Type “Xtreme” into a search engine and you pull up all sorts of things for which there are amped up versions: sports, pizza, auto detailing, etc. What I’m pondering is Xtreme thank yous: when the nature of the gift or the service rendered doesn’t seem to be appropriately or adequately acknowledged by a simple thank you.
From there, my mind wanders to for whom is this Extra or Xtreme thank you intended? Is it for the giver of the gift, the doer of the exceptional service? Or is it for the recipient? A way to somehow even the score, make one feel a little less beholden?
After all, they say it is better to give than to receive.
Last October I suffered a seizure, when, as fate would have it, I was out on a walk with Pettigrew. No cell phone, no ID, just a set of house keys in my pocket.
Pettigrew got me the help I needed. He attracted the attention of the homeowners in front of whose house I fell, allowed them to read the phone numbers off his tags so that my family could be informed, and, by behaving like a perfect gentleman to the dog and family that housed him until someone could pick him up.
Where would I be without Pettigrew? It was hours before I fully regained consciousness. My memories skip from crossing the street with Pettigrew and feeling a bit off, to coming to in the hospital trauma center.
A lot happened in those hours that I was unconscious, including a ride in an ambulance and several CT scans to ensure I hadn’t broken anything in my fall. I was in a hospital gown, on a bed in a room whose walls were made of curtains before I woke up.
Without Pettigrew, I expect I would, eventually, have been found, but there is no denying the role he played in getting me prompt attention.
Then there is the debt of gratitude to the many people who took care of me when I was incapacitated and those who went out of their way to give me rides during the three months that my driving privileges were suspended. Of course I tell them thank you. But is thank you enough?
Since Pettigrew has a weak stomach, I have not been able to shower him with dog treats. Instead, he gets full-body rub downs on demand, and is now the proud owner of two dog beds (one upstairs and one downstairs), a dog coat to keep him warm and dry on our walks, and 16 treads to cover our wooden stairs and give him better traction.
Is there more I could do? Pettigrew takes his newfound abundance in stride. In my heart, I suspect that the biggest gift for him was when he felt confident that I was stable and he could relax the vigil he had maintained, following me from room to room, the first few weeks after I came home from the hospital.
And the others? Those wonderful people who drove me hither and yon? There’s a piece of me that acknowledges that there is no balancing of the help I received.
Hopefully, it’s enough to keep moving forward, living a good life, and being thankful that I have a loving dog and wonderful people in my life.