Thursday, August 7, 2014

Goodbye, my friends

   This post is hard.

   It is hard to find a title for it. It's hard just bringing myself to write it. And to simply be in the position to write it is the hardest of them all.

    Puppy and Blue are dogs I have known over half my life.
    Blue came into the family when I was 10. My brother's dog, I would often ask him if I could babysit her. (For payment of course. I was a wise business woman, making ten cents for playing with her in the backyard.)
   Just about half a year later, I got Puppy. I'll never forget the day. My mom and I wandered into the SPCA thrift store just to look. In the back they had the dogs, and of course I had to look. All over dogs were jumping and barking, and in one kennel there was a puppy. Just a small puppy with a cone on her head, laying and staring at a family that was trying to coax her over to them, showing no interest in being their pet. She had recently been fixed, and handled the surgery pretty badly. She had no energy, no will to eat, and probably wouldn't make it.
    We learned that after the family had given up on her, and I approached the kennel door. She got up on her feet and came over, tail wagging a mile a minute.When I asked if I could adopt her, the SPCA worker didn't hesitate a moment before telling me yes, I could take her home that day.

   So we did. And Puppy became my very first friend in Nevada. My very first, and very best.
And after Blue, I think I was her best friend too.


     But like I said. I've known them over half my life. The fresh memories of bringing them home are 14 years old, and the puppies turned into large, graying dogs. Games of fetch became impossible with their failing eyesight and hearing. Their energetic dancing slowly faded away, and was replaced by weak legs that at times failed to lift them off the floor.

    So after weeks of watching them take turns falling, having days where they couldn't get up for hours at a time, and becoming too weak to eat, we had to make a hard decision and say good bye.

With no way to ask them if they were ready, if they were in pain, if they were tired and ready to go, we had to figure out the best thing for them. We had to make the choice to let them go, to spare them agony.

     I couldn't make that decision. As much as I love them, I couldn't bring myself to decide something so permanent. Something I had no way to even communicate to them. It fell to my dad to make the choice. And I knew it was right.


     On Monday morning I sat with them. I gave them hugs and kissed their ears, whispered apologies and "I love you"'s that they couldn't hear, but I hope they could feel. I sat between them and hoped they felt the never ending love until their very last moments. And then I sat with them longer, kissed them both again, and all but collapsed on them in tears when the realization hit me that they would not be getting back up. I sat and cried and stroked them until it began to feel different.

     Until they were carried away, I expected them to get back up.
     Even now, I expect to hear a bark. I expect to see a furry mass wagging a tail at me.
     I even find myself wondering where they are... what's going on with them. The image of them taking their last breaths won't leave me. I am grateful to have it, knowing they went peacefully and laid next to each other. But something about that image makes me feel more helpless than anything I could imagine.
     They were my dogs. And I was supposed to protect them. From the moment the vets began, I felt the strongest desire to stop it. To save them. But I couldn't. In the end the best thing for me to do, was to do nothing, but love them.