Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dog Story--September 15

I posted on Saturday that a co-worker adopted a dog three weeks ago, and that the dog became very ill.
I'm sad to report that the dog didn't survive her ordeal with seizures, and distemper. My friend said she never saw her husband cry as hard as he did that morning.
What is it about the death of a canine companion that causes us to grieve so deeply?   I've reflected on this many times in the year and a half since Maggie our basset hound left us.
Maggie lived in the present. She didn't reminisce...and she could make no plans for the future beyond her next meal, walk, or treat.  She knew how to manipulate us to get what she wanted, but did so with such goofy sincerity and eagerness, that it made me laugh, and I usually gave in.  What did it hurt, really, as long as she was safe and healthy?    Her dependence on us aroused in me an instinct for protection and love so free of ulterior motives, that I felt a child-like, innocent exuberance with her.  I could not bear the idea of her being hurt.  I fiercely  protected her from bad weather (in her coat and head scarf, she looked like an extra in "Fiddler on the Roof"), kept her away from threatening neighborhood dogs, and did what I could to avoid seeing loneliness in her already droopy eyes..  And she rewarded us with good humor, playfulness, and a willingness to keep us warm in bed. 
What doesn't go away is the pain of not being able to explain to her why she had to leave us (she was being destroyed by seizures)....I have felt that I could never forgive myself for that ultimate betrayal.....But Mark and I remind each other that in her own way she never questioned us (except to try to escape from a bath or nail-clipping) and would hold nothing against us. 
The veterinary staff was extremely kind, and did nothing to exploit our grief. 
The daily pain has subsided, but there's an emptiness ....And anyone who knew her (she was sort of a neighborhood ambassador) understands....
We sprinkled her ashes in a small corner rose garden..the roses are flourishing...and the rabbits and squirrels still play there...they miss her too.
And so, I've dispensed with the sad story right away....and from now on, all of my Maggie anecdotes will be happier ones. 

No comments:

Post a Comment