Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Heartbreaking Decision


My heart is heavy and I am deeply melancholy this afternoon. After much deliberation my wife and I have to face the imminent need to "put down" one of our dogs. "Dixie" is pictured above about 15 years ago peering out the screen door of our old house waiting for me. She is sitting right next to our daughter. Nearly every evening when I got home, both the kid and the dog would report to the screen door of the kitchen in our first house and wait for me to come inside.
My wife and I adopted Dixie from the Chester County S.P.C.A. when she was 8 weeks old. I put many hours into training her and she is a well behaved and smart dog of great disposition and gentle temperment. Over the years we had many wonderful walks and hikes at Valley Forge park and in the woods at Rolling Hills Park. She walked off-leash at my heel and obeyed each and every command. I could put her in a sitting "stay" and walk 100 yards across a field...and she would not move a muscle until the command: "Dixie,COME!" She would then rocket across the open space between us and sit at my feet waiting for her reward: a piece of pretzel or biscuit. My kids have grown up with her and she is loved by all.
Sadly, she is now 16 1/2 years old. A combination of degenerative arthritis and muscle wasting has made her bascially incontinent and unable to get up or walk. Hence it is now time to acknowledge her dignity and comfort and carry out my last act of love as her master...I am literally tearing up as I type this. Tomorrow we have an appointment and it will be brutally hard but it is the only option.

16 comments:

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Whistle sweet Dixie, once more Good Sir,

Then whistle the tune to remember her,

Whistle the slide that she'd love to hear,

From somewhere better, she'll lift her ear.

K.S.A. said...

I'm very, very sorry to hear this.

UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Requiem, R.L. Stevenson

ADG said...

Man. I am hurting for you my friend. She's had a great run and you know that. But on the eve of the inevitable, there are no words of comfort. I'll pray comfort tonight--for your family and for Dixie.

The Enthusiast said...

Perhaps when Tolkien was writing of the relationship between elves and men, this is what he was talking about. Probably not, because the nobler race lived longer in Middle Earth.

Anonymous said...

What a tribute to a dearly loved companion. I am
facing the same thing and
am blessed each day he is still here. Losing them is the price we pay for the love they give us

Leslie G

LPC said...

So sorry. Good pets are so dear to us.

James said...

There are no words my friend. Godspeed Dixie.

Julie DeBrandt Hunter said...

Thinking of you and your family. It's a painful decision to make and yet you honor her by easing her pain. How lucky you all found each other. The picture is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you and your family. Putting down such a loyal friend is difficult and heart-straining. However allowing her to leave with dignity is an act of love. My thoughts are with you.

efinkens said...

I understand your pain, brother

Sundresses and Smiles said...

My thoughts are with you during this tough time! My mom has refused to get another dog since we had to put our last down-- it's just too hard on her!

Bear said...

Been there a time or two myself... one of the many reasons that I could never watch Marley & Me again. I was a mess after watching it the first time, thinking of my "puppies".

My thoughts are with you.

JMW said...

I am so sorry - the loss of a beloved pet is so difficult. The photo is so wonderful - Dixie was clearly well-loved by your family. Will be thinking of you and your family this week.

hawkeye315 said...

Very painful indeed. In time I have learned that making the same decision a year ago, I allowed my faithful friend to rest in dignity.

Anonymous said...

Friday morning I held my 15 year old Boston Terrier, Sophie, in my arms as she was put to sleep. Almost for the same reasons as for your Dixie. I still check my watch to see if it's time for her meal or for me to carry her outside for her 'business'. I have suffered the loss of people I have loved but a dog doesn't have the complexity of a human so there are few mixed emotions in it's loss. It's a loss of pure love and devotion and that is what makes it so heat breaking. We grieve together.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Thankis all....we are still grieving but getting by.
The poems and kind words are very helpful and meaningful.
Anon....I grew up with Boston Terriers...abolutely wonderful dog. Indeed, the only time I ever aw my father cray wa when we had to put down Buster...a 12 yr old Boston.