Friday, September 14, 2012

When my dog Lucky died, I disappeared too - Animal Tracks

Among the cruelest truths of biology is this: A dog's life is considerably shorter than a human's life. The math is unforgiving; if you love a dog, you will lose a dog, and you will suffer the pain and biting lessons that death brings probably several times over.


Via Instapundit. A few months ago my beloved lab Biscuit somehow got a hold of some rat poison and almost died. For awhile, it looked like she surely would. I started to go through the realization, fortunately premature, that I was going to lose her. It was pretty awful. People immediately think, yes, but it's not as bad as losing a human loved one, and that's true. But you also come to realize, for better or worse, that you love your dog a lot more than you love all but a few people and losing that dog is going to leave a large dog-shaped hole in your heart. It leaves you facing a bitter truth at the very heart of life, that to love is eventually to endure loss. Perhaps part of the reason we love dogs so much is that they have nothing to say in response to that, and don't need to say anything. --TS

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Ah yes, you will feel that pain several times over. I had one dog when I was a kid that somehow got hold of some poison--I suspect a neighbor threw a "loaded" meatball over the fence. The dog lived for several months thereafter but it was bad.

As I grew up and became the head of a family, it was Dad's job to take the dog to the vet to be put down when the inevitable came. I haven't been lucky enough to have a beloved dog simply expire in its sleep. I think the only thing worse than losing a dog (or maybe a cat, but I've never had cats) is to lose a child. Children and dogs get unconditional love (and at least the dogs return it!).

You do what you have to do, and (following my Oklahoma trained veterinarian's advice) you love them and keep them going as long as they're comfortable and enjoying their food. I think that each of my last four dogs has let me know, in its own way, when "it's time". Those were and are black days in my life. But I've also seen friends and family struggle to keep a desperately sick dog alive to the point where, with the best of intentions, they were effectively torturing the poor critter. I won't do that to a dog.

Posted by: Comanche Voter | Sep 14, 2012 8:35:39 PM

"There's no need now to look about my feet,
Or lift a cautious chair --
But uses of old years my senses cheat,
And still I think him there.

Along the hearth-rug stretched in full content,
Fond of the fire as I --
Ah! there were some things with the old dog went
I had not thought could die."

'In The Mansion Yard' - William Hervey Woods

Posted by: Henry IX | Sep 14, 2012 10:35:11 PM

As happy as those domestic animals make you animal owners, they are a nuisance to the rest of us.

If we didn't already have cats and dogs, they wouldn't nowadays be allowed, on account of their serious zoonoses, crap, urine, noise and, occasional killing of songbirds and adult humans and the eating of little children.

Posted by: Jimbino | Sep 15, 2012 8:09:51 AM

You can guess who:

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie --
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find -- it's your own affair --
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit hat answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept'em, the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long --
So why in -- Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 15, 2012 8:42:36 AM

To each his own Jimbino. I always enjoy my life's portion of crotchety neighbors. Don't think much of woodpeckers eating my trees; songbirds making their nests under my eaves with the droppings on the patio, nor robo calls on the telephone selling this that and the other thing that I don't need.

Couldn't do without crotchety neighbors and cranks however. I do pass on the Hare Krishna's and Lyndon LaRouche discipls--but that's just me.

Posted by: Comanche Voter | Sep 15, 2012 9:57:34 AM