Sunday, July 5, 2015
Even when you know it's coming, saying good-bye is never easy.
On Thursday, June 25, I took Indy for his final trip to the vet's office. He had stopped eating. And then he stopped drinking. He seemed almost in a daze, as though half in this world and half in another. I knew it was time to make the call I'd been dreading.
My Indy was a happy boy. In his younger years I signed us up for every class I could find. We did obedience training, flyball classes, and agility classes. He earned Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International titles. We visited nursing homes where he showed off what he had learned (while patiently enduring the silly costumes I brought along) to the delight of residents.
We participated in humane society fundraisers, and he even appeared on our local NBC affiliate television station (wriggling like a worm in the arms of a T.V. weatherman) to promote an upcoming humane society event. In those days, my Indy got around.
As he and I both became older, our activities slowed. He enjoyed visiting our place at the river, sniffing the scents of the woods and wild things and warming his old bones on the sun-heated boulders surrounding the water.
Finally, even those adventures faded. With eyesight and hearing both nearly gone, Indy spent most of his time sleeping, perhaps dreaming of his youthful days. I'd wake him up to go outside and he'd follow me with the quiet dignity of an old dog.
On the day I drove Indy to the vet's office, I had to carry him inside. His doctor administered the medication while I stroked his head and talked to him. I felt like he could hear me speak and he seemed to listen to my voice until his valiant little heart finally stopped beating.
There are few things in life more enduring than the love of a good dog. Indy was my shadow and best buddy for more than 15 years. I miss hearing the jangle of his tags, seeing him nap in his small bed, and having his soft warmth curled in my lap.
But I do believe heaven holds a special corner for all our beloved creatures. I like to think Indy is there now running fast as the wind to chase a tennis ball and romping through tall grass with a host of new pals in a place where no one ever grows weary.
Until we meet again, my old friend...