It’s never easy to say goodbye to a furry friend
By Susan Frick Carlman
He never whimpered, not even a little.
Even on his last night among us, he wagged his tail with tangible sincerity and gobbled up the bits of shared pizza crust. In retrospect, as my ever-rational spouse pointed out, that was probably more habit than genuine hunger at work. He had stopped eating his regular food several days earlier.
It was just last spring when we first realized something wasn’t right with our good, old golden retriever. He couldn’t do the morning power walks anymore, and his breath had become shallow. A blood test showed sharply elevated liver enzymes – a development that suggested an array of possibilities, none of them good. We figured we’d sit tight and let him let us know when to do something more.
When we took him in again just before Halloween, we discovered he had dropped 13 pounds since the blood test. An X-ray showed a huge mass clinging to his spleen. It wouldn’t be long. He would let us know when, the vet assured us.
Heck, he’s 12, we reminded ourselves, determined not to succumb to sorrow over an event we had known was coming for a dozen years. Pretty old for a dog.
But like many of his species, Dave always seemed something more than a dog. He was muse and companion, soother and empathizer, foot warmer and always a worthy opponent in a friendly staring contest. Like any good dog. And of course, he never declined the pursuit of an errant tennis ball – even though, oddly, he never really got the hang of giving it back. Just a mental block, I guess.
What a heartbreaking story, as I sit here with tears running down my face. I can’t imagine life without our beloved pets, but it’s so unfair that they have to leave us so soon after they make us fall head over heels in love with them …