It doesn’t matter how many times you see it, the sight of a dog scooting along the lawn always raises a smile.
The dog in question for me was usually my wonderful old boy, Harvey. Scooting over, he is back on four legs in a jiffy and trotting back down the garden without on ounce of embarrassment. This is one of the beauties of dogs. A job needs doing, or a urge needs dealing with, and they just get on and deal with it. No shame. That said this only works because of the essential kindness and innocence of their souls. It wouldn’t work for us with our deviousness and cynicism.
Amongst all dogs, Harvey’s kindness and beauty stood out. I know I am biased but here was a good boy, who lived for the simple joys of life, like running through the woods, eating food and then curling up on a cozy bed to sleep in all off. Oh how I envied him!
Impossibly cute and curly eared for a boy dog was our Harvey. Whilst he could be naughty when it came to stealing a sausage or other morsel left in reach, all he wanted to do was please. He could be crushed by the mildest of scoldings, only to become joyous again once forgiven.
After a summer of rain, that Harvey loved like any other, I was told one day that my boy was ill. He had been ill before, sometimes quite badly, but he had always come through. Straining to run free, or eat the sort of food he shouldn’t, way before the vets would approve. That was Harvey’s way. Stop or go, running full pelt or fast asleep, full of life but now dying slowly.
We always said that a light shinning that brightly could never last a full course. But I didn’t mean it. I didn’t want it to be true. Even with the truth before me I could only refuse to believe it.
Desperate for a cure we too readily agreed to surgey that wiser counsel would have advised against, the cancer had too big a hold. We merely robbed him of one of his few remaining weeks while his stitches healed. I so regret taking that time from him in a selfish bid to hold onto him for longer. It was time for him to run free while he still could, not to struggle against even more restrictions.
As the days passed so my beautiful boy grew weaker. The imperceptible at first, soon became too obvious until we could deny him no more. All his joy was gone, he lusted no more for life. Worse still discomfort was on the verge of turning to pain. Finally I knew the day had come. Whilst I had feared this decision more than any, I had absolute clarity that the time had come.
After a halting stiff hobble around the car park the kind vet lead us in. He lay down, I stroked his neck, he never got up. A grown man wept, failed to compose himself and left.
This is the pact we make when we become a dog owner. They give us unreserved devotion and joy. Thousands of memories that you will have never wanted to miss out on. But one day they will have to leave, long before either of you will want them to go. The pain will be unimaginable, but you will accept it. To wish away the pain means to wish you never knew you wonderful boy or girl in the first place. Simply its no contest; all that joy was worth the pain at the end
In time the joyful memories shine through. A tear is allowed at times, but they will increasingly come with fond memories. You know the secret that the dog-less don’t. There is now finer love than between dog and human, be sure to share it will a new pup as soon as you can.
Filed under: My Dogs
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