• My Alarm Clock

  • July 2011
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  • My name is Lynne! I'm a runner enjoying life in Colorado with my two furry kids! Summer is a Rottie (my fourth) and my Aussie, Scout, is 12. They fill my life with funny stories and special moments. Enjoy reading about my troubles with running and the fun I have with my fuzkids!
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  • Disclaimer

    While I have been through this several times, I am in no way an expert in dealing with or curing your pet of canine cancer. Please consult your local vet or canine cancer specialist on how to effectively treat your furry family member.

HOW COULD YOU?

– By Jim Willis, 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day. Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.” As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog ,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf. Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream… or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty

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6 Responses

  1. OMG, this made me bawl!! I had to run to the office wash room and lock myself in for a couple of minutes. Now I just want to run home and hug my babies…

  2. Dammit. I hate this. HATE IT. I have to take Kavanaugh on Monday to the vet..he’s getting so much weaker and it’s getting so hard for him to get up and sit or lay down and to walk…I feel SOOOO GUILTY. I don’t want him to think this of me…I just don’t want him to hurt anymore… I feel like such a bad doggy mom…

    • I had to make the decision for my Rottie Leo. She had a really aggressive form of cancer and chemo didn’t work for her. I had to look at her quality of life. Was I keeping her around for her or because I was too sad/scared to let her go? Then one day, she got a look in her eyes. A look that told me she was tired and ready to go. It’s the same look elderly get when their time comes. I knew then that it was time to say goodbye. She was going to be okay. And me too. I choose to get another Rottie when she passed. That was my coping mechinism. I was glad to have that little Rottie puppy around to take my mind off things. You will find your own way to deal with it. Just don’t let people try to tell you that “It’s just a dog”. Kavanaugh was your child. A furry child and you loved him. Let it show if you have to grieve that way. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream. Love him and say goodbye.

    • I now put two and two together. I didn’t know it was you. However, I’m glad I could help you with your decision. Kavanaugh is no longer in pain. He’s happy and healthy just like you remember. Jersey and Leo (my second Rott) welcomed him so he’s not alone.

      For both my dogs, I have an object in my yard for them. Leo has a light, a solar lantern, because she was my light. Jersey has an angel. That’s what she was. I look at them occasionally and remember how special they were. It’s something you can do for Kav too. Find your special something.

      Hugs and sloppy puppy dog kisses!

  3. This essay broke my heart. How could any dog guardian do that?

    • Unfortunately, it happens a lot. Owners get a puppy and think awh cute puppy, cute puppy….then big dog! Throw it out in the back yard!

      I get tears and feel terribly guilty if I spend too much time at work. There’s nothing like the emotions you get from your furry kids when you get home. I couldn’t give that up ever!

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