Bearnaise Sauce Dogs, Psalms, Rheumatoid Arthritis

To You I Lift Up My Eyes

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the
heavens!

Molly lies on the rug, blissful, as Pure Luck rubs her ear. No one else knows how to rub her quite this way, to make her forget the sore shoulder, the arthritic hip.

As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until he has mercy upon
us.

When he stops for a moment, she puts up her paw to insist on more. "Pet me, pet me," she seems to say, poking him gently.

Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough
of contempt.

Molly is going on 7. Bernese Mountain Dogs have an average life span of 7 or 7-and-a-half, depending on who you believe. Full of zest, her spirit continues to be more sound than her joints.

Today she does not want to put any weight on her left front paw; her shoulder injury of September, 2007, must be worse again. We'll see the vet this afternoon.

I've written before (and so has Molly) about people who breed dogs without thought, of puppy mills and sad stories, but really, this could happen to any Bernese Mountain Dog, some combination of the genetic misfortune of hip and elbow dysplasia, leading to a bad hip and two bad elbows, then an added injury. As Pure Luck says, this goes on only as long as the other leg holds up, and I know he's telling the truth. I cannot carry a 90 pound dog in and out of the house.

Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the
contempt of the proud.

I never knew you could love a dog this way, until Molly came into my life. She's not a typical dog. Sam looks at us as his pack, his alpha and his sort-of-alpha, but Molly embraces the world. She's like me, only more like the me I want to be than the me I have been. Shoulder hurts? She doesn't lie on the couch depressed; she seeks a workaround.

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the
heavens!

What do you pray for when you pray for a dog? The wisdom to know what to do and when to do it, I suppose.

Maybe this will be as simple as keeping her off the couch and using a ramp at the front door as well as the back, to give the shoulder a chance to heal up again. But it brings the eventual end into sharp focus, and of course my own illness, too, the prospect of physical disability that does not match one's emotional enthusiasm or intellectual desire for a full life.

As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until he has mercy upon
us.

(Psalm 123 is one of the readings for Proper 28.)

20 thoughts on “To You I Lift Up My Eyes”

  1. Stairs are hard, but makeshift slings can probably help with stairs while she’s healing. I know they help with hind legs – perhaps the front, too? Worth asking. I hope Molly feels better soon.

  2. Beatrice and I are so sad that Molly is hurting today. Prayers that the vet can help relieve the pain.

  3. So hard, so hard. Yes, who knew you could love a dog that way? Not me, until it happened. It’s worked for us to slip a towel under our dog’s belly and using it as a sling to help her up and down the stairs despite her arthritic hips, so yes, maybe a makeshift sling in front will help.

  4. Love and prayers… and yes, nobody knows what it is to love a dog that fiercely until it happens to them.

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