The first time my secretary and her sons met Mercy, her four-year-old rushed to his babysitter's house the next day to regale her with the story of “the dog that walks sideways.” For a four-year-old, he does a mean imitation of Mercy’s crazy gait, with her back driver-side leg swinging out, and the little twisting she does at changes of terrain or tempo. I am sure the humor was completely lost on his day care provider.
While to some, her sit-and-spin routine may be the type of tragedy to cry over, for us it has become almost humdrum, not really anything of note except to exhort her to “pull herself back up,” and check the area for any needed applications of triple antibiotic ointment upon return to the trailer. That said, she really is a remarkable creature for her amazing spirit and because of her plucky willingness to keep pulling herself up notwithstanding her crazy back end that sometimes just does not want to mind its manners.
The key to Mercy’s longevity has not been so much anything we can take credit for – we don’t hand-prepare highly specialized diets, we don’t have any magic elixir to help her get around, we don’t place her in a pool for physical therapy. Her “therapies” such as they are, consist of primarily being given run of the trailer and right of first refusal for the couch, the bed, and the kibble dishes; we give her daily vitamins and supplements, pets and pats and massages, farm fresh eggs on the weekends, playmates, and ample opportunities to walk, run, romp and spin.
We could have chosen an easier path. There are plenty of perfectly healthy Danes available for adoption. But Mercy has provided us with a living, breathing celebration and a powerful reminder that, “we’ll make it fine if the weather holds, but if the weather holds, we’ll have missed the point.”