I’ve been through this before. It’s supposed to get easier (isn’t it?) but it never seems that way. As I write this, in the next room our dog Cid (he doesn’t look like Charlton Heston) may be running down. We’ll know for sure on Friday, but there are signs that his life may be coming toward its end.
He’s a thoroughgoing mutt: a combo of Shepherd, Rottie, and God knows what else. He’s also a shelter dog who was rescued with his mother and siblings from what surely would have been a nasty, brutish, and short life on the streets.
How can you not love this face?–
He was just okay with me until an evening in October 2004 when he and I, through a flare-up of shared anger, suddenly came to understand each other. Better, I discovered the almost limitless power of forgiveness in dogs. I got to meet a dog I never knew, and learned the way dogs approach life as an Eternal Present where there is no yesterday or tomorrow, only the Now.
And in this Now he may be dying. Or worse, we may have to make the decision to let him go. We have lost animals before but it was always a simple choice: cancer, liver or kidney failure, old age. Here it may be more ambiguous. But we resolved that we will not let him hobble through the remains of his days enduring pain to satisfy our need for him. He belongs in a place where he does not hurt.