I don't think all the dogs are lined up somewhere waiting and wagging. It'd be so crowded, no?
I think that dogs (and people) are containers of energy. I believe, when a person wants a dog, it's like getting a book from the library. Yeah, it's yours for a period of time, but you have to give it back. And the dog-in my opinion-is a specialist in getting a person through a certain period of time. Maybe like a good growing-up dog. A good first dog. An empty nester dog. A cancer specialist with a minor in internet dating, exercise, bereavement, swear-wording and joy.
I think once you give up on Christmas Trees? It's only a matter of time before you're able to deconstruct the entire universe.
I think-if you're very lucky and clearly I am-the dog gets another assignment from another person who needs that dog's specific qualities more than you do and they leave you.
The biggest shock for me was when she didn't meet me at the door because she didn't hear me and that happened a Long Time Ago and this was Not The Time Her Head Got Caught In The Loop of my Bra That Was Hanging On The Doorknob.
When it was getting close-but before I was bawling-I went to the local vet P had selected(He didn't like the popular one everyone else goes to. I never enjoyed them after Minnie left the front desk but whatever.) I went to ask what the procedure was for putting a dog down because I wanted to ask while I could still talk and eventho G-Master-G was my fifth dog? I actually didn't know.
The cost was over $200. (220 maybe?) Remind me not to ask the woman behind the counter to be a personal reference because I don't think she could do that for me. There was the matter of some sort of paw print-I never figured out if they would shove her poor foot into plaster before she 'crossed the bridge' or after, but the thought of it-just so I could walk away with some sort of memorial coaster repulsed me. (That's not a judgement on people who like that sort of thing. It's a commentary on the ridiculous system that sells souvenirs.)
I knew about the greeting card and I put the kibosh on that right away. Usually, just as you're beginning to be able to speak of the dog without gasping for air, the vet will send you a charming remembrance card. I told her up front. No card.
(Later my cousin told me that there's a high rate of veterinary suicide and this putting down of dogs is part of the blame and that the sending of the card is partly therapeutic for the vet. I'm sorry I was so thoughtless but unfortunately I cannot manage a card. #notsorry)
No card. No ashes. She was part corgi. They shed like crazy. It is my belief that we will never be without her entirely.
Speaking of that-my first dog. So distraught was I-at that time-I seriously contemplated a memorial tattoo. The Former Spouse in a moment of exceptional clarity said: I don't need a tattoo to remember him.
That might have been the most brilliant thing he ever said.
P said-when my Mom died? It never gets less painful. It just gets further away.
I called Anti-Cruelty. Twice. I can't remember exactly why we didn't go through with it last weekend-I dunno. The stars weren't aligned or something but I called them two different times. Free parking. Take the elevator down to 1R maybe? (I had this all written down and I can't find it.) It's a $35 donation. You can stay or not. Make sure the dog is leashed.
Grantley and I had gone to a bunch of Yappy Hour sessions there when she was a kid. Like supervised play sessions with other pups(you had to see their faces when the trainer dumped an entire laundry basket of tennis balls into the room). It was closer to Gilda's Club than our regular daily commute, so we could pass the place but not constantly. And I knew, if we parked on the roof? She could feel the sun on the way in and on the way out we could see the sky.
I called upon the tools I learned in my therapeutic sessions at Loyola. Texted them off to P while he mowed MK's lawn. They were more for me.
(The book is here.)
There was a lot of talking and reassurance that we had come at the right time and waiting another minute would have been way worse for her and the wonderful Maggie had to repeat herself twice about what was going to happen because I had a really hard time taking it in. There was a blanket. There was an electric shaver. There were two shots. There was blood. Having had so many procedures that involved anesthesia myself-I knew she became warm and comfortable and then-I believe-she went to work energetically-so to speak-for someone else.
I've never been in a professional's office where there was a box of Kleenex that I actually used until yesterday and I think-between the two of us-we went through probably twelve. Two wonderful humans have kindly offered to make a donation in Grantley's honor and I hope that dough goes to buy tissues for the next people who are lucky enough to get to use them.