Some of you may recall that several weeks ago I wrote about the increasing severity of the illness of our little rat terrier Mosby. Well, it got to the point that we had to have him put down.
That’s always a terribly difficult decision. You’re often not sure if it’s really time, that he doesn’t have a few more good days, weeks or months.
But Mo, as we often affectionately called him, lost his appetite and began to eat just a few bites from his meals, meals that he gladly devoured in the past.. He was losing weight badly and we were afraid he would starve himself to death. But, despite a severe cough, he still enjoyed life as well as he was able.
Until the day that he threw up most of his midday meal. We knew then that the time had come. If he couldn’t keep food on his stomach, there was no hope.
So, in preparation, I hired a couple of young men to dig a grave for him in our backyard and a couple of days later we took him to the vet to be euthanized. You know what bothered me a lot? It was the fact that the poor little dog had no idea that his hours were numbered, that the only existence he had known and could conceive of was about to end.
Of course his last seconds were peaceful and quiet. He literally went to sleep painlessly from the overdose of anesthetic that caused his little heart to cease beating. The doctor checked him and rechecked him to make sure the medicine had worked. And indeed it had.
Mary and I shed tears (as we had been doing for a couple of days) for the little friend that loved and trusted us so much. Then we wrapped him up in a large pillowcase and brought him home. We placed his little bed at the bottom of the grave and gently lowered him in. And covered him with the earth to which his little bones will return.
I’d like to say that I described his loss on Facebook and we received a wonderful outpouring of sympathy and support from family and friends.
His loss leaves us with two dogs, Kate, a 15-year-old spaniel-chow mix, and Bea, a beagle/basset of about 8 years old. We’ve pretty much agreed that, at our age, we will acquire no more dogs. Losing them is just too hard. Mosby is now the third dog to lie buried in our yard. When Kate and Bea go, there shall be no more.
And Mary and I are not the only ones in our household who are grieving. Kate, who treated Mosby like her son, is still sad (six days after his passing as this is written) and looks about the house for him and then looks at us as if to say, “Where’s my boy?”
I expect she will forget him with time, something Mary and I are not likely to do.
I want to relate a story that could have been tragic, but one at which Mary and I can look back and chuckle about. After the grave was dug, with Mosby’s euthanasia scheduled for the next day, we noticed Kate had been outside for a very long time. We went into the back yard and didn’t see her. When we called out, her head popped up over near the fence. She had fallen into the open grave an looked just like a little soldier in a foxhole.
She couldn’t get out on her own so we helped her up and she trotted off wagging her tail. She wasn’t at all hurt, so we could look back on the incident with humor because she looked so cute with her head just above the rim of the hole The grim part, however, is that sometime in the future, Kate will occupy her own permanent place in our yard. Like I said, it’s just so hard losing them.
But I’ll end this column on the upbeat. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Rainbow Bridge. The story goes that when pets die they go to Heaven and cross over the Rainbow Bridge to play and experience joy, waiting for their owners to join them at some future time. When they see their owners coming, a wonderful reunion is held — human and dog reunited for ever. And I’m counting on that I can tell you.