Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Dog

Things have been a little busy lately, but the most difficult development in the past two weeks is with my dog. She's a mutt, with some border collie and other unknown breeds in her, but she has been a genuinely sweet dog. She would follow me around everywhere, would thump her tail when I came home, and loved for me to take her on walks in to the local recreation area. But those times are over. No, she isn't dead, but she will be soon. She is almost twelve, you see, and about two weeks ago something happened. A slipped disc, the vet said, and prescribed medication. It seemed to help at first, but after about 4 days she started to go backward. Now she cannot walk at all. The vet says all of the possibilities are bad; a tumor perhaps, or a stroke. It is difficult to tell for sure. The vet tried one more round of medication, on the slim chance that the dog would improve. But, as expected, that has not happened. So on this coming Thursday, my husband and I will take her to the vet's clinic, and it will be time to say goodby.

"To everything there is a season," it says in Ecclesiastes. And it is the season for my dog to die. She has had a good life, mostly, with us. She has been loved and cared for, and she has shown great love to us. And we will do this one last loving thing for her, let her die quietly, easily. To let her go on as she is now would be no favor, even though she is not in pain. But for her not to be able to walk around, to take care of her own needs, to enjoy the outdoors, even to wag her tail at me -- well, that is no life for her at all. And her muscles would atrophy, and she would sooner or later come down with pneumonia. No, that would not be kind, nor loving.

But I will miss her. I will miss her trying to climb in my lap (and she was too big to be a lap dog!), and trying to "herd" me to the kitchen to get her a treat, and putting her head in my lap, and getting so excited when I would pick up her leash, since that meant a walk. I will miss her unconditional acceptance and patience and joy at being with me.

She has been a good dog. May God give this gentle, sweet, loyal creature a good death. She will be mourned by her people, her pack.

It is going to be a long winter without her.