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 🙂
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.