Last night, and today, was tough. Freddie (13 year old border collie/Bernese mountain mix) was in a lot of pain. As I did so many years ago when he had surgery to remove a cancerous mass, I slept downstairs on the couch so he wouldn't have to negotiate stairs. This time, he couldn't even stand up without help. So I was up maybe 8 or 9 times in the night. Most of the time, most of the night, inside or outside, he whined. I've never heard that from him. Pain.
Today, I took him to the vet to put him down. Just the two of us (and the very compassionate vet). The end took just 15 seconds (saline solution, anesthetic, stop-the-heart, flush), $300. He sighed - in relief, I think. But I was with him, telling him to the end that he was a good boy.
My wife volunteered to come with me (a very kind gesture), but she had to work. I couldn't have that hanging over me all day, so I took him in after my son got up and said goodbye to him. I wrote this poem:
of the baby being born
is not the pain
of the mother
of the mother dying
is not the pain
of the child
The point being, I suppose, that although we may and do witness another's pain, ultimately, that pain isn't ours. But Freddie was a good and sentient being, and I feel his loss keenly.
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