A week and a day ago I waited for my little dog to die.
Brindy had lived a good life, a really swell batch of days spanning nearly 18 years. This day she suffered. My mom had told me (from her experience with our 17-year-old doggy from my childhood), “When it’s time, you’ll know.” She was right. I called the vet’s office. They kindly scheduled an appointment for 4:30, the last slot of the day.
This past year I lost bets with myself. Starting in ’07 (the year this picture of Brindy was taken), I’d said I would do certain things with writing and life. You know, goal type stuff. But I knew and was reminded anew that reality is as reality does. And in the losses and failures arrive gains sometimes most amazing. Gifts.
Last Monday, Mom went with me and Brindy to the vet’s office. The two of us talked while waiting in the exam room for the first shot to take affect, the anesthesia that lets the animal drift into sleep. I stroked Brindy’s fur and felt her trembles lessen, her muscles finally relax. She’d fought for so long. I called her little iron dog, because she’d survived things in younger years like slug-bait poisoning. And she’d been my running buddy. Always ready to accompany, to protect.
The vet returned to give Brindy her second injection, the one that would end her suffering. But my dog was already gone.
I didn’t cry. I’d done that. Likely I will again. I was grateful for her easy passing, and so was Mom. We hugged each other. We hugged the vet.
Eighteen years ago I wasn’t expecting to raise a small canine. For me, one would have to be Beagle size or larger; I was done with little dogs. But my grandma, Edna, had been given a teeny puppy, and she recognized the first day that she couldn’t keep her. As Grandma Edna’s caregiver, I agreed. At first sight my little children loved the doggy. And I admit I was smitten fast. We were too much for Tim, he gave in quickly to our pleas, our promises.
Tim, though not a dog person, was kind to Brindy. She became his companion at the woodpile. I caught glimpses of them playing, chasing one another back and forth over the grass in late spring. Tim would grin as Brindy raced, a dark streak on the lawn. She flipped her curled tail, her tongue lolled; she was gaining.