|The noble Newfoundland|
I had a collie, Tippi, who saw me through the teen years and into young married life. There was one memorable evening when I was home alone with the dog, and two shady characters stopped at our rural house and wanted to use the phone....until Tippi literally tore through the screen door at them. They left in haste. Good dog, good dog.
Currently, we share our home with two dogs, Guinness and Finnegan (both named after Irish beers). Finn is an Australian cattle dog mix, a shelter dog, and has a clownlike personality, if a little nervous. Guinness is definitely the alpha dog, a lumbering Newfoundland with a ferocious, chest-shaking bark, and the sweetest eyes in all of dogdom. He also has terrible arthritis.
It is time to put Guinness down.
Guinness, an anniversary gift from my husband, came to us at a time of great upheaval in our family, . Eldest Son was going through a terrible time, and eventually had to be removed from our home and live elsewhere. It was horrible for all of us....and having a puppy to chase and play with, laugh at and wander with, was such a tremendous blessing. That dog saved our minds during those awful months, gave us a positive focus and a joyful presence in a home that was hurting very, very deeply.
I have faced so much grief in the past few months that the very idea of putting Guinness down instantly reduces me to tears. I'm sort of sticking my head in the sand on this one...but my kids - my brave, wonderful, oh-my-gosh-when-did-they-get-so-mature kids are stepping up. Tallest Son, Curly-haired Daughter and Youngest Son have decided they will take Guinness on his final car ride (he loves car rides). They will be the ones to pat him the last few times as he falls asleep, finally in a place with no pain. They will take the lead - Guinness' lead for one last walk, the lead of the family for a hard and horrid decision.
It is noble to share the love of a good dog. It is nobler still to be the one stroking the gentle head of that good dog as he slumbers one last time. Thank you, kids, for being the noble ones in this dog's life.