I’ve been blessed with wonderful dogs. Cursed by their shorter life spans. I’ve been a dog owner so long, I start to mourn their passing before they even leave.
Penny, our third Border Collie, is now nine and a half. Millie made it to 15. Laddie made it to 12. Angel, the Australian Shepherd, made it to 13. So did Snow, the German Shepherd. So we’ll see.
One of these days a Johnson dog is going to outlive me. Time marches on.
I’ve had to put down every dog I’ve owned. All told me they’d reached the end of the line with that heartbreaking “it’s time” look.
You hope for that sweet spot between incurable sickness & excessive suffering. Then make that stomach-churning decision. And drive to the vet to share your very last measure of devotion. You whisper sweet somethings into their ear as the sedative is administered. They drift asleep, still on this side of life. You could change your mind and bring them home.
But the decision is made. Your observation and logic are sound. Your diagnosis is correct. It’s time. The final injection goes in.
You carry the lifeless body to the car. Drive to the crematorium. Remove the collar. Then leave your friend and heart behind.
And return to a cold, empty house.
The next morning launches new grief. Like a missing limb, you reach to scratch something that is no longer there. You call their name as you exit the door. Catch yourself carrying their bowl to the feed bin. Notice some fur on the rug.
But they aren’t there.
And we’re reminded how many habits & routines are built around our pets.
If we’re wise, we have a second pet to console us. And us them. They feel the loss of their buddy too.
But today is not that time. I snap out of it.
Penny is still here. Her tail still swishes as I speak her name. She leans into my hand rubbing beneath her ear. Her bright eyes are in their prime, ready for anything – a walk, a Frisbee chase, a car ride.
Thankfully, through the grace of God, I still have my buddy. So now, I'm off on a walk to show her just how much I appreciate her.
My childhood dog is not pictured here. A toy poodle, she lived a dozen years and hooked me on dogs forever. How she came into my life is an amazing, grace-filled story. You can access it HERE
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