Today my dog will die. The day I have dreaded most for years now. I have had him since I was a tiny child and now he is 17 and I am 21. I have grown to love life with him and am not looking forward to life without.
In my war against the passing of time, this will surely be the hardest battle and it will not be forgotten. He is the one major thing in my life where I have no regrets and yet there is no lack of despair.
I remember even as a small child when I first saw Dogger and knew he would be living with me at home that this moment of elation would stay with me, I had a sense of its significance.
As I went through my early years aging was always on my mind. I was never one to wish I was older so I could do this or that, I wanted to stay as I was and get to explore every avenue of my potential life. Always weighed up my decisions so as not to waste precious years to regret.
I fully understood that ignorance is bliss and thus strived to enjoy my innocence before satisfying my curiosity. Thus my dog stayed with me as a constant reminder of all the positives associated with youth. He did not have any of the flaws I can find in any person. Being unable to talk one could not know his motivation for any action and so I always assumed the best. If he did something he was not supposed to, it was funny or charming and just added to his character in my eyes.
And so comes the end of my living symbol for joy and optimism. My barely living ancient reminder of youth finally succumbing to time after fighting off everything that tried to end our companionship, including malignant tumors, (practically blindness) and bad arthritis.
Many people distance themselves from their dogs as their dogs get very old, just as the dog distances himself from people. But I felt that every struggle he went through to get up the stairs to my room or running after me on the gravel so that we could continue to race despite the arthritis and all that went with old age, he did, in part, for me.
He doesn’t bark, whine or wag his tail anymore. He can’t tell me what he wants like he used to. Am I to look into his eyes and guess that he wants his suffering to end?, or that he wants me to comfort him through these hard times like he always did for me?
And so this does not seem to be a normal thing to me. Dogs die, as youth does. But how can I willingly decide to let beloved innocence die?
I hope my answer of it being for my dogs benefit. To end his suffering and distress of barely being able to move, see or hear is enough to not let this decision rest on my conscience and dominate the rest of my life with regret.
I hope so, I truly did try and let him live as long a life of happiness as possible. When his bladder went, I cleaned up after him, when he stopped barking to tell me to let him back in, I went from door to door till he returned. When he could no longer follow me around, I visited him. When he wanted some of my food, he got it. When he didn’t sleep, neither did I. I tried my best to return the love and sacrifices he gave up for me right to the end, though that will not make life without him easy.
I could never have wished for more and will never assume to have as great a companion again. Here ends my youth, my optimism.