Saying Goodbye

A non-art related post, please bear with me for a moment.

As a long time pet owner I’ve never had to have a pet put to sleep. I’ve lost cats to coyotes, cars, and mysterious disappearance. One even curled up on the front lawn and passed away, a cause other than old age unknown. So, while I’m familiar with pets dying, making a plan and scheduling an appointment seems alien. Thrusting myself fully into that alien feeling we have to take our 17-year old Cocker Spaniel to the vet to be “put to sleep.”

Her decline in the last few months has been sharp and drastic. She’s lost weight, she has trouble getting around, and worst of all she would prefer to sleep than go outside. Up until this weekend she seemed, for the most part, okay.

Until, you know, she didn’t.

Last night I was up until 3am, sitting with her listening to her raspy breath and wheezing.

Ruby was not the sort of dog that wanted to be in your lap. Rather she saw her humans as tools to let her in and out of the house, retrieve treats from the counter, and throw balls. (She lost interest in playing fetch a year ago.) When she wanted a scratch, she’d come to you, nuzzle up to your leg, stare. When she was done, she’d walk away. That was that. She was by all accounts an odd dog.

Perhaps we’ve waited too long. Perhaps we weren’t ready. Maybe she wasn’t ready for us to let her go. Sadly, it’s time. As I say goodbye to this strange fur ball that has lived alongside us for the last 17 years, I like to think of her several years ago, pulling the fur off a tennis ball than of her now, arthritic, and not wanting to go outside.