The thing I’ve been dreading all year happened yesterday; our adored Jack Russell Rodney died. He was very old (16 and a half) and his life was, for the most part, happy and carefree. We helped him to die with serenity by asking our caring vet to euthanize him because he’d become very ill and frail. At his age, his future was unlikely to brighten.
At the point we intervened, he’d been refusing all food and to go for walks for several days. Instead, he lay sighing, dozing and watching me flap around him, angst ridden, with the saddest, most knowing expression. His eyes said ‘I’m done, mummy – time for me to sleep.’
So we took the pain and suffering away from him – heaping it instead on ourselves. Mark and I are in tatters and have wept buckets all week long, but today was off the scale. Rodney made us a family, now we are just a middle-aged couple. He made me a mum, now I am just an under-employed copywriter. He made both of us better human beings; having a dog is like having a toddler – they are always helpless no matter what age they are, or how long you have them.
Now he’s gone and the pain is visceral. The Rodney shaped hole in our hearts may heal eventually – or it may not. It has just happened and it is too soon to say how we’ll cope. I hope we’ll both have as much dignity in Rodney’s passing as he did (no sign of that so far).
I wrote a few words to sum up how I was feeling the night before our boy died. I make no apology for it being sentimental.
Sweet dreams my old dog
If tears were a finite thing
I would fill some buckets then blow my nose
And get on with life
Among the living and not the ruins of the dead
If sadness were a finite thing
I would sigh and weep, and then go about
My daily routine
With gusto and care, and a cheerful smile
If love were a finite thing
I’d take comfort to know, that every last drop was poured into you
My dear old furry friend
Our hearts and souls entwined, until we meet again