A few years back we found a cockapoo (cocker spaniel/poodle mix) that had been dumped by the river near our home. He had been there for some time, was hungry and scared, and so horribly matted and dirty that we couldn’t tell his true color. He was an amazing little dog and I was disgusted with the people who would abandon them as they had.
We named him Willie because, like Willie Nelson, the poor little animal was down on his luck and bankrupt. Within a week I found out why he had been abandoned. One evening as I sat reading, Willie crept to where I was sitting, lay his head on my shoe and looked up at me with very mournful eyes. I had no sooner asked him what was wrong when he went into a major seizure. I was immediately on the floor with him, cradling his head until it was over. I scooped him into my arms and headed for my car. He had a second seizure in the front seat of my car and a third in the exam room of the emergency animal clinic near my home.
Since he had three seizures is a short period of time, Willie was an immediate candidate for phenobarbitol. He did well on the medication, but it did not completely control his seizures. As is common in animals with seizures, he was very disoriented afterwards and would sometimes bite. This did not deter me from holding him during his seizures, keeping him safe, and insuring that he knew he was well loved.
Since I do not have a fenced in back yard, I had to take Willie for walks when he needed to heed the call of nature. Our yard is a little over an acre in size and has a great many trees and other plant life. It hosts a variety of birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other critters, too. One of Willie’s favorite times to “take a walk” was between midnight and 1am. He would come to my side of the bed and slip his nose underneath my palm to lift is up and drop it on the bed.
I love the night. Summer or winter, there is beauty in the night that is evident at no other time. Willie and I would walk through the trees, stop and listen to the night time animals, watch a bat flit about overhead, and stare in amazement at the stars. The night sky in winter is unbelievably clear and brilliant. We often stayed out even after he had done his business, just to enjoy the essence of night. This is the beauty that so many do not experience because they allow fear to stand in their way. I shared this wonderful beauty with Willie almost every night and in many places – at home, in the mountains of NC, on a nearby lake island, and in the nearby woods at the river. We would listen for owls, gaze in open-mouthed amazement at a carpet of glow worms, and wonder about the creatures splashing in the nearby waters. We were small and insignificant – in a setting that was awesome and very special.
I did not have Willie long, and I hope that he is seizure-free and happily chasing butterflies in his new life. I am grateful for every night that he woke me up to walk with him in the middle of the night and enjoy the beauty that lives there.