Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home Again

Home again. My dog is dying. He had an appointment today to be euthanized( his dogsitter felt that he was deteriorating and it was advisable to put him out of his misery), but I could not go through with it. I am not ready, my daughters are not ready. We will spend some days saying good-bye and spoiling him and loving him, and make a decision when we are ready. He looks unwell, but he is happy to see us, and he still eats and sleeps and goes outside and cuddles with us. I am not sure how one decides these things. When is it the right time to ease a dog of his suffering? Pippi is an integral part of our lives. Twelve years is a long time. He has been an extraordinarily easy dog to have. He was eight weeks old when he became Tara's dog. He spent the first several months of his life in my office in a crate under my desk. He accustomed himself to my patients and mostly they enjoyed his presence. I recall vividly his wildly wagging tail when I took the leash out to walk him. He liked walking in the mountains near our house in Salt Lake City and traveled to Baltimore in a huge crate and sad eyes when we moved. He had particularly sad eyes, which became more expressive when I was packing bags for a trip and he knew that he would go to the kennel or the sitter. I was convinced for years that he understood us when we spoke...perhaps he did. He began wandering away from the house these past years; I wondered if he was losing his memory or just going off for an adventure. Sometimes someone in the house would let him out to do his business and would forget him and we would get a phonecall a while later from a neighbour or a stranger that he had showed up at their house and become part of a new family. I could not get too angry at him when I picked him up with his sad eyes. He became more quiet over the years and has had less and less energy these last months. He sleeps most of the day and eats less. I have found myself tearful and incredibly sad today. I am not ready to face life without my dog.

Maya is awfully worried too. I am not sure she understands what is happening with the dog. We rushed home to see him and hold him and play with him, but I don't think he was impressed with our attentions. He just did what he always does and life just continued as it usually does on a Tuesday night. Maya had a contemporary ballet class and I had my weekly ballet class, and then it was home and bath and violin and bed. Pippi sleeps next to the bed in my room. If Maya is sleeping in her room, he lays by her. She is sleeping with me tonight while my husband is researching mildly electric fish in the Amazon jungle. Elmer, our other much younger lab, is sleeping by Pippi and they are both snoring and farting and sighing in their sleep.

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