Monday, June 22, 2009

One of the Eight

Earlier this summer, I posted 8 promises I made to myself, thanks to magpiegirl and her fabulous blog.

Here we are, nearing the end of June (!) and I pat my back with some progress. Sadly, some of my progress means grieving. Our sweet dog, Chewy, had to be put to sleep on June 9th after 12 fantastic years with our family. Chewy, you might remember, was a huge old Rotty who thought he was a cat. I called him "E's dragon," because he always slept at the foot of our 5 year old's bed, protecting him.

Sparing the details, suffice it to say his demise was quick and relatively pain free (as far as we know). In a shocking twist, I was charged with this final task, a day of vet's visits and finally the putting down. I say shocking because I am pet-ambivalent. Critters populate this house because I am a sucker for my children. I make sure there is food and they get outside for personal business but that's all they get from me. Love and petting and all that, they get from three happy children.

Turns out, this putting a dog down business is tough, even for the "pet ambivalent." I suppose I find Chewy's connection to our family on a broader plane. My sister-in-law who adopted him witnessed Chewy's birth. He was present and loving when my mother-in-law passed away suddenly and he was a solid soldier friend to my father-in-law in that painful hour of grief after her loss. Chewy seemed like a connection to the past, to people and memories and times that only exist in the ephemera. And so saying goodbye to him was like releasing that tenuous grasp on those vague figures.

I cried like a baby. I blubbered and blubbered. I even took his collar! I stayed right by his big old sad face until he was still and then I stayed some more. I felt a shift in my heart, and I could finally admit that I loved that dumb old dog.

So you see? I am making progress on my 8 promises. I am embracing my inner pet owner. Or maybe the pets are embracing me?


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry about Chewy! I am pet-ambivalent too, which is strange because I was a rabid animal lover when I was younger. I think children just filled the 'caretaking' place in my heart and I find myself thinking more about the fur everywhere and poop in the yard and smell of the food (ew)...all this as we are strongly considering getting a dog, after 12 pet-free years, because a pre-adolescent boy's just gotta have a dog, right?

    But I can see myself in your position--deeply mourning the death of a dog I didn't even think I liked in the first place. So sorry Chewy had to go. :(

  2. So sorry for your loss. I just went through what you did last month. Hearing it put so beautifuuly into wirds really touched my heart. ♥ (SewingExaminer - a fellow Twitterer.)

  3. MeaganFrancis thank you for your comment. Funny how our feelings about animals changed based on our life situation. As a child, you loved animals. As an adult, you know the realities involve early walks, poop on the carpet and even death. I hope you find a dog that suits your family and your preadolscent. We have one of those, too, and she needs the responsibility of a dog. He helps her.

    SewingExaminer, thanks for writing and your kind words. Sorry you also experienced the same thing. It is hard being a person, all that feeling and everything. Happy to be getting to know you.