Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Fading Jake
I've been thinking about Jake's death. Because he's my dog, I have the terrible responsibility of deciding whether to allow him to linger until he's so miserable he can't walk, or taking him for a drug overdose at some point before then.
Philosophically it makes sense to let nature take its course, but one of the other dogs in our household, who is the same age as Jake, is suffering terribly, yet my roommate cannot bring himself to have her euthanized. Watching her struggle every day, and knowing how much pain she's in, has set in my mind the resolve that I will not wait until Jake is that miserable. I won't. A part of nature taking its course includes my ability to feel compassion for my dog. They shoot horses, don't they?
Endings are always hard for me in so many ways. I am not great a choosing the right time to quit anything - projects, jobs, relationships - either I end them prematurely just as they're about to turn a corner towards the better, or I wait until they are long past their expiration date.
How in the world will I decide when it's the right time for Jake? People say I'll "know," but will I? It's a daunting responsibility, so well worth contemplating. Hope this isn't too grim! I know I'll be very sad when the time comes, but as my roommate says, what could be better for a rescue dog than to die of old age? Jake has outlived all the vets' predictions, so all the time he has left is gravy.
I'm watching him fade, and asking in my heart of hearts to know, for sure, when the time is right. It will be my last act of love and devotion for my old dog. But that day is not today. Right now we're on our way out the door on this absolutely gorgeous spring day in DC for the slow stroll that he's capable of.
Happy weekend, ya'll. Carpe diem!