It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

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sneaky ninja
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It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by sneaky ninja » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:32 pm

It’s a weird feeling, knowing your best friend is about to die. As I sit on the bus toward home, my mind doesn’t fill up with all the happy memories we’ve shared together. No images of chasing the geese, or cuddling on the couch, or tummy rubs that would seemingly never end. I will learn that those come afterward. Instead, gazing out the window as we pass through the city, the somber occasion gives rise to other matters on which to reflect. Relationships - how they failed and why, where they’re going and how, cherishing the love I share now; life - what brought me to this point in time, if it’s somewhere I really want to be, and if not, where exactly *do* I want to be; happiness - am I just going through a phase, or have I really fallen this far? I don’t hear the people around me. The bus may be crowded and stuffy, but I don’t notice it. Finally, I begin to ponder the morality of the situation.

Tobi has been a better friend than most. Most humans don’t understand true unconditional love. There are few honours in life as grand as being held in the highest esteem by someone who loves you as much as your dog does. Whether I left the room and came back four minutes later, or went to university and returned four months later, she was always happy to see me again. The returns from school were my favourite. Not to take the love of a dog for granted, Tobi always shook with excitement when I walked in the door, and whined excitedly as she buried her head in my stomach. She’d go the whole semester with very little idea that I wasn’t even there, and then within moments of seeing me she’d practically grovel as if saying “Oh God, why did you ever leave me?!?”

I don’t thank the bus driver as usual as I get off the bus and head toward the SkyTrain. I don’t excuse people as they bump into me on their rush somewhere. I can see the sun bathing the shops and offices that I’m more accustomed to seeing in a low, grey light, but even the brightness of a warm June day doesn’t seem to make it past the cloud I’ve got resting on my head. As the escalator slowly rises, I can hear my train arrive, and know what little time I have. I debate whether or not it’s worth it to jump the last few stairs and make a dash for it, or wait another twelve minutes for the next train. I don’t feel like rushing anywhere, but old instinct takes over, and I dash into the nearest car before the doors shut swiftly behind me. The guy behind me doesn’t make it. I sigh once again, for probably the fiftieth time since I walked out my front door. Why am I rushing this?

Dogs get older. Everyone does. Tobi slowly lost her sight, then her hearing, and then began to develop arthritis. Dad loved to take her for long walks, pushing her to her geriatric limits, convinced he was doing something good for her. I never understood the logic behind what seemed to me to be deliberate torture of the ailing, but Tobi never complained. The truth is, she probably loved it. Tobi understood the meaning, she understood the very essence of the adage chiding us to stop and smell the roses. Nothing under that snout went undetected. When the days comes that I can see her again, I will have to remember to ask her, what exactly did she hope she’d find when she insisted on sniffing every puddle of pee she passed. Yes, Tobi, another a dog was here. Do you plan on knocking on every door in Cloverdale until you find him? It’s just pee, let’s move on. For reasons I will never understand in this life, she relished every second of pee-sniffing. To Tobi, each moment she spent outside was the greatest moment of her life.

I disembark the train and wonder if euthanisation is the right thing. Although her arthritis has rendered her immobile, she can’t consent. She’s lost nearly half her weight over a matter of a couple weeks. She can no longer climb stairs, or go for walks, and sometimes, out of nowhere, she begins to cry in what sounds like considerable pain. Yet, when I walk in the door she’s happy to see me. She acknowledges me with her eyes and her tail twitches just slightly. She’s with my parents and we expect my brother and his fiancee momentarily. She has a reason to live. Her frail body is stretched out across her doggy bed and I bend down to nuzzle her. Mum tells me to be careful, last time she touched her she cried out. I gently lay my hand on her soft, floppy ear and tell her what a beautiful girl she is and that she’s such a good puppy. I lean in close and she kisses me on the cheek. I bury my face in her neck and tenderly wrap my arm around her, just fur and bones. I keep telling her what a good girl she is, how beautiful she is. I feed her lots of treats and ask my dad if we can give her a steak for dinner. He snorts. I make a point that even inmates on death row get a nice meal before they die.

I see now that Tobi really is in pain. She’s unable to wag her tail, and no amount of excited baby talk is getting her to move it even a little bit. I thought that as long as she had her family around her, she wouldn’t notice she was in pain. And I still believe that’s accurate. I believe Tobi loved us so much that no amount of arthritis or foot fungus or whatever other weird ailments she had that the vet didn’t diagnose would stop her from greeting us warmly. But in her final hours I realize that by making this decision for her, we are doing the right thing. We cannot prolong her suffering for our own selfishness. She loved us beyond the scope of human love. This mercy is what we owe her for her loyalty. A dignified death beside those she loved the most. She can’t consent, but I can’t imagine her wanting it any other way.

In a few hours, she will be writhing on a metal table draped in a blanket. We will softly stroke her and murmur close to her ears, hoping she may be able to hear us. We will do everything we can to make her comfortable and relaxed. She will be calm until my mum and my future sister-in-law leaves, and then she will panic. My brother and I will attempt to soothe her and when she understands that we aren’t going anywhere, the vet will prepare the injection and slowly, as we lovingly pet her, her pain will fade away and she will sleep. The vet will check for a heartbeat and tell us it’s over. I will bury my face in her neck and feel her soft fur against my cheeks one last time. My brother, red in the face, but maintaining his best act of stoicism, will offer me a Dairy Queen napkin procured from his pocket, for me to wipe away the streams of mascara that will be flowing down my face. I’ll sob and want to hug my brother, but I will only be able to care for myself. He will pat me on the shoulder and we will leave our best friend behind, and she will finally be at peace.

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Rorschach
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Re: It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by Rorschach » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:26 pm

I'm not going to waste this with a response as such, but that was beautiful. And made me sniffly.
To Let

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Deacon
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Re: It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by Deacon » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:16 pm

I've been there and hope I never have to be again. Even firm understanding that it's the right thing to do offers only the weakest of comforts.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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sneaky ninja
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Re: It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by sneaky ninja » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:14 am

Thanks, guys. It was only on Sunday, and I still feel shitty over it. I fucking MISS her. We didn't live in the same house anymore, but it kills me to know that next time I visit my parents....she won't be there.

...Yeah, excuse me while I go cry somewhere.

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FirebirdNC
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Re: It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by FirebirdNC » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:44 am

*Hands Sneaky a tissue* Nothing will make it suck less, I'm sorry for your your loss :( *HUG*
~Insert clever bon mot here~

tnitnetny
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Re: It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by tnitnetny » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:11 pm

People that don't think a pet is a member of the family don't understand the deep love, affection, and joy they bring into our lives. All of the pain you feel when they are gone and the emptiness that you feel is worth every moment of the joy they brought into your life.

As you wrote, it will take time and you don't feel it now, but one day you will smile and remember and be glad she was a part off your life.

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sneaky ninja
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Re: It's not very good, but I wrote this for my dog

Post by sneaky ninja » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:37 pm

Thanks, guys, I appreciate your condolences. I ocassionally find myself smiling throughout the day or chuckling over stuff she used to do. I'm gonna be just fine :)

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