Friday, November 13, 2009

funeral for a friend

Well. That sucked.

Yesterday went about as I feared / expected and our beloved wilderness explorer, urban trail guide and pack leader Shenoa lost her battle with Time, just a few months removed from her 13th birthday. Of course, as her guardians it fell to us to give time itself a nudge, to head to the vet's and make that most incomprehensible request of asking someone to end a dear friend's life.

And of course, it's not like that, not really. This most difficult of decisions is The Right Thing. This is What's Done. This is Humane. This is Affording Her Dignity. This is Unselfish.

I have all the descriptors at the ready, and believe them all (mostly), the healing bromides we tell ourselves as pet owners when the time comes. Oh and it's coming for all of us, you young and windswept who just got their first dog and haven't known this feeling yet. It's the bargain we all passively consent to when we make the delightful and blindingly rewarding choice to bring a companion into our lives. And no, I don't think I am entirely talking about pets, either.

As I might've mentioned below, this was my first front-line experience with this and it was, well, exactly what you'd think. I'm grateful she won't have any more terrible nights like her last two, no more pain and confusion, no more cruelly inert decline for a spirit that was too stubbornly free and brilliant and loving to put up with such nonsense.

As a manner of tribute, a brief list of Shenoa's Top 5 Likes and Dislikes, in no particular order:

  1. Hiking/running in the woods (unleashed, if you please)
  2. Backseat road trips
  3. Pre-breakfast belly thwaps
  4. Smaller dogs
  5. Rolling in dead things and/or animal droppings (see #1)

  1. Baths
  2. Luggage
  3. The vacuum cleaner
  4. UPS delivery drivers
  5. Homework
For the most part those are off the top off my head, and as I look at them, surely not comprehensive and probably not all that unique (except the homework one -- she seriously took issue whenever my wife and center of her universe started working through paper and textbooks, an activity that usually sent Shenoa to some corner of the house armed with a battery of heavy sighs and loud, elbowy drops to the floor, seeped in dramatic disappointment).

Luggage was also right out, as this usually translated to an impending separation from The Pack, a time when Shenoa's role as Our Mighty Protector could not be met, where ever my wife was headed. This manifested most notably when she packed for a business trip and Shenoa stormed out of the room, asked to be let outside and proceeded make a great show of preferring to sit in cold darkness alone in a pouring rain than watch. This show, I should add, was not allowed to last too long.

I could go on, of course -- hell, it's not as if I'm going to run out of room here, but don't want to belabor the idea. It's a curious compulsion in this world of the Unsolicited Personal Narrative; I spill this sort of thing allegedly without consciousness of you, gentle reader, lurking out there in the weeds somewhere yet, by the same token, would like to provide something of at least vague interest. And, frankly, I'd like to not think of this as some kind of depressive mission where I'm not going to shut up until at least one of us is crying (though hell, perhaps that would lead to an ever-lucrative endorsement from Oprah's Book Club).

This entire exercise could lead and perhaps should lead to a longer yet not exactly unheard of study of life being at it's root, somehow, inextricably linked with loss. As aligned with the view of some chain-smoking Eastern European poet that view may be, it's the constant threat of loss and the finite nature of life that makes it precious, fellow travelers, and to be savored. Obviously.

Even though, I should add, there is no true way to utterly and completely savor every moment of love and companionship, not justifiably because that would require stopping time somehow, both in your life and someone else's. And there's simply no way to do that -- though it's utterly vital to try.

Suffice to say, I miss our dog.

Also -- Bonus coverage! This song has been in my head since way-too-early this morning. I think it fits in a non-Wes Anderson kind of way. And it sounds like watching a dog run in the forest feels.


At 6:32 PM, Blogger barbara said...

Well we might as well have the big "O" blessing now.. As a now sit here with the dreaded BARTON BOO BOO FACE. You know the one.

Love You
and Bozena



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