My dog is getting me ready.
She knows what’s coming in the way dogs know before we do.
About a dangerous stranger, earthquakes, or bacon.
She’s gently letting me know it will soon be time for her to go.
It’s one of an infinite number of brilliant conversations I’ve had with my best friend.
The friend who has never uttered a word in our more than 15 years together, but has taught me so much.
“She’s not going anywhere,” Husband tries to soothe and reassure me.
I appreciate this man who is wise in so many things. I also know he doesn’t speak Dog.
She’s letting me know in the way she’s eased me back from three, to two, to one walk a day, like weaning a toddler from multiple naps.
The way her back legs get a little weaker every day.
The way she’s had a few accidents.
Hers is not a straight decline.
She’s had some senior moments followed by some almost puppy like days, well, moments actually, if I’m being honest.
More than anything, it’s the look in her eyes. The look that says, “You’ve done so much for me these last 15 years, but you’re going to have to do one more. I didn’t sign up to be here as long as you did. You’re going to have to let me go.”
I know she’s not the dog who will want heroic measures.
The folks down the street are paying huge vet bills to give their dog chemo. I get it.
I’ve had that pet.
My first 3-legged cat was that way. A trip to the vet was an excuse to go for a ride in the car and get cuddles from the vet techs. He was up for every treatment to keep him here 20 years.
Not this dog. She has hated the vet since her first puppy shots. Any trip there has always been agony.
Even my wonderful vet reminded me of this when I called him a couple weeks ago when Darla was having a bad day.
“I’m happy to look at her,” he said. “But if you’re clear she won’t want anything done, why are you bringing her in?”
Thank God for a vet who turns away a chance to make a buck, who helps save Darla from my selfish wish to keep her here forever.
I know there’s a chance, you understand, Dear Reader.
That you’ve had to say, “Goodbye” to your best friend, too.
If you’ve done it before, like I did with Tripod, you can see signs you denied the last time.
Now, I can listen.
The master teacher is giving one last lesson.
Make her comfortable.
Enjoy every single walk, snuggle, and slurpy kiss.
It could be our last.
I look deep into her cloudy chocolate brown eyes, pools of love and wisdom, for the strength to give her the gift she’s earned a million times over the last 15 years.
The strength to let her go when it’s her time.
Find more stories on my website, DarynKagan.com