Saying goodbye to a dog as a non-dog person

For 12 years our yellow lab drove me crazy. Did I love him?  Yes.  Was I the one who fed him, walked him and picked up after him?  Yes.  But did he drive me crazy?  Yes – and I drove him crazy, too.  I loved him, and sometimes my heart swelled for him, but the times he had accidents in the houes, shed all over my clothes, would get out of a gate that wasn’t quite latched all the way, and would bark (literally) at shadows drove me crazy sometimes.  But there were times too — especially when I was healing from my illness – I took comfort from him sleeping near me while I rested on the couch.

Today we said goodbye to him.  It was time.  He had arthritis, dementia, incontinence and was basically unhappy (ears down_ all the time and lived only to eat twice per day, which isn’t a great life.  So after discussing it for months, we did it today.  It was incredibly peaceful.  The vet had a room with a couch and a carpet and pleasant lighting.  She spent 10 minutes petting him, then gave him a sedative.  When he was so drowsy his tongue was hiding out of the side of his mouth, she administered the sedative while we petted him and told him he was a good boy.  He died moments later.

That was three hours ago, and even though I am not a big lover of dogs (I like dogs, I just am not a worshipper of them) I feel awful for him and there is a hole here.  In short, it is painful.  I miss him already.  Hopefully he is at peace.

The book I wrote about my experience as a dog owner when I like dogs but am not crazy about all things dogs.  There won’t be a sequel – it’s too painful right now 🙂

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Saying goodbye to a dog as a non-dog person

I think it’s time to put the dog down :(

The dog has been incontinent since Wednesday – without warning he just stands up and goes — and since he does not move at all it is doubtful he got into anything.  After an awful, disgusting incident Sunday morning, we are keeping him outside until we can gt him to the vet after the holiday weekend…  That aside, he rarely seems happy anymore – he hates going outside to go to the bathroom, has his ears down all the time, and really only shows excitement at meal time and occassionally when someone appears.  He hasn’t been able to get up the stairs to lay next to us in the TV room for months (he loved laying next to us in the TV room before his hips go out).  Sometimes, he doesn’t get up when someone is at the door or even wag his tale and left his head when he gets pets.  And Wife M and Daughter L are starting to think of him as less than enjoyable, what with eating his own poop if he is left unattended and incontinence and overall dementia…  I think he is happy 5-10% of the time and pretty miserable over 90% of his waking hours…  In short, I think it is time to strongly think about putting him down…  I’ve never enjoyed owning dogs — they are a lot of work (and I do most of it) and don’t bring me a lot of joy although I love them and consider them part of the family.  I don’t feel badly about this – I can’t help how I feel, and I take care of them (I give them pets, I feed them, I pick up their poop and often am the only one to take them for a walk) and the family more than covers for me in the dog love departmentent.  But I don’t like the slobber and the panting and the mess and the smell.  Luckily, I am not mean to them, and as I said the rest of the family truly adores them, so it is all good.  But that said, it is emotional to think of putting the dog down.  As I said before, he is part of the family.  But is it fair to let him be miserable?  I don’t think so.  And I truly hope that in the decades to come that if/when I am in a state of dementia my family has the courage — and the legal right — to let me go.  

I think it’s time to put the dog down :(

Loved the movie The Big Sick

Wife M and I went to the Annex for a drink then to The Big Sick.  The Annex’s cocktail was awful – I am not sure how a drink can be too bitter and too sweet at the same time, but it was.  Wife M’s drink was too sweet.  Won’t be going back there…  We loved The Big Sick, which turned out to be a true story based on the Pakistani actor from Silicon Valley’s courtship of his girlfriend, where they fall in love, break up then she gets sick.  We loved it – it was a touching, funny and enduring story about lovable characters, and I loved it much in the same way I loved the lovable people in Bend It Like Beckham from 10 years ago.  A fun summer evening that ended at a reasonable hour (9:40pm).  

Note: her illness reminded me of my mom’s illness in 2009, when she had to be intubated and was in ICU for several weeks where we didn’t know if she’d live, and my dad, sister, wife and I spent a lot of wrenching time together where we all really bonded. 

Loved the movie The Big Sick

The Christmases I remember most fondly are not when I was a kid…

My favorite Christmas seasons were in the early years of my marriage to Wife M. When we’d decorate our apartment and go to Christmas parties with friends and watch Xmas specials. The night before Xmas Eve we spent with friends attending The Nutcracker, Xmas Eve was with my family and Xmas at her grandma’s place. We loved those times, and they got even better when the kids were a few years old. But I will always remember those first Christmases with Wife M most fondly.

