As a condition of being placed on a lung transplant list, I had to show that I had social support. My wife was my main caregiver, but she would need a break now and then. Fortunately, several friends offered to help with caregiving duties. However, our need for outside help was less than we’d expected as my surgery and recovery period were uncomplicated.
I have friends who live close by and whom I see regularly. I also have friends who live far away. Kevin, who moved to San Antonio about 20 years ago, came into town last weekend. He has been back every year, but this is the first time I could properly talk with him since my medical problems began.
I belong to a group of 11 friends who split seven season tickets for the Cleveland Browns. Kevin was an original member, and when he moved, he passed his tickets to his brother-in-law. He won’t be in town for any of the Browns games, so we decided to attend one of the team’s practice sessions. Though not the same as an actual game, as a fan, I like to watch the practices and see which players are hustling. So Kevin and I, along with two other friends, went to a training session and enjoyed the camaraderie there and afterward.
I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to reconnect with friends. I’ve found that I learn a little more about the person as they grow older, though we live far apart.
While reconnecting with an old friend last weekend, I found a new one. My wife had gone to see “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” The movie is about a dog — we know how those films usually turn out. Later, she was browsing on Facebook when she came across a male black cocker spaniel on the county animal shelter’s page. He looked similar to our cocker spaniel, Lucy, who crossed the rainbow bridge in December 2016 at 14 ½ years old. My wife asked me if I would accompany her to the shelter the next day to look at the dog. I agreed, certain that we would be returning with a dog.
The shelter had called him “Mutton Fudge.” On our way home, we renamed him “Carlo.” He had arrived at the shelter as a lost dog, but when the workers there contacted his owners, they refused to pick him up. We believe that he was mistreated because of his matted hair, rotten teeth, and damage to one eye.
The shelter estimated his age as 8 to 10 years old. We decided to be his family and take care of him in his senior years. We had him groomed yesterday, and he looks much better already. I will be taking him to the vet soon for a full checkup. We now have two dogs in the house, and both of them are rescue animals. They are still getting used to each other, and we’ve seen some social gains each day.
This past weekend, I shared memories with an old friend. I hope that we have many years to create memories with our new canine pal. I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who genuinely care about my well-being. I want Carlo to feel the same about his new family, and I hope that he feels at home in his new surroundings.
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