Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When is it Time?




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.

Take Care,

Mike

8 comments:

  1. I put down my cat a few years ago now. I knew it was time and did not let it go for long. I only knew because I had watched my Brother-in-law hold on to Dogga, a red heeler, for much longer than was fair to her.
    My cat was never very nice to anyone else and I bawled, I am crying just writing this, and remembered all the things. She was the first living thing to hear I was pregnant with my first child. She was next to me while I told my father I could no longer have him in my life. She came with me as I embarked on single parenting. She saw me become a mum, grow up, marry. She was the last connection I had to a time before. I still miss her but that last look you speak of, she gave me it. That last heartbreaking sigh, it was one of the most peaceful and painful sounds I have ever heard. We are forever changed by the pets we have loved.
    You are right though, it is time for living. Beyond that there is a lost soul that needs you, not just anyone but you, to help them on the path to the best life they can have. xo

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    1. Somewhere, Bitsy, my next foster is waiting for me to get off my ass and do something.

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  2. Okay, I was strong until now. You got me. When it was time to put my old cat down, well, I can't even say. Something's in my eye, gotta go.

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    1. It's an epidemic of eye somethings, Scoakat.

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  3. Ah, so that’s the penance you’ve chosen, find a puppy to make it up to, for perceived injustices against Sam. I don’t agree injustices were committed, or that it’s possible to make a clear judgment, even in retrospect.

    But either way the puppy is a cool idea, as your pack chateau has the capacity, and pack leader has the desire for ears to fill that outstretched hand.

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    1. Saving a life is a good idea for any reason, Bruce.

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  4. Sure, but while the reason makes no difference to the saved, if it does to the savior, it can affect the relationship between them.

    But you know what you're doing, good show old chap, carry on.

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