The Christmases I remember most fondly are not when I was a kid…

Five years ago this morning I had my lung biospy – the most painful moment was saying goodbye to wife M, knowing she’d have to worry…

Five years ago this morning I went in for my lung biopsy.  What I remember most about that experience were the final moments before surgery, which were the most painful for me during the entire experience.  Why?  I was worried about my wife…  

For the previous two hours, I’d been in great hands.  My wife drove me to the hospital, the nurses gave me comfortable pajamas and a robe, and everyone who came to see me was very kind and treated me with dignity. When it was nearly time for the surgery, they had me slip into a rolling bed with warm sheets, which were quite cozy.  The surgeon paid me a final visit to ask how I was doing, and I joked that it was most important that *he* was doing great, since he was the one doing the operation 🙂  Then it was time to wheel me away to the operating room and I had to say goodbye to WIfe M.  Five years later, that is still a painful memory for me…

I smiled and kissed her and reassured her that I would be fine and to take care of herself, but I had to fight very hard to keep my composure and although I was smiling for a split second as she kissed me I was worried I might lose it since I was so worried about her.  I myself was going to be in a fine place, since I knew from previous surgeries that the next five hours would literally evaporate for me and that literally the next thing I knew I would be in recovery with kind and caring nurses attending to me.  In other words, I’d be free from pain and worry.  

But my wife was going to have to spend five excruciating hours wondering how the surgery was going, if I was okay.  I didn’t want her to go through that, I couldn’t imagine having to go through that. Later, that evening, while the nurses were caring for me, my wife would have to go home and cook dinner for the kids and keep the household running.  And all the time — even if the surgery went well, which it did — we still had to worry about the results of the surgery: did I have something fatal?  

Everything turned out about as well as can be hoped, but I’m glad that moment of saying goodbye to my wife is over.

Five years ago this morning I had my lung biospy – the most painful moment was saying goodbye to wife M, knowing she’d have to worry…

Happy that I made the best of Son R’s birthday :)

Son R turned 19 yesterday.  He insisted the past week he didn’t want to celebrate — didn’t want us to buy him dinner and didn’t want a cake.  But Saturday I went and got a collection of 6 cupcakes anyway, deciding that even if he didn’t want to celebrate I’d at least offer cupcakes to whoever wanted one since the day he was born was an important day to me, too 🙂 Then last night after my inquiring and inquiring (not insisting, just asking) if he wasn’t sure that he didn’t want dinner, he requested Thai food take out.  Mother-in-Law J was there too, so I walked down and got take out for Son R, Daughter L and Mother-in-Law J (I don’t like Thai Food so had leftover pizza) and the four of us had dinner and chatted.  Then I brought out the cupcakes just as Wife M returned hom from her night out with the girls (Wife M doesn’t like drama — one of the many things I love about her — so she’d had enough asking R about his birthday so made other plans), and we sang happy birthday and had cupcakes.  (I also got him a card that all of us had signed, with some cash and a gift card inside).  I think it actually turned out to be an awesome birthday evening for him and us. He seemed happy.  It was great. 

Happy that I made the best of Son R’s birthday :)

Am thinking of the year dad got up at 5 AM on Christmas morning to help me on my paper route

Dad loved Christmas morning.  He loved showering his kids with gifts and watching us revel in the thrill of Christmas morning. Mom was a saver (i.e. didn’t like to spend money), so we didn’t always get the most expensive gifts as kids when mom/dad were still a young couple trying to pay a mortgage, but dad definitely got an A for effort… 

Every Christmas, dad would make a big show of having us wait outside the living room while he lit the fire, turned on the tree, got the camera ready and so on, then he’d give us the okay and we’d race in.  He was always just as involved with our opening our presents as we were, sitting nearby, feeling as excited about us opening our gifts as we were getting them.  It was like every gift and every Christmas was like The Old Man in A Christmas Story giving his son the air rifle.  Wife M is that way, too – she loves giving gifts more than getting them (and she loves getting them). 

Even as teens and then adults, dad ensured this still happened by upping the ante – buying us electronics, giving us cash, etc. One year, mom was recuperating from surgery so could not keep an eye on dad during Christmas season – that was the most amazing Christmas we ever had as far as gifts go 🙂  Later, when we had kids, the cycle started over again with his grandkids – when we arrive at the house he does everything he can to make it an awesome experience for all of us 🙂  

But in 7th grade I had a paper route,  Which means before we could start our Christmas morning, I’d have to spend an hour or two delivering 100 papers over a 6-block area.  Dad couldn’t wait that long, and didn’t want my sister (in 4th grade) and I to wait that long, so after hosting his inlaws until 1 AM on Christmas Eve he got up at 5 AM that Christmas morning, pulled my sister and I out of bed, and the three of us piled in his van and delivered the papers together so we could have our CHristmas morning at 7 AM.

What a wonderful memory that is.  I feel love when I think of that memory. 🙂

Am thinking of the year dad got up at 5 AM on Christmas morning to help me on my paper route