Sometime over the next few weeks, I’ll put my dog down. She’s a small, mixed mutt with failing eyesight, hearing, and an increasing tendency to wander out of the yard. I suspect she’s suffering from some type of doggie dementia too, since she’ll often stand in one place and stare at nothing in particular.
I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to say goodbye. I suggested to my wife we have a small “Sandy farewell tour” but she thinks that might be a bit much. I’d hate to announce to friends and family that Sandy’s gone for good without first giving them a final chance to wish her well, but I’m not sure what the protocol is for this sort of thing.
In fact, the whole put-a-dog-down business seems unfinished. We have everything for pets except a proper way to honor them at the end of their life. There are pet stores, pet parks, pet snacks … But now that it’s time to say goodbye, I find myself searching the Internet for advice. I knew this day would come, but hoped it would arrive in a tidier box
I keep thinking I’ll call a vet to the house. But if I do, what’s the going rate for euthanizing a dog at home? Is it more than dinner out with the wife? A car payment? And if it’s a whole lot more than a trip to the vet, will I have the nerve to carry my dog into a vet’s lobby and cradle her without breaking down and making a blubbering fool of myself? Honestly, I’m not sure I could. My gut tells me I’d leave before they called Sandy into one of those small rooms.
Sandy hates the vet. She begins shaking as soon as we pull into the parking lot.
The past few visits, the staff had to muzzle Sandy. She’s always been aggressive. I suspect that’s part of her breed (whatever breed that is). But it breaks my heart to know that when the time comes to say goodbye, she’ll have to be bound like some Hannibal Lecter monster dog that can’t be trusted and loved. That’s not who she is.
At least, not to me.
I suppose I’ll have to bury her at my son’s house. He lives in the home where I grew up and all my other dogs are buried there. I’m not looking forward to that drive. I told my wife I’d probably do all this by myself. Sandy’s been my buddy for the past fifteen years. When the day comes to put her down, I think I’d like to keep all that for myself.
I won’t get another dog. At my age, taking care of grand-dogs is excitement enough. But as much as I love my son’s dog, he’s not Sandy.
Since I am an editor / publisher and author of books for boys, readers may think I should know what to say at a time like this. I mean, I make my living with words. I’ve written hundreds of devotions and some pretty funny adult fiction and nonfiction books. But right now I don’t have a clue what to say or do next.
There should be an app for putting down a dog.
And grief counseling.
And more time.