I just read a blog post that brought me to tears. In this post I found someone living the life I want to live. He has a small boat, a dog and lives the life he pleases. But he also has the same problems as many of us. What struck me most was his devotion to his dog, and the deep beauty of the connection to mans best friend. I too feel this way with my dog Vinny.
I came by my friend at the end of a poor relationship. He had belonged to her, but when we went our separate ways, he stayed with me. I was just beginning to extricate myself from my past lifestyle at that time, and I admit there were plenty of times he looked at me quizzically as I broke down. Dogs are not judgmental, and they never try to offer their opinions. They sense when you are upset and try to comfort you. They don’t tell you how to run your life, they just want to be part of whatever you offer. They are just there for you.
I can’t watch anything about animal abuse without getting so mad I could hurt someone. If an animal makes you so mad you want to hurt it, you don’t deserve the love and affection they give. I see dogs tied out to a tree, lonely and starving for attention and wonder how someone could do that. I see the arc they have worn into the ground at the reach of the chain, and I sense the anguish they must feel spending all their time alone. Dogs are pack animals after all, they need to feel like part of a group. People can be so cruel it makes me sick to think about it.
Some might say it’s unhealthy, or silly to care about an animal so deeply. “It’s just a dog” they say. I don’t care what they think. I’ve never had a better friend. As he walks up to me just now, and sets his chin on my leg, I can tell he want’s me to pick him up as he can no longer jump into my lap. He lays his head under my chin as I scratch his belly and feel the tumors. That’s all it takes and the tears start to fall. How do I say goodbye?
I know the end is coming very soon for my friend, and I feel so helpless. Every day I watch him struggle to get up, but like us, the more he moves around the better he feels. He still runs after the wild rabbits on the lawn, but he’ll never catch them. I’ve become so attached to him, my heart aches as I write this.
When his last day comes, we will do all the things he loves the most. Go for a walk in the woods. Take a drive in the car with the window down so he can bark at everyone. Take an afternoon nap. Scratch his belly till my fingers hurt. Eat hot dogs. Just be together one last time. When the sun is going down, we will go to the vet, and I will watch him drift away in my lap. I want the last thing he see’s to be the person he loves and loves him the most. Life leads to death, you cant stop it, but at least I know I’m not alone.