Fernando has bone cancer. Dr. Burke says we have at least 2 weeks with him. It’s in his front leg, and the kind that spreads fast. It’s the beginning of February.

Last week Bradley got the all-clear from his oncologist after a year of radiation, chemo and taking all sorts of additional stuff. We’re convinced the “additional stuff”, this amazing herbal formula called Essiac, was magical, so we’re going to give it to Fernando too.

Bradley told me that when he was in the worst part of his cancer, he did a lot of his healing work in the shower, with the water pouring over him. That’s where he’d envision thousands of soldiers entering his body and conquering the cancer cells. We think Fernando feels the
same way, because even though the cancer is devouring his leg, he will limp down to the pond to sit in the water… sometimes for up to an hour. When he gets out he runs like the wind. Only now, on three legs instead of four.

This beautiful being, this dog, this person in a dog suit, this people lover and music lover, “floor manager” at our busy studio… this one who cares and takes it all on…. This one is my friend.

I watch him greet the musicians who come in. Nobody is a stranger to him. And once they’ve been there more than once, well, they are an old friend and there’s always a celebration.

March, April and May roll around. Fernando is slipping. When we have to go out on the road we try not to think how this goodbye could be the last goodbye. We call home and find out he’s hanging on by some miracle, and that he’s still making his way to the water as often as he can.
We have to believe the water, and his incredible will to live, are keeping him with us so much longer than we believed possible.

June comes and finds his courage challenged beyond our imaginations. We are warned that even his weight on that leg can potentially shatter what is left of the bone and we all tiptoe around him, help him up, help him down. But still, he wants to go to the water, and I swear I can see the determination on his sweet face as he limps down the street to get there.

There is no question that water heals, that it can wash away what’s negative and painful and then rejuvenate in amazing ways. There’s no question that water is a precious and irreplaceable blessing, and that water gives us, and Fernando, Time.

July comes. On a clear, hot Texas day, I get a phone call and then get in the car by myself, and drive over to the veterinary clinic. I pick up a package, beautifully wrapped. Then I go and sit by the pond with my friend.

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