Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sinking in

I don't think it has "sunk in" yet.

Or maybe it's just starting to. It doesn't quite feel like reality yet. That she's gone. None of it went as planned.

I couldn't be reached this afternoon. I was playing a half-day's hooky from work to be with a close friend who's enduring girl-troubles of the most serious kind. The kind where the girl is a cohabitant and his bed may soon - at short notice - cease being his. He's been taking stock of which friends and family have guest rooms or a decent couch at their disposal. We hit the road in a big way and cruised some dear old familiar landscapes along with one of our favorite lunch venues and one of our favorite old dessert venues too.

Meanwhile Blue, the miracle dog was running out of miracles. She was facing the veterinarian yet again and being diagnosed with cancer.

"There's nothing we can do."

She appeared to be suffering, I'm told. It's her fifteenth year. The decision was a no-brainer.

So it was done without me. A blessing that I didn't have to endure it but a huge bag of guilt and regret too. It's tough to put aside the massive illogical sentimentality that surrounds it all.

"They're like one of the family," everyone says to me. Everyone. As if they've held a secret meeting to strategize my handling.

I'm not sure 'family' is the right word. I don't suspect a dog has any concept of 'family' but sure as hell there's a bond. Sure as hell.

She will not be buried at my parents' farm as was planned either. The ex suddenly objects. For reasons that are bizarre and selfish of course as is all altered reasoning that comes out of that sadly deranged head but I won't fight about it. I relinquished claim of guardianship when we split up five or six years ago. So the decision is not mine. Blue's body will be quietly and anonymously eliminated.

I have pictures, videos and some of her toys and most importantly - memories. That will suffice. I'm not sure a headstone is altogether appropriate for an animal anyway.

Damn. I would have liked one though. And she deserved one if any dog ever did.

You were an exceptional dog, Blue. I'll write stories about you.

I'll miss you always.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Sorry to hear the inevitable end has arrived. Blue was a hell of a great dog. There was a lot of wisdom in her eyes.
I know I've got a lot of fond memories of her too. Most notably her love of water and her refusal to get out of the lake when we were up north. Or the way she parked her back end on the couch with her front legs standing on the floor, holding up her front end. Or the way she would slyly scope out a coffee table covered in food, just hoping like hell that everyone would vacate the room and make her dreams come true. I won't get into the reason she was often dubbed "Iris".
As painful as it is to know she is gone, it must be some comfort to know that she isn't feeling pain and suffering any longer.
It's hard to say if it was better to not be there when it happened or not. On one hand it would have been nice to say goodbye, but on the other hand you can have more positive memories of her the way she was.
When we put Emmet down last year, it was good to be there with him, but unfortunately I will carry that last image of him in my mind. I often wonder if it might have been better if I wasn't there to witness it, remembering better times instead.
I'm sure there will be times when the realization will hit you hard (it still happens to me), but the happy memories will far outweigh the sad times.