In this carnival called life, there are attractions that allow you to sample the goods for free, and pay as you exit the ride. Such is the defining moment of owning a pet. By owning I do not mean whose name is on the tags, but rather, whose heart is imprinted on the mind of your pet.
Every single dog lover on the planet, over the age of 14 or so, has had to suffer the pangs of that final separation. Says so in the manual-you can’t have one without the other. The more intense the friendship between human and dog, the more intense the separation.
We knew Dozer was past his seven-year shelf life, approaching his tenth birthday, and we knew that he had an enlarged heart. His panting in the middle of the night, his inverted sneezing and his throat-clearing “barks,” as raspy as any fox I have ever heard, were all indications that there was trouble in the attic.
Our vet had been keeping us informed on what to expect for some time now, but honestly, when we ran the Doze down to Willits eight days ago, I was still only thinking that we would up the ante, and hook a brother up with some better drugs, and he would be good to go for another spell.
Why were we running him down to Willits? He had been having some “doody” issues, and when I followed him outside last Wednesday morning, the issues had not abated. Furthermore, as he headed back to the house, he was lurching in a most un-bulldog manner, alarming me that something was not right.
If it’s not right, then it must be wrong, but never could it have been more wrong than what the X-rays presented to us, when we looked at the images of Dozer’s heart and lungs. I’m no vet but it all looked bad and it was. Always big-hearted, Dozer’s heart was now almost double its original size.
Logistics aside, Dozer never returned to his mountain, except for his ashes, which will be placed in an appropriate spot. I say he never returned, but the reality is that he never left. He is in our minds and our hearts and he will never leave.
I’m not going to bore you with tales of woe and grief-not while folks all around us lost not only pets, but everything they owned. Besides, exactly how much empathy should one old fart expect, when the reality is that the dog was old, he was in poor health and he had to be released.
I would not have allowed the old boy to remain alive for my enjoyment even one minute longer, if he were really in distress. Dr. Jacobs could only assure us that he was in distress.
“I can make him ‘comfortable’ for a couple of weeks, but that’s it,” Dr. Jacobs said, but we were having none of it. I was not about to bring my cherished dog home, only to see him suffer side effects from the drugs, while I followed him around, trying not to weep.
[Editor’s note: Ahem.]
Moving along, The thing I am trying to say is that it was worth every iota of pain I am feeling right now. Everything that makes me weepy in this moment, is the stuff that will make me smile for as long as I live. Why it makes me sad now is obvious.
I am paying that price of admission, as I exit the ride but it was worth every nickel, and I will be gladly paying it for a long time to come.
At least as long as it takes for Gluten-Free Mama and I to hook up with Maggie; my guess is that there are hundreds of dogs who were displaced from the fires, looking for a good home.
We have an OK home, right now, but another dog would make it a good one.
Dozer, Bowzer, Boo-Boo, Fat-Chaw, Biggie Fats, Biggie, Fatty, or just plain old Double D for Dozer Dawg. I miss you but I would do it again in a nano-second.