Monday, March 26, 2012
Goodbye To You
I remember as a kiddo, looking through catalogs that would arrive in the mail that sold novelty t-shirts. One had "the more I know men, the more I love my dog." You know, I always thought that was a strange thing to say... until I grew up... learned about men... and became a pet owner. I totally "get" it now.
Dogs are our constant companions. They are the only source of unconditional love you'll ever receive. In my home, we have three constant companions -- Lola, my Boston; Moose, Andy's baby Huey and Sadie, Josh's rescue. Tomorrow, I have the grim task of taking Josh's dog to be put down.
I've noticed over the last few weeks that she's been needing to be let outside more and more and that it was taking her longer and longer to evacuate her bladder... which is really sad when it was raining. She was having to be let out 2-3 times a night so I was constantly up all the time for her. It wasn't as bad as having a newborn because it was just up, pee, close the door, back to sleep.... but it was still inconvenient!
Regardless, I took her to the vet where it was discovered that she has many bladder stones. So many, in fact, that she would require surgery. $1200 surgery. And, after spending that chunk of change, they can't guarantee or even give good odds that this condition will not reoccur. We figure she was probably a year old when we got her so that puts her at about 7-8 years old. That seems to be par for the course for dogs in my life. At first discussion, Andy said he would do it. However, with the odds not in her favor, I just can't -- in good conscious -- pay that for an 8 year old dog. Which then, in turn, makes me struggle with how can you put a price tag on their love? I liken this feeling to the June Cleaver version of the Grim Reaper. I look all pretty and smiley but I'm an agent of death. I feel like I'm the one marching down the Green Mile with her and inside, it's killing me. I'm a lover, not a killer.
I think that we as humans learn a great deal when we are also caretakers for our four-legged family members. Josh has learned responsibility, love, affection, devotion, loyalty all through the teachings of a little 22 pound dog we rescued 7 or so years ago from the Forney Road Shelter.
I still remember that day I brought her home. We'd attended the Fort Worth Home and Garden show at the Convention Center. There were all sorts of rescue groups present with adoptable pets. There was one little dog that was the cutest! So, that next day, I decided that I was going to get her. I hopped in the car and headed to the shelter where she was but when I got there I realized just how barky she was... turned around and saw this brown dog curled up in the little plastic bin they'd given her for a bed... her pillow was a towel. I took a knee by the cage and talked to her through the fence. She slowly raised her head as if she realized that someone was actually there to see her. She looked like she'd given up until she realized I was there. It was an instant bond.
I'll be honest, I feel like she knows that she was saved by us... just as she helped us be saved from our grief of losing two other dogs so very close together.
So, when I saw her, I was sold. She was adorable, peaceful and very sweet. I picked Josh up from school and showed him his new dog. We chose to name her Sadie.
Call me crazy, but I like most animals more than people. Their only motivators are food and affection. What a life! And boy does this dog love affection. She shows her happiness, in fact, daily -- via her tail. Having had Boston Terriers for a while now, I'm not used to having a dog with a tail. Sadie has a tail. You will always know that she's glad to see you... because it thumps, thumps, thumps wherever she is. She is such a happy dog. She resembles a fox.... reddish coat, white feet, white tip on her tail...
Although Lola is "my" dog, Sadie follows me everywhere -- even the bathroom and for nothing more than to set her face on my knee to be pet. Lola won't leave her warm spot for affection, but Sadie would -- and does. Sadie, in fact, would be the first to give up a juicy bone to just receive some affection. She is a lover, for sure. She won't offer up kisses to me, but she will nuzzle. She craves love and appreciates anything and everything you will dish out to her.
Her bed of choice? Two big blankets atop a recliner.
She's a stealthy food stealin' ninja dog.
She can clear the kitchen island -- yes, the dog has springs in her butt.
Benji calls her "Izzy."
He pulls her tail and she doesn't bite, snap, growl or even snarl. She's gentle.
She has the biggest, heart-melting, trusting auburn eyes... they're just beautiful... and I'm going to betray them tomorrow.
No matter how hard it is... I know I'm doing the right thing but that doesn't make it easy.
Please lift up an extra prayer for my boys tonight and tomorrow as they process their grief from losing their little lady.