Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Man Who Played God

Doree Shafrir:

Lee getting old reminds me of my own mortality; in her I see what it is to become elderly, to not be able to do the things you used to be able to do, to have things happen slowly, seemingly forever, and then very and irrevocably quickly. And for this I am irrationally and deeply jealous of people whose dogs die suddenly and young, because although they feel a different kind of pain, this is something they never have to face.

The night I decided to put Lee down, I sat alone in my apartment at my computer for hours, mindlessly listening to music and reading Twitter and Tumblr, and sobbing, those deep kinds of sobs where you can’t breathe and you can’t control the tears, which just keep coming, even when you think you don’t have any left. It seemed unjust and yet fair that she had no idea what was to happen the next day, and every time I thought about that I cried more.

The hardest thing I found about having to put my own dogs to sleep was that "unjust and yet fair" awareness. I know it had to be done, yet I couldn't help but feel sympathy for those who would rather do their best to keep their pets comfortable until fate makes the decision for them. Knowing the exact date and time, having chosen it myself, imbues so many actions with a immensely heavy, crushing significance -- This is the last walk I'll take her on; this is the last meal he'll ever have; next week, by this time...

I console myself by thinking of it in terms of me having done my job of shepherding them safely and happily through their lives, but that responsibility can still weigh heavily regardless.