Photo Challenge- Friend

I’m reluctant to write about this, but seeing as how the topic presented itself right at this time, I feel it’s a sign.

I had to say goodbye to one of my furbabies yesterday. She was more than just a friend, she was a part of our family. She was 10 years old and I’d gotten her when she was 2 months old. She was one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of dogs. She’s the fifth dog I’ve lost in the past 2 years. They are ageing out. All were 10 or older. One was 15, two got cancer, one had complications from diabetes and this one had liver failure. None of this information makes it any easier to handle. I feel that I’m getting less and less able to deal with it the more it happens. And although I knew it would be rough, I never dreamed it would be hit after hit after hit like this. Even a seasoned farm girl like me, who’s seen and dealt with more death than the average person, is feeling beaten down and crushed. I feel like my very soul is crackled and particles of it are drifting out of the cracks. It may sound dramatic, but these were much more than just dogs to me. They were my family, my kids, my friends. I’d had them all since they were puppies and they depended on me to take care of them. Which I did to the best of my ability. They didn’t go without much, except maybe a haircut or a bath or brushing now & again.

Man’s Best Friend  A post about the picture below.

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Of these 5, I only have one left. 

So when you take care of a living being that needs you like a child, it takes on the perception of a child. Don’t get me wrong. I know they’re dogs and I don’t treat them as human children. But in the fact that they depend on me for their well-being, and in fact, their lives, they are children.

I am their steward and with that responsibility comes the hardest decision I can think of. Nothing else comes close. At no other time do I hold the life of another living being literally in my hands with my decision. At no other time do I have to decide to willingly take excruciating pain so that it relieves their pain or suffering. “We take the pain so that they don’t have to.” I say this phrase over & over and I’ve said it many times to people in the same situation. There’s no other way to put it. Right now I have so many tears that I can’t even type. I’m still in pain, but they are not.

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So many people hold on to their animals for far too long. I get it, really I do. Hubs did it with his dog. There was no way I could tell him not to. He realizes now that he should’ve let his dog go much earlier than he did. We try to avoid the pain, that horrific decision and responsibility. But then we’re keeping them here for us, not for them. And that is so selfish.

My philosophy is that when you get an animal, you commit from beginning to end. They’re not possessions, like your clothes, that you get rid of if they don’t fit anymore, or you’re tired of them. I understand if it’s an impossible situation. But then you find a good  home for the animal and don’t just dump it off at the shelter because it’s too much work to find a home for it. My point is, you should know when you get an animal that there will come a day when you will have to make the decision to let him/her go. You will have to decide to put that animal’s well-being ahead of your own and that it will be one of the most painful things you will ever do. That you will have to have the strength to do it. I’ve had many, many animals from dogs to cats to horses and out of all of them, only two have gone out on their own decision. The rest would’ve suffered a slow and painful death. It would’ve been a lot easier on me if I hadn’t had to make the call, but that’s not how it pans out. Frankly it sucks.

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One of the two dogs I still have left. When she was a pup. 

 

There’s a person who lives across the way from me. The most he does for his animals is feed them. At least he does that much. Otherwise, he lets them populate at will, roam at will and die at will. There are about 20 dogs over there. A couple of weeks ago I heard one screaming in pain. Which naturally just rips my heart out. For the next couple of days I’d hear it every so often. Not constantly, but randomly. But I could tell it was in a lot of pain. So I called the police to come check it out. Which I’ve never done before. I couldn’t dare to go over there personally because that pack of dogs has threatened neighbors before from what I’ve been told. I’ve had them bark at me when I’ve gone down to get the mail. Anyway, the deputy goes over (thankfully) and doesn’t see anything, or hear anything (unthankfully). Of course he doesn’t see an injured dog, the poor thing is probably under the house or in a hole somewhere hiding from the rest of the pack. I just wish it would’ve cried out while he was there. So nothing came of it. He said the guy really loves his dogs and would never put one to sleep. I’m thinking “Yeah, right. He’ll let it suffer dying a slow painful death, probably starving to death on top of it because it’s in too much pain to eat.” There’s no description for this type of human vermin.

We love our animals because they give us something we need. Unconditional love, friendship, companionship, joy.  Even if they get up on a table and get hung up in a potted plant and drag it all over the house like a turtle shell. It doesn’t matter. We still love them.

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