2160 minutes

July 2, 2009

IN roughly 36 hours Ogami will be dead.

We’ve know for quite some time that this year would require us to make a decision. It became clearly apparent as winter took hold that Ogami wasn’t going to be here a year later. The big debate was before or after the baby; how long would he hold out. How long could we.

The last time I took a dog for the needle was in 1996. My 16 year old German Sheppard, Lottie, was really a gone girl. I had nursed her through a quick decent into dementia and through a few periods where she refused to eat. I feed her McDonald’s hamburgers. She couldn’t resist that.

SHE was gone with the short shot to deliver the unconsciousness, the final, larger dose of pentobarbital showing no affect. What struck me were the eyes – empty and devoid of any difference before and after. Undesirably different from the dead humans that I have seen where you feel the sense of loss as well as see it. I can’t remember if I felt sad or relieved just that  she was here and then gone. Remembering life without more so than with her.  Snippets play like a movie, not so much of personality traits devoid of any emotion or attachment.

Ogami is going to be different. He is in much better physical shape then Lottie was. Strong and muscular with his huge head lifted high, strutting as I’d put tension on his leash, “Show dog Ogami, show dog!” But that was only a year ago and now he can barely lift his hind quarters.

WE took him for a ride a few nights ago. He could no longer put his face into the wind; an act that would result in his sneezing huge amounts of slurry on the window as well as the back of your head. He just laid there, his head high and cocked back with closed eyes. As close to an ecstatic state as a dog can get into. And when we did stop and the wind ceased blowing he opened his eyes and they looked empty.

IN a few weeks time, our family starts a new chapter with a new sibling. Our first two children, Soren and Sloane, have grown up with Ogami. This new baby never will. There will be a clear shizim of understanding and experience in our tribe called kid. The duality of impending birth juxtapose with impeding death puts me on edge. I don’t like stasis; it makes me nostalgic and that is a rut that I don’t like.

That line that I talked about before, that moment, where one can reflect and wholly understand the situation in it’s entirety cannot come soon enough.


2 Responses to “2160 minutes”

  1. Hello. About a week ago, I began a comment here and wrote about three sensitive and beautiful paragraphs, IMHO. Regrettably, I walked away from the compose session to attend to something else, only to return to find the response had been lost.

    I am sorry you have to face the loss of your beloved Ogami. I have walked many miles in your shoes. It is a painful place, and you have my thoughts and sympathies. By the time you read this, I hope you have begun to accept your difficult decision,

    We are longtime dog owners. Each pet has come to us for their brief time and filled a void in our lives. Our pets are time-limited as we all are, but their times are obviously shorter than our own. Therefore, each child in the family has pet memories which are age dependent. It can’t be helped. You find as a parent that ALL of their memories are different from yours and even those of their siblings.

    Ogami will live on in your mind, just as Bambi, Dolly, Danny, Toby, Buffy, and Spicy live on in mine. Just writing their names fills my eyes with tears. They were all so dear to me (except Toby, adopted in haste and callously ignored when I went off to college). Stupid me… Mom took care of him and then found him a good home.

    Your two older children will always have memories of this unique animal. With a new baby coming, you should re-focus on adapting that new little squirmy and demanding person/animal(!) into your lives. THAT will certainly take a while, as you well know. Perhaps their might a place for a new pet, but you should determine that at a more appropriate time.

    It is a good thing that euthanasia has a positive existence in the world of veterinary medicine. I believe it is sad that we cannot openly choose that option in our human lives without being questioned about our motivations. I have always found it strange that it’s reserved for the condemned murderer. I cannot think of a better way to pass into the void after death without fear or pain.

    See you at Twitter.



  2. betterskills Says:

    Thanks E. I was good with the decision as I felt the life leave him and his ridgid frame and tense muscles relaxed. He’s not the first dog I’ve had to put down and he won’t be the last.

    As I stated in the blog, time erases a lot.

    But his absense is felt every morning that I don’t have to take him out and when I come home from work.

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