?" And Joel said to me, "Sally you may neglect God, you may neglect the church, or even your husband, but you will never, ever neglect this dog." He was always right.

Anyways about 10 days ago, our old friend started throwing up, she couldn't hold any food at all. Trip to the vet: tests, change foods, anti nausea drug.  Food change didn't work. Soon she couldn't hold down water. Another trip to the vet. More tests. No discernable cause. After 10 days of no food, and little water (with several vet trips for IVs) our friend was clearly fading away. She didn't move all day. She didn't respond to our pats, our voices, even squirrel noises. I cried a LOT. She grew very weak. WSH got some Pedialyte and fed her with that through a medicine dropper. She became more alert but still wouldn't eat. Bless his heart WSH cooked up several meals for her (they tasted good to me) and she wouldn't even try. She had lost over 10% of her body weight.

We talked about the first meal she ate here. The Pork Loin. He went and bought a roast and braised it. She started showing signs of interest as the braising smell warmed up the house. We thought well even if she eats a little it may be her last meal and a full circle. We cut some pork into tiny pieces and warmed some noodles we had in the fridge. It was a small amount of food, about 1/4 cup at most. Jim left the room and I sat down with her to coax her to eat. Miracle of miracles, she slowly ate the whole thing. Then we waited.....

It stayed down!  Next morning she had the same thing for breakfast! And now after several meals, you wouldn't believe how sick she was if you hadn't seen it yourself. You can still feel her ribs and see that she is still weak, but heck she's 94 in people years.

I guess the moral of this story is that no matter how little reason for hope there appears to be, as long as there is life, there IS hope. As long as there is love, there is hope. As long as there is God, forever, there is hope. We appreciate more than ever the gifts of love this dog has given us and now cherish every single day she remains in our lives. She's sleeping comfortably with a full belly..content and dreaming of squirrels.

Dog meets pig
Until next time....


  1. After 10 days of a progressing illness on Monday night Bullet turned seriously ill. She couldn’t hold any food or water and was weakening by the hour. Tuesday morning at 5:30 am my old Friend woke me as light was beginning to break. Her eyes were of panic and labored breaths brought back memories of many decades ago as I sat next to a friend in his final hours of life. In what seemed to be final demand Bullet directed me with authority to take her outside. There we sat for several hours with intermitted attempts to force water on her we watched the sun rise, listening to God’s creatures awake and sniffing the hot summer morning for what I thought would be her last time.

    After a day in the hospital without any definitive reason for her illness but fully hydrated we brought Bullet home to be cared for until her final breath. Three things seemed important to me keep her comfortable as possible, not let her die of dehydration, and I would not allow her to be killed. Bullet appears to be on the path of recovery but like me and WSW she will die one day. I am just very grateful to God it wasn’t this week and I pray it will not be next but most I am eternally grateful to see God’s miracle in my life one more time.

  2. Cute pig!:)

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