Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dead Dog

We had to put Mabel to sleep yesterday, or, as Boy prefers to tell it, we killed our dog yesterday. Either way you phrase it the dog is dead.

There is something profoundly disturbing about watching the life leave a body, even if it is a dog's life. One minute it's your dog, the next minute it's just a body and the dog isn't in it any more... If you've been lucky enough to not have to witness this yet, maybe you can't understand it. I don't know how else to put it. All I know is that there comes a moment when you're petting the body and you realize there's no one in it any more and you feel like the rug's been pulled out from under you.

Boy was in the vet's office and he wanted to be there for Mabel, but I wouldn't let him stay. I told him I didn't think anything good would come of it. It is very, very sad to have a dog one minute and not have one the next, but it's a whole nuther world of hurt to watch it happen. As it was he spent two whole days crying- the first because she was sick and likely to die, the second because she did. I can't see telling him to buck up and not be sad. He should be sad. Then again, I can't see making it worse. Hopefully he won't end up in therapy because I wouldn't let him stay when I had them kill the dog.

Guilt is rather narcissistic, I think. Indulge me this once, please. I feel guilty because when Mabel passed a bladder stone two years ago I took her to the cheap vet. Because he was cheap. I told the cheap vet to manage things cheaply. He didn't do an xray, but he did determine the stones were struvite stones. I asked if we should change her diet, and he said to feed her a vegetarian diet, which he would be happy to sell to me.

A vegetarian diet.

For a Dog.

I looked it up and found that although the vegetarian diet can actually be a good thing for some conditions, this was not one of them, so I kept Mabel on her current diet. What I should have done was more research. I should have googled "struvite medical treatment canine" like I did last night, and I would have learned that her treatment was grossly inadequate. Of course, another option would have been to take her to a real vet and spend some real money on her, but I didn't do that either. The net result is that two years later my dog suffered and died from a treatable condition.

So now we're down to one dog. One sad little Lucy, who is strangely clingy and follows me everywhere, not just to the kitchen. I still say the wrong things, like "Take the dogs out". I still expect to hear two dogs barking.

Mostly I miss Mabel's intelligence. Mabel had intention. She had moods, most of them good ones. She could be silly, or hyper, or giddy. She could be cuddly (rare) or calm or lovey. If you wanted to know the meaning or sheer joy, you could set her loose in my Aunt's yard to chase the birds. She'd tear off, go into that "Bunny Run" where both the front legs go out at the same time- now That was a happy dog.

Lucy isn't the same. She's more like a very smart guinea pig. She doesn't have moods so much as modes- food seeking, in which she follows you into the kitchen and hoovers the floor. Heat seeking, in which she stealthily works her way into your lap with out you noticing. And comfort seeking, in which she finds the softest thing in the room to curl up on, and if it isn't soft enough she'll fluff it with her paws. Frankly she's cold comfort right now. I almost want to go get another dog.

Alright. I'm done playing Captain Buzzkill and the Bring Downs,

1 comment:

dawn said...

I'm sorry for your family's loss. I've had to do the same once or twice and it hurt.

Love Lucy. She's feeling loss right now, too.