Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A loss you have to experience to understand

I'm a dog lover. There's been a dog in my life for most of my years beginning with a little brown mutt that had so many breeds in him that I couldn't even begin to name them all. One great memory of little Muggsy was the day a neighbor who raised AKC spaniels visited us with words I cannot express here. Seems our little brown Muggsy had discovered the neighbor's prize female while she was in heat. So much for AKC registry. Muggsy was with us for more than 14 years before a long illness sent her to dog heaven.

When I met the young lady who would eventually become my wife, she had a little mongrel, Spooky, which I also grew to love. My future bride came home one night to those sorrowful words from her father explaining that Spooky was no more.

After we were married, we talked frequently about getting a pup of our own, but it was two children later before we took the plunge. The dog, Princess, we got was "defective," and stayed with us only a month or so before we had to put her down because of disease.

Then a line of Golden Retreivers entered out lives. We had the first for 12 years. Toward the end, Lady couldn't even climb the steps to come into the house. We knew the time was approaching that we didn't want. It came one day when she tried to go outside to do her normal business. She fell down the stairs, and while laying there relieved herself. And laid in the urine. I told her she would never again suffer such humiliation. That day, she looked at us and I swear said, "Thank You," as we handed her over to the vet.

Our daughter's only request when she graduated from college was that she be given a puppy, and so she received her first Golden, Misty, which stayed with her for another dozen or more years. Like our family dog, our daughter had to put her beloved Golden down.

As when we put down the family dog years earlier, our daughter knew she did the right thing. There are some who may be critical of ending a dog's life, but watching one suffer and really trying hard to love and be normal is more difficult. There are decisions that are made totally out of love, respect, and wonder. And they are correct decisions.

Why do I start out this blog this way? Simple. The daughter of my dearest friend had to make that decision on this day, except it was for her cat, not a dog. She loved that cat more than life itself as it had been her companion for 17 wonderful years. And although she is in pain tonight, she'll understand that it was her love for her companion that led to the decision she had to make. And she'll understand that sometimes pain is necessary when a correct decision is made. God be with her as she thinks of the wonder of the past 17 years.



Sheepish Annie said...

Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful words. It's been a tough month for us here. But, in the end, I can say that I literally tried everything and that the decision to put my baby to rest was 100% right. It's a sad time, but the memories help. As does the support. ::hugs::

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