Monday, October 20, 2008

This good dog goes to Heaven: 1990-2008

When a life comes to an end, be it human or animal, it ought to be done in peace – without pain and suffering – after the longest journey possible. For a dog, “the big sleep” should come at the end of a wonderful dream – running free through a long field, chasing squirrels, birds or cats.
It really shouldn’t be done by appointment; somehow it’s not … natural.
Blarney was a faithful, loving companion to my wife for more than 18 years, and to me for the last eight. However, at 18 ½ years old (incredibly old for a Jack Russell terrier), the time has come to say goodbye. It was no longer fair to keep him heavily medicated against pain and the ravages of age, simply to see him struggle so much to execute his rudimentary functions.
So on a Monday, we packed his bags, went to the vet’s office and sent him quietly to Heaven.
Blarney got his name because he was born on St. Patrick’s Day and was a rascally livewire during his life. While I only knew him in his September years, my wife’s tales of his antics were legendary – of the terrier trait of digging, chasing and “burying” bones and toys in the house. They would be discovered later between couch pillows and in corners of closets.
When she had to make frequent excursions to San Antonio, to visit her late parents during times of illness, Blarney was her sole companion, curled up in a ball on the floorboard of the car. He was not the world’s greatest passenger, as evident afterwards by mounds of shed hair from his coat. Yet there he was and there he listened as she played her music, National Public Radio or news channels.
In later years, the car mean going to the veterinarian, among reason to shed, but the final trips produced no such panic. It was as it he was signaling his surrender.
Dogs are not human being and do not have the same constitutional, inalienable rights as homo sapiens. But they ARE one of God’s nicer creatures and deserve the proper love and respect as such.
Like any animal, upon entrance to one’s home, they should be objects of only love and proper treatment; never subject to one iota of abuse or be trained in any form of abusive behavior. Tragically, some canine breeds have been engineered by cruel humans to exhibit anti-social behaviors ... and act upon those criminal impulses. As is the case with hatred and bigotry among people, it is instilled at the home during development. Puppies, like babies, are always innocent until subject to their environment.
And now there exists an eerie silence in our home, knowing the sound normally associated with our friend is forever extinguished. In the coming days, we will have to collect the remnants of his life (food/water bowls, beds, toys). Tears might spontaneously flow when we gaze at the place she used to sleep or play and no words will be needed as explanation.
In Judaism, there is a mourning period, known as shiva, where the family “sits” for 30 days to properly honor and mourn the deceased. Candles are lit and prayers (the kaddish) recited. Since Blarney was tagged with an Irish name, perhaps a wake during next year’s North Texas Irish Festival would be more appropriate.
Friends can hoist their Guinnesses to Heaven and remember a nice, old dog that brought unconditional love and joy to one home for a long, long time.
Now if I can only find where he buried my slippers …


LTurner said...

To Blarney! Hip, hip, hurrah! A great little guy.

Alexandra said...

This is Ali i just wanted to say that was a great article and i wish Blarney was still here