Last Thursday night, I had to put my dog Maggie to sleep 🙁 I got her about nine years ago from our local Humane Society, and she’s been a faithful pet ever since.
When I first saw her, I liked her, but when the kennel folks brought us together, she peed all over the floor. Not a good sign. They begged me to give her a chance. She had been abused by her former owner, and she as very scared around men. Great. But I took her home, and it turned out she was a great choice.
From our first days together, for the life of me I couldn’t understand how anyone would hurt her. She was such a great dog. In my mind, I could always sense that she knew she had been rescued and was somewhere safe. To me, she always had a big grin, and on the top of her head, a heart-shaped patch of white fur.
But we all get old, even dogs. First, her hearing went. Then progressive problems with her hips. Lastly a corneal ulcer took the sight out of her left eye. She didn’t like being carried up and down the stairs, but she tolerated it. I guess she got used to not being able to hear and see out of one eye. It was hard for us to watch, and I knew the time was coming. Then it came.
What a gut-wrenching decision! When it was over, a good friend joined me for a few glasses of wine. We talked about travels in Italy, not about dogs. Until the very end. I told him it would be a very long time before I got another dog. These past six months were just too painful. He said he understood, and would probably feel the same way.
Two days later, a co-worker and fellow pet owner told me about a website called petfinders. This site is where she found her dogs. “Check them out when you’re ready,” she said. Within an hour, I was online. Still too soon, but I realized something.
I really love having a dog around the house. Don’t get me wrong. I miss Maggie a lot! I’ll get over her loss one day in the not too distant future, and then go out and find another pet. I don’t think I’ll ever find one with a heart-shaped patch of fur on the top of her/his head, but you just never know.
Folks, we can’t stay stuck where we are. Although grief is a normal part of life, it’s not healthy to stay in it forever. Through prayer and the help of others (sometimes professional), we move past it and can then get our lives back on track.
If you have a an animal, show them a little love and give them an extra treat (or two) today. If they are anything like Maggie, they’ll appreciate it more than we may know 🙂