When a very good friend of mine put her GSD down, finally, I took a deep breath and released it. The dog was very far past the point where I would have done something. But this wasn’t my dog. I knew both owner and dog, the owner for over twenty years and the dog for all of his life in that home, yet I was hesitant about speaking my mind on a subject that is far more personal than sex, politics, or religion. When the time comes to kill a pet that you’ve lived with for well over a decade it’s between you and dog.
I feel slightly irresponsible at this very moment. Sam is dead, and that’s bad enough, but the day before he died I spoke with two people on the subject of having him put down. Having asked those two people for an opinion I was given the same answer; it is time. Looking back I realize that it had been time for quite some time. The sense of relief in my home is incredible. I think that everyone was suffering Sam’s madness with him. I think we were all pushed to the point where something had to happen. I think I hung on to who Sam was and ignored who he had become.
Another friend of mine hung onto her dog well past the point of reason and I think that after we buried him she understood the consequences of hanging on. I remember being at the verge of speaking to her about her dog and retreating from it. As I buried the body that Sam once inhabited I remembered that was the last dog I had buried before Sam died. That dog’s name was Frank.
Frank was a Border Collie’s Border Collie. He was everything the breed is supposed to be and he was a lot more than he needed to be. A troubled dog, very much like Sam, Frank made everyone’s life miserable because he wanted to herd something, someone, anyone, anything, and it was a little too much at time. But I loved Frank. Franks was a great animal when he wasn’t being the Border Collie from Hell. I had to go under the house to get Frank and I wonder how many people he would have allowed to drag him out from under that house? Frank never offered to bite me and didn’t resist. His body had failed him and he could not stand, but he knew me, Frank loved me, so he didn’t fight me.
Frank looked at me, he made eye contact with me as the needle slipped into his vein, and I wondered, and I still wonder, what Frank was trying to tell me.
Romeo the cat went down fighting, scratching, biting, and yowling. The orange tabby was at Death’s Door even without the vet’s needle but he was a cat. Romeo was going, if he was going, he was going to go on his own terms, on his feet, and he was going to go fighting, and he did. But just like Frank, Romeo looked up at me and held my gaze, speaking to me without words before he died.
These are my last words on this subject for a while. I’ve extinguished the fire that has burned in me the last few days. I have said everything I need to say. The outpouring of support for me during this time has been an incredible experience. But there comes a time, as we have recently learned, for everything. It is time for me to sit down in front of a keyboard and write again. It’s time to start wondering who is going to fit into the Foster Crate again. If there is a time to die there is a time to live. That time is always, always, always, right now.