6 May 2009

Though I said I may build the engine I’m always subject to changing my mind. Correspondence with the initial engine builder has (with replies still typically 2-3 weeks) finally convinced me to look elsewhere. Per yesterday’s entry, I sent a machine shop (recommended by said engine-builder) a proposal for doing all the machine work… no reply. Either I’m impatient, intolerant, or both, but my feeling is that today’s market is internet-driven as far as I’m concerned. I do most correspondence with e-mail because it leaves a written trail of what’s been said and what’s expected – no surprises.

Anyhow, since they aren’t answering promptly either, things are being cranked up notch, contacting one of the top engine builders in SoCal – no more goofing around. The engine WILL get done, but it may be without the company of my best buddy. Cooper, our dog, is getting old. His back legs are becoming more uncoordinated than usual (due to his injury six years ago.) Researching it on-line, his symptoms best match a nasty and insidious disease called degenerative myelopathy. It’s especially sad because – suddenly – the rest of his life has become crystal clear to me, gradual loss of control of his rear legs. There’s no cure, nothing the vet can give him to magically make it all go away.

It’s life, where as we get older, we’re like ships passing through an iceberg field. At first we can easily avoid them, but as we get older, the icebergs get larger and closer together. Someday we’ll come face-to-face with a big one with the realization that we’ve finally met the one that’s going to sink us – the one with our name on it.  What makes it especially sad is that the rest of Cooper is completely normal and he still acts like a little kid. He still wants to play tug-of-war, even as his rear legs now collapse occasionally. He’s not in pain, in fact if he was it would make it easier to make that terrible decision. It’s not what, but when, but all dog owners sign up for this when we bring them home. They look to us for everything, right up to the very end.

Even though we realize it’ll happen, it’s still very hard. It reminds me of what I read once, about someone who’d just been told he had six months to live. He said that many people say they want to know the future, that some say they want to know the day they’re going to die. Reading what this disease is, I wish I’d never read it. Sometimes, the future can be a dark place. (That said, I guess worst of all is to have a lost pet, never having closure, always wondering if they’re alive, safe, happy, or not…)