Thursday, May 6, 2010

my dogs-part four

I got the name of a woman who did work for a rescue group and called her about a dog. She had a thick german accent and invited me to come see some puppies that would be ready to adopt in a few weeks.

They were Lab/Cocker Spaniel pups (imagine that mating in either direction!) Mimi and I went and when we got to her house and rang the bell there were cats and dogs coming up the steps from the basement and down the steps from the living area of the raised ranch house. Dozens of them...dozens. There were cats in the kitchen sink and one sleeping in the open microwave. She must have had 40 or 50 creatures and in a crate with the Cocker mother--that was the mating, by the way) we found Sadie.

She looked like a Lab puppy til her dying day...and acted like one too! A clown and goof-ball, so happy to see anyone that she would pee when guests arrived. She never met a stranger and the only proof that she was her mother's daughter was some Cocker curly hair on her chest and ears that didn't look quite right.

She was my favorite dog of all of them--so loving and needful. (Bern's favorite is our current dog, Bela, another Puli, who tolerates affection and is a bit aloof. Obviously I like 'needful' and bern likes Independence. Go figure.

She was with us for 11 years, I think though linear time always confounds me. Our kids grew up and went to college and then went away while she was here. She was a constant companion, a wondrous healer, a dear and joyous dog. I would walk her several days a week down at Hillside Cemetery, letting her off lead since she never ventured far. We explored that cemetery hundreds of times. It was her favorite walk.

Once we had someone working in the house while we were gone. When Bern got home, Sadie was gone. A neighbor dropped by to say she thought the animal control people had picked her up for her own good--she was wandering around aimlessly (another characteristic I liked since I am prone to aimless wandering...) and the dog warden probably saved her life. Bern went down to the dog jail and found her in a cage in the dark area. Sadie was so happy she peed. Of course, she was often that happy.

We had lots of cats then, and a rat for a while, and Sadie loved them all. Of course, she loved everything and everyone though she once bit my son's nose when he snuck up on her sleeping and startled her. He never quite forgave her but there is that thing about letting sleeping dogs, well you know it....

A month or so before her death, she fell off the deck onto a concrete cover over an old well. She was getting a bit addled and that addled her more. We were watching TV one night and she had a seizure. I wrapped her in her blanket and Bern drove to the Vet hospital. A kind young vet told us--'we can stop this seizure, but we can't stop what's causing it and it will happen closer and closer now."

Will she suffer, I asked.
The Vet nodded her head, I'm afraid so, she said.
So it might be best....
It would be best, but it is your decision.

Had I loved her less I would have chosen to have her longer, for my needs, not hers. I didn't want her to go even though the damage in her head was severe. Had I loved her less, I would have made her live on...That is the awful thing about dogs, we are like gods to them, we make god-like decisions. And had I loved her less I would have put her through what the vet said couldn't be more than a few months of pain and seizures and late night trips to the hospital to stop one more seizure until the one that killed her.

I held her as they gave her a shot to stop the seizure. She was calm and sweet and licked the tears from our faces. Then they gave her the shot to stop her heart. She didn't flinch at all. The young vet closed her eyes and left us with us for a while. I was sobbing like a child. It is that exquisite, razor sharp pain--a deep, clean wound--that people feel when they lose a dog to the inevitability of eternity.

When her ashes came--I still have the simple wooden box they came in--I took the plastic bag to Hillside cemetery, made a small hole in it and walked the walk to our favorite haunts. I take Bela there sometimes, but avoid the paths I walked only with Sadie and walk still in my heart....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.