There are some decisions you only need to make as an adult.
Except if you’re the adult.
Some involve caring for children (not just having them, anyone can do that) or, on the other end, caring for a parent. Or being involved in a sibling’s death. Or elective surgeries. Or marriage. Or divorce. Or buying or renting.
Or putting down a pet.
This morning I followed through on the last one.
- – -
Because Eddy was well beyond his prime, had problems with his hips, blood leaking from his eye, couldn’t hold very much in for very long regarding either end (that’s probably enough), I thought this would be, perhaps, a welcome change. For us and for him.
Although I’ve had many pets throughout my life, I’ve not experienced the full lifespan of a dog. Cats, yes. But sorry, right now they don’t count.
For one reason or another we had to give them away. You could find comfort in that they were still hanging out, playing with a new family. That was easier.
Deciding to end the life of such a long-time friend is agonizing. And one that, although seemingly justified, never quite is. That’s what makes it one of “those” adult decisions.
And it makes you miss a parent.
“Hey, Dad. Um, the dog’s lookin’ pretty bad. Can you take care of him? Do what, ya know … needs to be done?”
… Excuse me?
Oh, I’m sorry. You’re waiting for me to answer? Well, in that case, no thanks, I’d rather not.
But nobody else is stepping up to the plate. It feels a bit like some rite of passage. If so, I’m unimpressed with the ceremony.
- – -
As we drove to the vet, Eddy and I, memories flowed in of when we first met.
Ian’s mom promised him that we’d get a puppy once she was done with school. When that day came we paid a visit to the old Dog Pound on 35th Avenue and Campbell. Ian played, chased and sat with this sweet, spry Beagle/Jack Russell mix. Soon he was ours and named Eddy, because in 2001, Ed, Edd and Eddy was our then 7-year-old’s favorite cartoon.
He stayed with Ian. Slept with him. Played with him. Ran like the wind with him. Scaled our 6 foot fence with no problem. Chased water out of a hose for far longer than you were willing to spray it. Eddy could be obnoxious at times. Insanely afraid of thunder and … folding clothes? Yeah, a little quirky. But what would you expect from our family?
- – -
I think he could tell something was up. He didn’t want to go in.
But after paperwork was completed too quickly, the assistant took him through the door that lead out of the waiting room. I could hear him whimpering while his nails scraped on the linoleum floor fighting as best he could. I walked toward the door and as I pushed it open, I looked back. He paused. And, with a face that seemed to know, he looked up at me.
I’ve one piece of advice: Don’t look back.
I hurried to my truck.
I grabbed a dozen or so old Wendy’s napkins out of the glove box and drenched them.
- – -
It’s cliche’ but so true. Dogs love you unconditionally. They’re consistent. During all the messy adult decisions and difficulties they’re there for you. And with you. They’re a constant, a thread that runs through the center of the ups and downs of life.
At least the good ones do.
Eddy was a good one.