Gut Rumbles

November 21, 2003

thinking about dogs

Have you ever held a dog and petted it while the vet put it down? I have, four times.

The needle goes in, the doc squeezes the and the dog lets out a sigh. Then, it's all over. Lights out. Goodbye.

Every time I did that, I made it out of the vet's office to my truck, where I sat behind the steering wheel and cried like a baby. Goddam! That's a tough thing to do when you love the dog like a member of the family. But when it's sick, it can't eat anymore and it's in pain all the time, you have to do the humane act. If you really love the dog, you'll do right by it and let it out of its misery.

I wish that we treated people the same way.

Quinton and I are going to adopt a dog tomorrow. At my age, if I pick a hardy pup, he and I may last about the same number of years. I don't want to put down another dog in my life. That shit is just too painful, even if it is the right thing to do.

If I play my cards right, my new dog and I will become old farts together. He ages seven years for evey one of mine, so he'll catch up to me fast. We can sit together in our old age and growl at the world even if we don't have all our teeth anymore. I'll pet his head and he can wag his tail. We'll be best of friends.

I want that.


Rob, I know you hate cats, but the two cats I've had have been described as "more like dogs than cats". I had to put the first one down because he was poisoned with anti-freeze by a semi-human who had absolutely no compassion whatsoever.

Aftewards, I sat in my car and cried harder than I ever had before, even as a child.

I will likely outlive my dog-like cat-friend who is with me now, and I don't look forward to the day that he will die. I understand your desire for a best friend, and I hope you can find a dog who can be the friend you want.

Posted by: Jack on November 21, 2003 11:31 PM

I have buried several dogs in my life. And I lost a hillbilly bluetick and a mutt puppy that my daughter had stolen to save from an abusive life, to my house fire.

That was the worst. There are still doubts about whether a random electrical fire turned my dreams into ashes or if the dogs playing caused in it. I was at work when it happened so no one will ever know.

But I was horrified to learn one dog was found at the front door and the puppy at the other.

Maybe it might comfort you to know that losing pets to a needle is an easier way. I'd give anything to erase the nightmares of those poor babes and their suffering. I don't even want to imagine what a human could experience dying in that way. The only death I can imagine worse than fire would be starving.

I pray someone give me a needle when my time is up.

Posted by: SASSY on November 22, 2003 12:03 AM

When I was a little kid we had two black labs, Sally and Judy. Sally was Judy's mother and one of the greatest retrievers that ever lived.

My Dad told me about how Sally's last few months were awful hard. Winter was coming on, she had arthritis and it got to the point where she could hardly stand up on her own. One day he found her in the back yard lying on her side, whining and struggling to move. He went to his doctor's bag, got a syringe and some morphine and loaded up a dose to send her on her way. She immediately relaxed and faded away. He looked up from the back yard and saw me and my sisters staring down at the scene from the kitchen window in horror. I don't remember it, I was pretty young, but I know he did the right thing.

Posted by: Joe on November 22, 2003 12:35 AM

The decision is tough, being as close as you can while your friend fades away rips a hole in your heart no matter how certain you are that it was the right time. More than a decade later, when I think of our beloved Cinders and Valentine, I still cry. I suspect that will happen every day 'till I join them.

Posted by: Ron on November 22, 2003 01:22 AM

Goddamn animals... I wish I didn't love them.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on November 22, 2003 02:21 AM

...see now, what you did? Go ahead, start another pet story. I DARE ya.

Posted by: MaryAnn on November 22, 2003 04:13 AM

I did not make it all the way out of the vet's office. And i don't give a rat's behind. Family is family.

Posted by: Anne on November 22, 2003 05:26 AM

I have 3 dogs, and they're my babies. I have 2 cats too, but I know you don't wanna hear about them. LOL My dogs are big and kinda rowdy, not really well-trained or particularly well-behaved most of the time, but that's my fault. They will jump on you when you walk in the door, almost knocking you to the floor, and cover you in slobber because they are so glad to see you, even if you've only been gone 10 minutes. I've had people ask me why don't I get rid of them, because they poop on the floor on occasion, and make messes, and I have to worry about them when I go somewhere. I can't always stay gone as long as I'd like, cuz I gotta go home and take the puppies out. I tell them, they're my babies, they're my heart, and the day I have to walk in my door and don't get jumped on and doggie-kissed will be the saddest day of my life. Nobody else is ever that happy to see me.

Posted by: JaxVenus on November 22, 2003 06:11 AM

Dog or Cat its rough! As a kid my pets always 'ran away', so I never had to deal with it then. But this last summer I did for the first time, Lukemia. God that sucked! Watching a loved companion slowly slip further and further knowing in the end it was best to just have her put down as she was in pain. Still weighs heavy on my heart thinking about it.

Posted by: Marc on November 22, 2003 07:34 AM

Rob - Been there, done that. It. Is . A. Bitch. But you're absolutely right, Keeping an animal in pain alive is unforgiveable. We are supposed to be the responsible ones.

Best, Terry Reynolds

Posted by: Terry Reynolds on November 22, 2003 01:02 PM

I was in the Marines when I had to put my cat down, and I stood there in camies crying like a baby.

Posted by: GORDON on November 22, 2003 04:01 PM

Rob, you'd better find a dog with at least 49 year life-span.

Cause you're so fuckin' onery (a good thing), you're surely gonna live to be 100 years old, or more.

You've sure as hell not stared death in the eye to cash it in after the span of just one dog.

So, two or three dogs from now, you'll be out on the porch, sittin' on a rocker that's every bit as old, cranky, creaky and weathered as you.

Grey muzzled twins, you and the hound by your side. And, somehow, that last, final dog and you, together, will look back on lives bravely lived, pups sired, your son raised, grown and proud with grandkids of HIS own.

You'll have a heart full of memories that no book could hold, and that no words could write.

The dog, and you, will die one day. Fulfilled, perhaps happily, ready. We who may remain, friends, family, even respectful enemies.... will grieve at your loss, too.

And ours.

Our pets teach us to be ready for that day.

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim on November 22, 2003 09:56 PM

Been thru 5 dogs and 2 cats, who I have been with until their last breaths. It's the hardest thing to do, even though you know it's the right and humane thing to do.

4 of those pets were put down within 2 1/2 years of each other (damn, never get all your animals at approximately the same time). They all lived long lives (14-16 years) and needed the kindness of the needle to end their last days in dignity.

Fortunately all our current pets are fairly young, so if everything goes right, I won't have to go thru that again for several years.

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