If there's a dog heaven, I hope it's filled with rawhide chews.
There'd better be long grassy spaces perfect for fetching tennis balls, damn it. And someone to throw them nonstop.
It has to have warm ponds to swim in and jackrabbits to chase, soft sand to roll in and bushes to sniff.
I want to — today I need to — believe that creatures that bring so much joy while alive can experience reciprocity tenfold in death.
Our dog Finn died on Saturday. His demise was swift and came far too soon. At almost six years old, our yellow Lab should've had at least that much more time to romp and poop. Instead, on New Year's Day while running after a ball, he passed out. The next day we learned, in one of those surreal and awful moments, that he had a serious heart block. The only treatment option was a pacemaker . . . if we could even find someone in NM to do it and/or if we could afford it.
The decision wasn't ours to make.
When our vet came over to give Finn another EKG last Friday, he told us nothing had gotten better. We weren't surprised but thought we'd have more time with our beloved friend. We could keep him happy and loved. He could still visit his favorite rocks in the neighborhood and mark them. We'd cherish our time with him and make sure he didn't suffer at all.
The vet warned us that Finn's death would probably come when he got excited, so we walked more softly and didn't make extremely loud noises. None of our efforts worked well. Finn loved to jump and bark and greet people as if they were the most important beings in his doggie universe. He was just too damn happy to settle down.
The vet went on to say that we should prepare our children since Finn's death would most likely be traumatic: he'd jump up in joy, convulse with a heart attack and keel over.
Finn didn't die that way.
Saturday morning, he woke up frisky. My husband Peter took him for a good walk and came home optimistic. Finn hadn't had a single fainting spell. Peter went to work and the rest of us went about our business. At around noon, I noticed Finn on our couch. He looked a little odd. I petted him and watched him sleep, his breathing slow and regular. Fifteen minutes later, my younger daughter came into my office and said, "Mom, Finn looks funny. His tongue is hanging out and he's not responding."
It was that simple, that pure.