Yesterday was a painful day for me, Mike and Sassy. I know Sassy’s physical pain far outweighed the anguish we felt, though. She was diagnosed with canine glaucoma, a very painful condition that could result in blindness.

When I got out of the shower Saturday morning I noticed Sassy had vomited some watery, foamy stuff, and a few minutes later, she curled up in a tight little ball in the upstairs hallway.

I knew something was wrong because she usually paces back and forth during that time of day. I went over to her and saw she was trembling and didn’t seem to be able to open her eyes. I called Mike and asked him to come home immediately from the gym, I called the vet but they were closed, so I called the emergency vet and was told to bring her right away.

Waiting and waiting and waiting, just trying to comfort her.

We were there within minutes, but we had to wait three hours to be called. During this time, she was really struggling and appeared to be in a lot of pain. Mike took her outside to see if she had to pee, and she bumped into things outside — she seemed to be blind. I sprawled out on the floor of the waiting room with her on my lap in an attempt to soothe my baby.

Finally they brought her into the back. We couldn’t be in the exam room with her; we were told to leave and come back in 90 minutes. We headed to a pub for lunch but it was hard to eat when all I could really do was cry. What would life be like as a blind dog? How could we prevent her from getting hurt? Then again, there are some cool blind people, like Stevie Wonder, right? I thought the cause was something neurological, like a stroke or seizure.

When we returned, the vet brought us into an exam room and told us she has canine glaucoma in her left eye, characterized by a great deal of pressure caused by  fluid buildup. It’s much more serious and painful for dogs than humans (and I read that humans rate the pain level as 12 on a scale of 1-10) but the good news is she’s not blind right now. The vet said Sassy was in a lot of pain and was keeping her eyes closed or squinty to help ease it, so that was a relief.

More waiting.

Canine glaucoma can come on suddenly, and it’s always an emergency. The vet said she believes she has secondary glaucoma, which means it’s probably caused by something more serious, like cancer. It does cause blindness in dogs, but we got her medical attention quickly, so it looks like that was mitigated or delayed.

We were sent home because the vet wanted to stabilize her before she was discharged. I trudged up the stairs and I fell asleep on the bed and awoke a few hours later when my cell phone rang around 8 p.m. The pressure in her eye was finally down to normal levels, and it was time to pick her up!

We were given three different types of eye drops as well as three oral medications (not to mention a bill of $611, but I feared it would be much worse, so I was happy to pay this). One of the meds is a painkiller, which knocked her out. It was good to see her resting and feeling some relief.

Today the bloodshot squinty eye condition came back. She seemed to be in pain even an hour after getting her pain meds, so it was difficult to see this. She was pawing her eye and rubbing her face on the bed — poor puppy. We’re going to make an appointment with her regular vet tomorrow, because this is a lifelong condition and it’s likely that the right eye will also experience glaucoma. And we need to pinpoint the cause of this. Cancer? Something else?

Her eye this afternoon — a setback?

She’s now on three meds for dementia, three oral meds for glaucoma, and three eyedrops for glaucoma.

I’m so glad I work from home because she can’t really be left alone now.

She’s my interspecies life partner and I’ll do everything I can for her.

Has anyone else experienced this?



“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” – Cheryl Strayed

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot recently. To me, the act of putting yourself in the way of beauty means to actively choose people, things and experiences that lift you up, that bring goodness and happiness to your life, and to avoid the people, things and experiences that do not. It makes more sense to focus my thoughts and actions on what I love and what I want out of life, not only for myself but for others, than it does to dwell on things and people that upset me and make me feel bad.

The recent awful events in the world seem to have brought out so much fear and anger and has created such a divide, particularly on social media. While I applaud people who try to argue their positions, at the same time it seems pointless. This is especially true when debating with someone who’s shared thoughts that are xenophobic, racist, uninformed or all of the above. These beliefs are deeply ingrained and aren’t likely to change.

Instead, I simply put distance there and avoid or ignore them. I unfollow or unfriend the people on social media who support xenophobic, racist and uninformed points of view. Why waste the energy on anger? There’s so much ugliness in these views, so much negativity, hatred and cruelty. At most, I feel bad for them that they’ve let hate poison them.

If you don’t like something you read, if something irritates you, you can just try recognizing that we all have opinions and we don’t have to agree, and simply move along and don’t let it bother you. You can’t change other people and you can’t make demands as to what they do or don’t share, but you can call upon your emotional intelligence and choose how you react to it.

Putting yourself in the way of beauty also means, to me, that you can direct light toward others by showing kindness and understanding and just being a compassionate, ethical, empathetic person, not because of some ultimate reward, but because it’s simply the right thing to do. It also means viewing the world around you with gratitude, and believing it’s a place where amazing things can — and do — happen.

Put yourself in the way of beauty. What does this mean to you? I’d love to hear it.

This holiday season, my family and I will be making donations to the International Rescue Committee’s educational programs for girls in conflict zones. More information. The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian organization that delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster. To donate to the IRC in support of their other efforts in assisting refugees, click here. My niece Christina, one of my favorite people on earth, worked with the IRC in San Diego and she’s now serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa. If that’s not beautiful, I don’t know what is.