Tuesday, December 7, 2010

30 Days of Truth, Day 6

Day 6 - What is something you hope you never have to do?

There are a lot of things on that list for sure, but there is one that comes to mind immediately, because someone I love had to do it just last week.   It's something I have never done, and something that I hope to manage to avoid for the rest of my life, though I am almost certain of it's inevitability.

I never want to be the one to put an animal down.

It's something that I have thus far managed to avoid.  I've had pets.  I've had pets that died.  I've had pets that were put down.  But I have never had to be the one who takes them on that final walk. 

I knew when it was time to put my childhood dog, Starksy, down.  I'd seen that coming for what seemed like forever.  He was frail and old, and when his hips finally went I knew there wasn't a choice left.  I should have gone with that day, but I didn't.   I couldn't.

Hutch, the cat of my childhood (yes, we had Starsky and Hutch), had to be put down too, thanks to a terrible chain of events.  One that I hope to never have to see again.  I stayed home that day too.

My cat, Holly, passed away in the garage one night.  The evening before, I'd sat out front calling for her, and she hadn't come.  I had a bad feeling about it, one that was confirmed the next morning when my Dad found her, encircled by my brother's dog Bear, on the floor of the garage.   When Dad took her to the vet that morning to drop her off, I sat and held that dog.  We cried together.

Bear, the most gorgeous cinnamon colored mutt you'd ever seen, he had to be put down too.  I was away at school that time and only had to experience it over the phone.  It was bad enough that way.

I cried for hours when my in laws had to put Droopey down.  He was the springer spaniel I gave to Tom on our very first Christmas together.   He had quite possibly the best disposition a dog could ever have.  One day, though, he was old and he was sick.  Then he was gone.    

We've had three cats now that just never came home.  Not knowing what happened to them hurts, and I an never sure how to answer the questions the kids ask.

My parents, brother and sister in law all had to go together to put Samantha down.   I think it took all four of them that day to do it. 

Just last week, my father in law had to take Bo on that final walk.  My mother in law didn't go this time, she's paid her dues.  She's been the one leaving the vet with an empty leash before. 

In our house, we have two dogs.  Two rapidly aging dogs.  One with a blown out knee, the other with chronic arthritis and a mass on his side.  They are both older than their years say they should be.  And I fear that someday soon the time will come where I will know what I have to do.  I know that I will have to do it.  I don't think my husband can. 

I just hope I have the strength for that last walk.

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