Whenever anybody dies, I remind myself of this quote from John Muir: Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseperable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
I lost my constant. My life is a crazy mix of ups and downs; a long strange trip it's been.. In and out of countries and cities and situations, whirlwind of people and lives, and through it all, for over a decade, I had my dog. Everything must change, but he was my steadiness, my stability, my sidekick that was at least as awesome as me. I got him on the day of my last final at LSU. He endured vet school with me. My first real job as a biologist, then as a veterinarian, and then as a mother. Then almost dying, learning to walk and to love again.
We want growing old and dying to be poetic and beautiful, but it's presentation isn't always so. Maybe usually not. He's been getting senile, deaf, lost his training, so much more. Went from my kickass partner-in-crime to a sleepy old man. He got into trouble he couldn't get out of when I wasn't home, got a bag stuck over his head. We found him laterally recumbant and non-responsive, hyperventilating, hyperthermic. I stayed with him all night, and while functionally he came around some cognitively he never did, and I euthanzed him in the morning.
There are sadder things than euthanizing your own dog. That knock you down worse, that stay with you longer. That first moment in...forever, walking into an empty house. Right? I don't know life without him, I wonder if it will spin out of control now.
But as always, as always, let the good of his life influence you and not the death. We will all be dead in a century, he is not special in this way. But he is special in the amazing life he was - I'm not exaggerating! An incredible dog. Examples: Diving in the Caribbean, he'd follow my bubbles; I could look up and see him paddling above me. Once we went snorkeling and chased down a Peregrine falcon. He saved my life from a burglar. Teaching orphans about dog safety and handling. So much more. I put some of them in these previous blogs:
Note to My Dog On His 13th Birthday
Note to My Dog on His 14th Birthday
If you've ever read my stuff about Reb, you know this is my favorite pic of him. There's so many more I'll get up when I'm up to it. Those blog posts have some good ones.