Oct 2, 2014

Letting Go Of A Furry Friend Won't Be Easy


By Deb Saine
Oct. 2, 2014

When the time comes, whatever that time may look like, we hope against hope that no matter how difficult the situation is, we’ll be able to rise up and do the right thing.

For me, the time that’s coming up next will be the time to make the decision that I need to let go of my aging, four-legged companion of 15 years. Other than my relationships with my mom, a few friends and a former therapist, the one I’ve had with my puppy dog Ibid has been one of the most enduring.

I knew at the beginning of the new year that this time was coming. Ibid’s muzzle had gotten grayer, his eyes had become cloudy, his bark had gotten hoarse, and his movement up and down the stairs leading to and from the backyard has slowed and become less sure.

The fibroid tumors have multiplied and grown bigger. There’s one on his stomach, one each on the joints of two of his legs and a few have popped up along his torso. Although his appetite remains voracious, he’s been dropping weight.

Several weeks ago, an unknown individual took it upon him- or herself to file a report (or complaint?) with animal control, claiming Ibid had been neglected. Bright and early on a Monday morning, the game guy woke me up by banging – not knocking – on my front door.

Groggy from sleep and meds, I wasn’t at my best. He told me that he’d gotten a call from a “concerned individual” who thought Ibid wasn’t being cared for. I offered to let the game guy meet Ibid, but he declined (which I found annoying and unprofessional), telling me that he’d parked his pick-up truck on the side street and had been observing the larger of my two pups as Ibid barked at the stranger on the street.

At first, I was grateful that someone who cared about animals had taken it upon him- or herself to reach out on Ibid’s behalf. But once I closed that front door, I became more and more agitated.

The game guy wouldn’t tell me the caller’s name. I found that I had the same contempt for the nosy neighbor as I do for “unnamed” or “anonymous” sources used by journalists and/or people who don’t use their names when making comments online.

Why didn’t this individual come to me first? And why would I neglect Ibid while taking care of chunky little Ditto the Diva? I became beyond pissed. And afraid. Afraid that the decision to put Ibid down had been taken out of my hands by some idiot. Sobbing, I called the vet’s office to ask for advice. I took to Facebook to vent.

It took me back to the day the neighborhood demon spawn claimed that Ibid had bitten him. I knew better. Ibid would not have bitten anybody unless the friendly furball had been seriously provoked. Besides, Ibid was behind a gate, which means the demon spawn had treaded on private property.

Thankfully, one neighbor across the street had witnessed the entire interaction. He confirmed that demon spawn had been teasing Ibid and also said that Ibid hadn’t bitten the boy.

I stormed down the block and went right up to the kid and let him have it. I asked the boy if he knew what the consequences would be from making such an accusation, even if it was false? I asked if he knew that Ibid, who couldn’t have been older than one year or two, would have to be put down?

Fast-forward to today, and I wonder if the time has come to do just that. Ibid could barely make it down the concrete steps when I called him and Ditto to come and eat their supper. He moved gingerly and awkwardly toward his bowl. I stood at the bottom and waited, afraid that he was about to tumble forward at any second.

I left for a doctor’s appointment and when I got home about an hour later, Ibid was still at the bottom step. He hadn’t had any water and had only eaten one-quarter of his food.

Last January, I told myself that when the time came, when Ibid could no longer move quickly and sure-pawed up and down the steps, when he no longer had the desire to chase after sticks and toys and tennis balls, and he didn’t wolf down cheeseburgers from Mickey D’s, I wouldn’t let him suffer.

It seems that I need to rise up and do the right thing, the right thing for my furry best buddy because that time has come.