What gives us the right to end the life of a beloved companion animal? Yesterday, I asked the vet, “What gives me the right to end his life?” He said it’s not so much a right as a responsibility. The quality of life was deteriorating quickly. We had given him 5 extra months with additional medications, injections and acupuncture since his back legs stopped working in July. He had improved for a while. When I asked the vet if it was a reasonable decision, he said, “Yes. At this point,” he said, “yes, it is.” I had hoped my golden boy Jesse would make it to 14, an arbitrary birthday a few weeks away that he knew nothing about.
I have to stop thinking about how he seemed to get excited about a ride in the car, which he did not know would be his last. I have to remember that for the past few days, he had not wanted to get up, even to eat or go to the bathroom. I have to stop thinking about how after the vet gave him the second injection, the one that shut down his brain, his body tried to take a breath. “Only a reflex action,” they said. “He’s not feeling anything. He has no heartbeat.” I was not prepared for that. I have to remember that he was too tired to go for walks anymore with the other dogs. I have to remember that he lost at least 10 lbs in the past year, even though we were feeding him more and bought him expensive dog food. I have to remember that yesterday when I made the call to the vet, he was shuddering in pain and his whole body was tense. I could feel his misery.
But it still doesn’t feel right.
And I have to let him go.
Go ahead over the Rainbow Bridge my sweet friend. Your job of protecting me and our home has been a job well done. Go ahead over. Play and swim to your heart’s content. I will see you on the other side.
I pray to God to take care of Jesse until I see him again. Heaven would be incomplete without my dogs there. I want to see Jesse and Dobbs and Sarah and Sandy and Lobo and Hoppy (and all the dogs yet to come) in heaven. I want to run through the woods with them. I want to see Jesse swim again in a mountain lake or run along the beach. That will be my heaven. Please God, let that be my heaven.