I've mentioned the hard times my dog's had lately. (Even harder on me, as I've been relegated to sub-human status, having to sleep in the guest bedroom on the lower level. But I digress. Contrary to my blog, the world isn't all about me).
After two major leg surgeries, Zak's incision started to bleed. Furthermore, he pulled the leg up high and limped.
Once again we carted him off to the emergency vet hospital. Nerves frayed, my wife and I sat in a small room, waiting for a frazzling long time.
Around us, animal pandemonium rose. Cries, squeals, yips, barks, growls, the works.
But the worst--the absolutely, heart-rending worst--was the man facing the reality he had to put his dog to sleep.
I don't know what the man looked like. Couldn't really tell you what his actual voice sounded like. But his words, strangled with sobs, tore through the thin walls like an emotional torpedo.
"I guess I was lucky to've known him. I saved him twice before... He'd always been there. My pal. It'd be selfish of me...not to put him to rest. Oh...God... Oh, my God... I'm sure gonna' miss him. Whatever you can do to make him more comfortable. This is the hardest day..."
He went on. The doctor stayed respectfully quiet, listening to the man working through his anguish. By the time he was done, both my wife and I were soap-opera-sodden messes, eyes bleary with tears. And we gave Zak a little bit of extra loving.
The good news is Zak just had issues with fluid or something. I dunno. I was still too distraught over the man in the hallway's angst.
I've put down dogs before. Each time it takes while to get over it. It's sad, yet I know it's the best thing to do. But like Sad Hallway Man, you can't help but be torn up over it. It takes effort to work your way through the steps, internally argue and debate. Cry a bit.
After I put my twin cocker spaniels to sleep, I vowed not to get another dog. Time passed. So did my vow. But I still wonder if pet ownership's worth the awful sadness experienced at the end of a beloved dog's life.
Kinda like how I felt after my divorce some years ago. Should I even risk putting myself through such trauma again? Is the clearly never been in love and broken idiot who said "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all" right?
Eat it, Lord Tennyson.
But the answer, of course, is yes.
I love my wife.
I love my dog.
I don't so much love sleeping in a tiny bed in the guest room, but whatever. Tis better to sleep than not sleep at all.