One of the gang is resting now.
|I returned from the Vet's office today without Cujo. He's been suffering with arthritis and hip dysplasia, but I've been wrestling with when to take him. When was the right time? The only way I could get up the courage to go was thinking that maybe there was some way to extend his life comfortably. Maybe he was diabetic and correcting an out of whack blood sugar would help him in his quality of life. Or maybe pain pills, stronger than the last ones, or antiinflammable meds could give him that option I so waned him to have.
He hobbled into the small waiting area with me, panting and having a hard time supporting himself at times on the slippery floor. He'd had his summer haircut a few weeks ago and he looked like a cute blonde teddy bear in the face. I bolstered myself with optimisim as I looked at him. He was still bright and alert and still had a great appetite. It was just that poor old back end of his. And the left front leg pretty much useless except for support where his shoulder bone had been shattered by a bullet when he was only a year old. He still had a steel rod in his leg although it was useless now. He would have been 13 somewhere around November of this year, as best as I can figure.
I talked with the vet and prompted him for some help in deciding the best thing to do for my old boy. Dr. Cooler didn't want to sway me either way, but I told him my judgement was too clouded by emotions to be worth much at that point. He finally told me about two of his labs who had the same problem as my Cu-Cu, and how hard that decision had been for him, too. We discussed the pro's and con's and the outcome that could be expected with or without the medications, and I appreciated the time he spent with me.
I knew I had to continue to be strong to love my "boy" as I always had. He could not stand up on the slippery tile floor in small examining room. More and more, I've had to pick him up off the floor at home or when he was slowly trying to get down the steps from the deck outside. Once the decision was made to let him go, I rubbed his soft head and he looked up with those big brown eyes, so trusting. I kissed him and he looked so calm. Cujo never showed any signs of discomfort the whole time. He slept a deep sleep quickly and I knew his pain was over. The tears that came down were for me. I'd miss that very gentle old soul. I have six others dogs, all getting older and all loved just as much, but as everyone knows, it hurts just as much each time.
I thought about the things people say in truth to you: "He had a good life." "He was well loved." This is so true. I felt bad when I realized that my only boy dog, my Cu-Bear, had been loved more than some people are in their whole life. More esteemed than some children are and who so want to be. Yes, he did have a good life and he gave much back in the way of companionship and devotion. Some people have said to me, "That's why I don't ever want a dog (or a pet). I don't want to go through that pain." But if you insulate yourself from the thorns in life, you will never smell the roses. He was a rose and I'm glad I picked him off that dark country road at 5AM way back in the winter of 1998. Glad that little fluffy, blonde puppy was standing in the dark in front of my truck. Glad he trotted toward it as I got out and risked getting my white nurse's uniform dirty as he wriggled around me.
Cujo gave me good memories. Isn't that what life is so much about? If only we could all give such good memories to each other. All living things are appointed to go the limit as he did. If I can bring a little of the joy to someone else's life as he did to mine, I'll have created some lasting and positive memories.
Yes, my boy did his job. So, I sit here with the tears filling up again, not for him. He has no more memory now. I cry for my own loss. But that will ease up and the memories will drift around my mind here and there, bringing a smile or a tear at the thought of him. Either way, emotions are part of what makes life valuable. Emotions in balance. This piece I am writing now is a farewell for my own healing. Perhaps someone reading this will draw strength, memories, or understanding and a comradshipe with someone they have never met. Shared feelings can do that.