Three years ago tonight, I knew I had a very sick dog. I knew we’d run out of room to maneuver. Through surgeries, skin infections, ear infections, bad joints, and most of the other expected bulldog maladies, there was always the likelihood of a bit of improved quality of life on the other side of the visit to the vet’s office.
Three years ago, I knew that wasn’t the case any longer. Standing up under his own power required a herculean effort and the pain of it was written across his face. The one short step down to the porch was entirely beyond his power. I could have filled him with pain meds and hung on grimly for a few more days or maybe even a few more weeks, but nothing seems more cruel than forcing a loyal dog to suffer without hope of it gaining him better times ahead.
Instead, I laid awake a lot of the night and listened to the steady rhythm of his snoring. Most good clocks aren’t as well regulated in their timing. We should all be so fortunate to sleep as soundly as a bulldog.
I won’t relive the rest of the story here. After three years, the inevitable “tomorrow” is still raw. Maybe it always will be.
Maybe that’s as it should be. After all, Winston was a very, very good dog and I miss him.
I have lost a lot of good companions in my life – and one is too many. I think the best thing is that you keep referring to him as a very good boy, which means that most memories of Winston are good- not all- but most. As long as you have that gratitude circulating through your arteries of your mind, I think we’re good, Jeff. It’s the only thing you actually get to keep and take with you. Thinking about you, pal. Hope you’re doing well and staying warm.
One of the real perks of time passing is that even the bad memories seem to develop a nice patina… or at least the rough edges get smoothed a bit.