Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Itty Bitty Etta love

The old and young merge together on the farm, often creating relationships that provide sustenance, or warmth and safety. The dynamic is not unlike what my grandmother's house must have been like in North Dakota. A young one came along needing a mother, and there was no reason that the senior in the house couldn't step in as nursemaid or companion.

Such is the way here at Apifera, with Itty Bitty Etta having taken to the very senior One Eyed Pug. She spends much of her waking hours near him now, searching for a milk spout, only to find rolls of wrinkled skin. Still, it satisfies her, calms her into taking a nap. So well defined are his ancient rolls of skin that her sharp teeth have not bothered him.

Senior animals require diligence and often special care taking. The One Eyed Pug had a lapse last month. We thought we were losing him. X-rays showed parts of his spine are rubbing together, from age. He was miserable, but special pills helped, and even though I was prepared to put him down if necessary, his spirits returned immediately and we could tell he was comfortable again. But this weekend, he had another slight relapse. While the pills provided relief, it appears these relapses are chronic, and there will come a time when the pills won't help.

Many have written comments about Etta, and how that little one pound kitten was meant to come into our lives. I think whether some feline god planned it or not, the experience has been rich for all of us, including Billy, the One Eyed Pug. Just as my humanity to retrieve a kitten from a busy country highway resonated with readers, this old pug's non judgemental heart resonates within me. When I brought Billy home 13+ years ago, he too was only one pound, and fit in my pocket or hand, just like Etta. Perhaps Etta is a gift from the guides of the One Eyed Pug, just to prepare us for his departure.

No matter how many more months he is with us, I find it charming that he can be a nursemaid in this his twilight years. And let it be a lesson to us all. Youth does not trump age in quantities of love it can share. With hearts groomed by years of living, seniors of all species have something to give until they take their last breath- even if it's sitting still and acting like your wrinkles are giving off milk.