Of all our dogs, Billy was the simplest. He was not "almost human." He was not "my best friend."
In our world, the animal was me.
Once inside, he wriggled in insane delight at being the object of so much attention. I love this practice--they had already spread an old comforter across the floor, complete with a dog treat in three corners. A box of tissues was in the fourth corner. But my wonderful older vet had just recently retired and sold the practice to a new fellow. Kind and gentle though he was, he has not yet learned the magic words.
"You're doing the right thing."
When I expressed alarm at Billy's apparent animation, he told me that the burst of adrenaline an animal experiences at the vet's can supercharge an impaired body. He said, "that makes it hard."But he didn't say what I needed to hear.
"You're doing the right thing."
As the sedation took hold, Billy's head slipped onto my lap and damn if his tongue didn't slip an inch out of his mouth, exactly the way Clutch slept. Oh God, Billy, don't you be making that moronic face too, I smiled to myself. I wish I could tell you I saw it as a sign Clutchie was there to welcome his old friend, but I didn't think that. All I thought, as the up-and-down of Billy's chest slowed and then stopped, was This is Death. I thought, I still am thinking, that Death gouges out a deep black footprint onto the soul. Separate and apart from the heart's loss is the hardness of this act. A being...a big sloppy dog, but a being nevertheless...
I don't need reminders that this act was merciful in light of his suffering. Now, I don't even need to hear that I did the right thing. Because, let's face it, I have already done it. I--we--need to feel the weight of this when we make it happen. Its only right to feel overwhelmed in the presence of Death. Simply, as Grace so often reminds us,to stand and face it.
(((Julie))) fly free BillyReplyDelete
was just listening to "Piece of My Heart" by Janis Joplin live in 1968 here's the link-
thanks, Mo. To think that when she sang that, I never knew anyone or anything that had died.Delete
This is beautifully written and of course you did the right thing (whether you need to hear it or not). Thanks for sharing this deeply personal post.ReplyDelete
Thanks on all counts, Nancy. I am feeling, these days, that it is only the personal that really touches.Or at least touches the people I care about touching.Delete
Dear and BEST Billy......Dear and BEST YouReplyDelete
And your dear little Molly. She is the most confused.Delete
Aw Julie....this is so hard. I went through the same torture at the end of my darling Sunny. Our whole family stood bawling in the vet's office. I told the boys that the level of grief we felt corresponded to the love we had for her and that being sad was the way to pay tribute to a precious friend. Farewell to Friend Billy.ReplyDelete
I also think that besides the hole that the Beloved leaves, there is a wound from being near Death. I am thinking more about that, how to express its power on me.Delete
a wound....very interesting....from being near....Delete
Ditto of what Nancy wrote. Sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thanks--whoever you are!Delete
The only sad part of having these incredible beings in our livesReplyDelete
How is Molls holding up?
She is currently on a Hunger Strike until we take out the kibble from her bowl and give her what Billy was getting.Delete
so sorry to read about your loss Julie; the joy they bring into our lives is equivalent to the sorrows we feel when they go....love to youReplyDelete
That face...sorry that he is gone.ReplyDelete
He was not handsome, that one, (except he had a great body in his day), but he was Himself.Delete