The day started as any other. Alarm clock was set to go off, but as usual, I awoke about a minute before the beeping began. Unlike any other day though, a sadness filled my heart. Emotions ran wild and tears fell as I clicked on the button to get the coffee going. I could hear her nails scrapping on the tile in the other room as she stirred about. She'd been going down hill fast the last two weeks. Age is a terrible beast we all have to suffer through. An experience maybe the lucky are fortunate to avoid.
Fifteen years had finally taken its toll on her. Her frail frame could barely support her weight. Legs wobbled as she walked. Lying down seemed to all she could do, though her spirit kept her restless as she still wanted to be a part of everything. Her eyes expressing a questioning gaze and a lack of understanding as to what was happening to her. She was tired.
She'd been a good dog. Both my kids had grown up with her, and she'd been there their entire lives. The memories of my daughter crawling in the whelping box with her litters of puppies. The pictures of my son bouncing around the yard with puppies in tow, as their mom carefully watched on. The memories and days training afield. All the trials and hunts she'd been on. Countless weekends hanging out in the horse trailer. All the times I'd hooked her up to a harness and watched her drive forward next to the other dogs. All the times I'd staked her out, walked her to the line. I can still hear the words from the judges at her first American Field Trial, "Where'd you get that dog? I never seen a Red dog run like that." But, most of all, her love and kindness. A gentle spirit and disposition all seemed to be attracted too. A unselfish and unconditional willingness to please.
I knew this day was coming. The time when all dogs simply run out. The time their bodies give in, regardless of their heart and desire. Her dad had simply passed away in my lap while I was watching a movie one afternoon. And the others, each different in how they approached and handled the end. Yet with all the dogs that have been in our lives over the years, it still never gets easier. In some respects, maybe even gets harder. You know that day will come, even as you pick them out as a pup. Yet, we still do it. For we know that what they give us in return is far greater than what we could ever give them. A special gift from God in a way, to help remind us of what unconditional love is truly about.
My wife and kids were all to meet at the vet's office at 3:15 to say our good byes. We were to be there and give support, comfort and love in those final moments. It's important to be there. One thing all dog owners must commit to, regardless of how much it hurts. It was going to be the first time my son would have to experience the pain and witness the loss of something he had loved so dearly. Something that had loved him back even more. A part of his life would now be gone forever, and I saw it in his eyes as he realized it.
She went fast. Her tired body seemed to almost stop with just the sedative. My daughter and wife, as hard as they tried, fought, couldn't hold back their emotions of love and loss. But for my son, it seemed to be the hardest. I could see and feel all his emotion and pain. His sobs and tears evidence of his love for her as the final injection took hold. He loved her the most. He was going to miss her the most. And it was a moment he'll never forget. I was never more proud of him.
Afterwards my son expressed to me all his feelings. He was happy for our "girl" that she would no longer have to endure the pain of going on. Yet, at the same time the feelings and the terrible pain of losing something he loved so dearly. He handled it like a man. A real man who portrays emotion, compassion, love and tenderness. Traits missing from many men these days. And as I watched, I realized that I too was getting old, and realized that this experiences would be one of many teaching moments for my son about the cycle of life and the hope of life after death through Jesus. It will help remind him of the promises that God has made for us.
Last edited by vbirddogs
on Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.