Mary kept getting up in the night to try to help Latte stand. The dog had slipped under the bed, and couldn’t right herself. Her back legs haven’t worked properly for months now, but the weakness in her shoulders is new. And she no longer has the strength to drag herself upright.
The problem is that she doesn’t want help. When you get up she stops struggling and pretends to be resting. Oh, you’re up? I was just lying here thinking about marmots. Don’t mind me.
The other problem is that her body hurts and if you touch her hips or shoulders, she’ll yelp and snap. No one has been bitten. And no one wants to be bitten. And no one wants to bite.
The end of a 14-year-old dog is a terrible end. But that is true for all of us. Nobody wants to be in pain. Nobody wants to be done.
We had to wrap her head in a towel to move her. We had to wrap her head in a towel to carry her down the stairs outside.
We had to call the vet this morning to make an appointment for her death. The most terrible of terrible things. Let’s meet at 3, shall we, and you can kill my dog while I hold her and sob?
I just did this last year with Kali. I’ll meet you at noon and watch you kill my dog.
I am so sad it doesn’t seem possible that there’s room for anger, but there is. She followed me last night and wouldn’t settle until she was sure I was staying in the room with her. She did the same thing this morning.
I get it. She’s ready, and I get it. Even now she’s more worried about my feelings than her own. It’s time. It’s OK. It’s time. Don’t worry about me. I’m just resting.
People who don’t love dogs think we make this shit up. That we imagine the way they commune with us. Even now in my anger, I am glad that those people are wrong. Nobody will ever love you like a dog loves you. Nobody is as generous as they are. As forgiving. In fact, I think the miraculous thing about them is that it never occurs to them to forgive. They don’t even acknowledge that you have failed them. They love you as though you are always shiny.
She’ll wag her tail at the end. I know she will. She’ll rest against me as though I weren’t complicit in her death. As though there were nothing to forgive.
11 thoughts on “The end is here”
I’m so sorry, Jill. It’s the hardest thing about loving an animal, outliving them. Letting them go with dignity, allowing their suffering to end, and being there with them to make it easier for them, this is the final act of love we can give, in exchange for their lifetime of love. It’s nowhere near enough, but no human has ever loved as perfectly as a dog.
Thank you, Chae. I appreciate your comments so much.
You made me cry at work, Chae!
Dogs are better than people.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Jill. Dogs are people too – it’s not easy to witness the suffering of our loved ones… Many blessings to you.
Thank you, my friend.
I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to Latte. She was obviously an important part of your family and I’m sure she had to know how much she was loved. I have been at the other end of that phone call too many times to count (working for a vet for the past 12 years) and it is always awful and a bit awkward. We understand how heartbreaking it is to make that decision, no matter how necessary it is. I’ve cried over many pets not my own and you have my deepest sympathy.
Thank you for saying that. It helps and I’m grateful.
Jill, Mary and the Kid…
I am so sorry that Latte has had to take that walk across the bridge. I understand and dread the day I have to say good by to my Madison Louise. I so get it, cause she has been with me for 11 years and most of my illness and I love her so much, sometimes I hate to say more than my husband, girls and grandchildren. They never tell your secrets, they are always there to cheer you up, to love you when you need it the most and kiss you even if you didn’t think you needed one.
Bless you all and know that she will be there to greet you when you take that journey. At least I like to believe so.
Thank you so much!
I have been sad about this all week. What is there to say? It’s all true. They do love you as though you are always shiny. How amazing to always be shiny!
I have wept over animals, sobbing so that I surprised myself, and still not loved them as much as you loved these dogs. I feel it. And I’m so very sorry, for all of you, for the loss.
Feel peace, my friend.
Thank you, Shelly. I can’t even say how grateful I am that we have Hazel to boss us all around and keep us honest. Days later, and we’ve all stood at the door waiting for Latte to come back inside before we remember. It’s the worst and also the whole point. They are cornerstones.