Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I will be I...

The quote for the title of this posting, if I remember correctly, is from one of the poems by Chad Walsh in the "Psalm of Christ," and it is from the last line of a particular one, which was about Judas Iscariot at Judgment Day, and how he had no where to hide.

And I apologize for the huge gap in posting. December is always a rough month for me. And depression seems to get worse as the "holidays" approach.

We put our dog, Bosco, to sleep on the 26th. I've been upset by it since. Here's a picture of him...from happier times.

My wife and I made a point to "recycle" animals rather than doing the expensive "purebred" puppy routine, going to pounds or shelters if we were in the market for a pet. We found Bosco at a pound about a year after our previous dog died, and we couldn't believe what a happy fellow he was. Very friendly. As we had done with potential, previous prospects, we said if he were still there when his quarantine period was over and unclaimed, we'd take him. We had gone back other times only to find the ones we had wanted to be gone, either too late as others must have had interest as well, or claimed by owners. That time when my wife went back, he was there and we adopted him. Don't know what his name was before, but "Bosco" seemed to fit him. He became a part of our family. He was about 4 years old when we got him, and we had him for over 10 years.

We don't know what he was supposed to be. Mostly Corgi, I suppose. His tongue had some purple marbling on its tip, which we thought might be from some Chinese dog ancestry. And those bright eyes and expressive "bat" ears! What a character!

He had to sleep next to me at least part of the night, and would whine for permission before jumping up into bed. I usually sit on the floor to watch tv, and he would lie down next to me. I noticed that he would'nt jump up into bed this past month, figuring that he was getting older, and a couple of time would lift him up. He shuffled more and didn't act like he wanted to play as much as he used to. Recently I noticed he seemed to be a bit bloated, and I wondered if he hadn't gotten into the neighbors' trash and had over eaten. He could be a bit of little pig.

He also had an annoying habit of taking a mouthful of his dogfood and walk it over to the living room rug, drop it, and eat it off the rug. A bit irritating. A week ago he picked up some food and went to the carpet and dropped it, but walked off and left it. I didn't realize it at the time, but he'd quit eating. Christmas Day, I noticed he was lethargic and was unstable on his feet. He was never a traveler as he would get car sick, so we usually took him to the vet to kennel him. We were going to try something different, as he didn't like going to the vet, and had a "sitter" lined up...a lady from our church who works for a vet and loves animals.

On Friday, we called our regular vet as he wasn't better and seemed worse, but he wouldn't be able to see him until late in the day, and we were scheduled to go to the in-laws that evening. So we called the "sitter" and asked what she thought. The vet she worked for could see him that morning, so my wife took him while I did some last minute shopping. But when I called her around noon, my wife told me it "wasn't good."

I met her at home, and she had brought Bosco home with her. The vet discovered a large mass, somewhere between orange size to grapefruit size, and our options were limited. Bosco would die in a few days if nothing was done about the mass. He was also going blind, and he was over 14 years old. The vet said he didn't know if the mass were malignant, and wouldn't without operating. And even if he did operate, there was no guarantee Bosco would survive it. If the tumor was cancerous, there was every possibility the cancer would return. All the "head" information we use to justify and assuage our consciences.

We took him back to the vet to "put him to sleep." I held him and the vet injected him with an anesthetic. Bosco screamed and I began crying. He quieted and started going limp. Then the vet gave him the "other' injection and Bosco gave a final whimper. Soon, he was gone.

I took his collar, a sad momento, and his dogtag would make a "tinkling" sound...the sound I heard often when he trotted up the hallway, or outside, or when he jumped up on the couch or bed.

I tried to not be a "downer" at the in-laws Friday night, and hoped we might make it a short visit and go home Saturday evening. But we stayed, and returned home Sunday afternoon. My wife had been worried about me because I'd been depressed as Christmas approached, and now with this, wondered if it would be too much. I stayed away from everyone if I felt things getting to me, but it was tough. There were lots of pets around. Everyone had a dog. I had trouble sleeping, and early Sunday morning took my sketch book and started drawing in the bathroom. I'd never been able to "cartoon" Bosco before, but here's what I came up with...I plan on using it when I finally get off my butt and do the "Dibble" strip. I'd like to remember him as the happy, little guy he was.

I've been told I did the right thing, but I can't say it feels like it. I continue to look around for him here at home. I also found I can't jiggle his collar for the "tinkling" sound because the cat immediately begins to look for him. He misses him too. I've been told it will get better, that we do grieve for our pets. And others have shared their pain at putting down a pet and the heartache that accompanies it. For now, though, in my memory, I can still hear his crying out, and see his sad face as he died.

He was my friend, and I feel like I betrayed him.