August 20, 2007

The Final Goodbye

The last chunk of time has been rough. It has been hard for a whole host of reasons, but this evening the toughest was because I had to say goodbye to my pal.

Tomorrow morning he has an appointment with the vet. The family has agonized over this. We have spent a ton of time trying to make sure that we make the right decision. Every discussion with the vet has made it implicitly clear that there are no heroic measures to be taken.

That is not to say that there are not things that could be done, there are. At best they might extend his life by a few months, but they wouldn't add to the quality of his life and that is the crux of this matter. He is more than 14 years old and the body won't give of itself anymore.

So for the past few days I have spent as much time with him as I could. He can't chase me anymore. He used to love to fetch a ball. I could throw it a country mile and he'd go get it and bring it back to me. He has trouble doing the basic stuff now. I look at that majestic head and I can see the young puppy staring back at me. Dark soulful eyes look at you and you just know that he is waiting for a treat.

I feel guilty that I know what is going to happen. I feel like part of me is betraying him, but at the same time I don't feel right watching him struggle to get through the day. His breathing is labored and there are times where I swear it looks like he is already gone.

Yet there are moments where he fools me. There are moments in which he moves freely and issues that deep bark that always served notice of his presence. It is almost like he is hoping that this will be enough to gain clemency from the governor and gain a reprieve. If it made sense I would grant it. If I could turn back time I'd make him young again and we'd get more time together.

Fourteen years ago I was a single man and he was the one I'd share all my stories with. We'd take long walks at the park and wander the beach together. He has witnessed some of the biggest moments of my life. And all he has ever asked of me is a little food and companionship. It has been a good deal for both of us.

Tonight the children gave him an extra big hug goodbye and so did I. I bent down and rubbed his belly. I leaned over and made a point to smell him so that I would remember his scent.

I am going to miss my friend.

26 comments:

Alison said...

I'm sorry.

Mark said...

Jack - I went through this the April before last.

Everytime I second-guess my decision I am reminded of the difficulty Bart was encountering on an hourly basis and the rightness of my decision to let him go with love and dignity in a painless manner is reaffirmed.

Saying goodbye is hard but I'll tell you what my good friend Helen told me at the time: Sing to him.

Everyone should go out with a song in their heart.

PJ said...

My heart goes out to you. Letting a beloved pet go is an excruciatingly difficult decision, but when his quality of life cannot be improved with treatment, it is also a very unselfish decision. Hugs to you and your family.

orieyenta said...

Oh Jack, I'm so sorry.

Janet said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog...

hugs to you...

Michael said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your dog.
I felt that way when our first cat went, and when our cockatiel died. We really do grow attached to our pets, don't we?

How are your kids handling it?

Tamara said...

....wiping tears before my students enter the room.

Sending you some strength.

Miss Worldwide said...

"He has witnessed some of the biggest moments of my life. And all he has ever asked of me is a little food and companionship."

This is so beautiful. I'm wiping tears too. Dogs are so pure and innocent, that's why it's so hard to see them go.

Pam said...

You and your family are in my thoughts.

Richmond said...

Oh Jack - that's so sad. I am so sorry for your loss. You are doing the right thing, but that doesn't make it any easier. :(

The Wench said...

I'm sorry about your dog. I lost my dog a couple of months ago. It was like losing a family member. I still miss her but I'm happy knowing she is no longer suffering.

Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

One of the first things I did with my DH when I started dating him was to go with him to put down his dog (It wasn't a date, obviously, he just needed someone to go with him). He wrote a poem afterwards. It was a very bad poem, but hey, that's not the point. He still sometimes takes the poem out and reads it to himself and he has a picture of the dog on our wall. BTW, we've been married almost 13 years.

Linda said...

Jack - This is a hard one. I know. We went through the same decision process in Oct. '05. In retrospect, I wish we had done it a day or two sooner when he still had a lot more in him. It was rough. Very rough. Give yourself the time to grieve and know that he will be waiting for you at the rainbow bridge.

Alice said...

Giant hugs from the Jonssons.

Jack's Shack said...

Alison,

Thank you.

Mark,

Love and dignity are important.

PJ,

Thank you. Quality of life is so very important.

Orieyenta,

Life has its moments.

Janet,

Thank you.

Michael,

I need to blog about the kids.

Tamara,

Appreciated.

MW,

Well said.

Hi Pam,

Thank you.

Richmond,

It helps a little bit.

Hi Wench,

They are part of the family, aren't they.

KRG,

Some memories are part of us forever.

Linda,

I look forward to that day.

Alice,

Much thanks from the Benimbles.

susanne said...

I didn't even know your dog, and here I am with tears in the corners of my eyes because of him. I'm sorry, darlin'. He looks like he was a good dog.

DD2 said...

I'm so sorry for you also Jack.
I went through the same thing myself, so i know the hurt.
There is no way to stop the hurt.
It's a sad, sad thing . Don't even thing of second guessing.
Only time can heal.
Hang in there

Jack's Shack said...

Susanne,

He was a great dog.

DD2,

Thank you.

Dick said...

Damn...
I'm so sorry.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi Dick,

Thanks.

FlutePrayer said...

I weep with you. I'm sorry it hurts.

Jack's Shack said...

FP,

Thank you.

ablondeblogger said...

Oh, Jack, I am crying reading this. Everything you wrote is exactly how I felt. I am so, so sorry. God Bless your family and your sweet, sweet dog. I pray you find peace and healing. ((((HUGS))))

Jack's Shack said...

Thank you.

Pamela said...

here from "a blonde.."

Everyone who loved their pet and lost can empathize to a certain degree. We just can't know your exact depth of pain.

Someone told me something that helped me clarify my choice: A dog does not understand death...but does understand pain.

I'm delighted that your dog had you and a wonderful life.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi Pamela,

Thank you for your kind words.