Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Hound Joins The Wild Hunt

The wind shakes the house in the darkness, branches lashing the windows. The Wild Hunt is running tonight. And tonight, the Hunt has one more hound in the race.

Gable Godiva
(Gable Dodge - Franks Scootem)
July 28, 1999 - January 24, 2008

Gable Godiva was a retired racing Greyhound. She was really too good on the track to be "petted out." Her last race at Corpus Christie was Grade A, and she won it box-to-wire. Harlyn and Janna Goebel, though, are committed to doing what's right for their dogs, so Godiva was placed in an adoptive home by Heart of Texas Greyhound Adoption.

Family circumstances changed, and they didn't want her any more, saying she was aggressive. Since she was no longer in Texas, I got the referral and found myself with another Greyhound. She turned out to have an extremely strong personality, and with a history of "aggression," I figured it was safest to keep her.

We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return
Like a drop of rain
Flowing to the ocean

In my group of misfits and rejects, she took being an Alpha Bitch to a whole new level. She was my door guarder, sleeping next to the dog door so she could terrorize the other dogs as they came in the house. My three-foot-tall, hundred-plus-pound Scottish Deerhound is still afraid to come in by himself.

I ducked out the dog door once just to fix the rubber mat on the steps. Once out there, of course I got distracted, picking up poop and destroyed dog toys. When I stuck my head through the door to crawl back in, Godiva had forgotten I was outside.

I heard a roar -- not a bark, a roar -- and felt canine teeth on either side of my cheekbones. Fortunately, Godiva was paying attention by then, and realized her error before I needed a plastic surgeon.

Never the spirit was born
The spirit shall cease to be never
Never was time it was not
Ending and beginning are dreams
Birthless and deathless and changeless
Remains the spirit forever
Death has not touched you at all
Death though the house of you seems

When she came in limping on an icy day, I took her to the vet figuring she'd probably slipped and torqued something. Her radiographs were clean, so we thought it was a strained brachial plexus. But a week later it was worse.

New radiographs left no doubt. There was cancer present, and we knew amputation was necessary. Her lungs were still apparently clear, so she came home a tripod to wait until it was safe to start chemotherapy.

On January 24, she had an appointment for her first chemo treatment. But at 1:30 in the morning, she woke me in distress. I gave her a tramadol and stayed with her until the vet's office opened. I carried her to the car, because every time she tried to walk she would cry and fall down.

They radiographed her again. There was a new primary tumor in the distal radius of her only remaining front leg. Her lungs were full of metastases.

Do you know who I am, she said
I'm the one who taps you on the shoulder
When it's your time
Do not be afraid
I promise that she will awake
Tomorrow somewhere
Tomorrow somewhere
(Tori Amos, "The Beekeeper")

The only consolation I have about having to make The Decision is that when life is no longer possible, freeing them from that life is the last gift I can give them. So I held Godiva while she received the injection, saw her last breath, felt her last heartbeat. She is now buried at the pet cemetery with all of my others who have preceded her, dogs, cats, two amazing horses, and where I will eventually be buried.

My tradition sees all souls as the same, whether they choose to inhabit a human or a Greyhound on any given turn of the Wheel. We have all been here before, and we will be here again. Many times, we travel through our many lives in groups. Two of my current dogs have been with me before in other bodies. Others drop in from time to time, often during ritual, just for a visit. And when the wind howls at night, many of them run riot with the Wild Hunt.

So until we meet again . . .

I call the Wild Hunt
By Herne and Hecate
By horn and hound
By wind and storm
And wreck of winter
I call us home
(apologies to Laurell K. Hamilton, "Mistral's Kiss")


Kathy L said...

So beautiful. What an incredible greyt, and you an incredible companion. Your tribute was so touching...I am deeply saddened but I know Diva is running fast through the thick of it.


"gunner" said...

my pit bull bitch just came over for a pat and ear scratch and curled up by my feet as i read of diva's passing, sakura got extra pats and "good girl" for diva's sake.