Skip to main content

A dog's life

The noble Newfoundland
I've always considered myself a "dog person", and have had the great joy of sharing my home with dogs my entire life. My childhood dog, Pepper, was a sweet and gentle Border collie mix - a wonderful playmate to grow up with.

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.

Comments

  1. From one pet lover to another, sending hugs, through my tears. Your children are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …