As the time with our Goldens flies by, so many of us go through the "will I know when its time?” This is a crushing weight that we carry around as our sweet dogs deteriorate from disease or old age. I think about this often, especially now that we have committed to adopting senior Goldens. Their time with us is so abbreviated compared to raising them from pups. It would be too much to ask to have them live even twice as long as they do. As god's personal representative for unconditional love, that would be just too perfect; too much to ask; and as we know, life is not perfect. Choosing to surround ourselves with Golden Retrievers, the perfect creation of God and man; manufactured with the tools god left on this earth for us to sink or swim as we tweak breeds to serve our needs.
In March of 2011, I lay down beside Lady in the vet's office, her eyes and gums perfectly healthy, it was so hard to send her to the bridge. But I knew within two days, she would endure great suffering from dehydration and/or starvation. I swore after Devo, NEVER to let my dear, sweet Goldens waste away because I couldn't let them go.
With Easton, it presented me a unique puzzle I had not experienced in all my years. He was so brave and stoic, it was impossible to determine how ill he might be. Easton died peacefully during the early morning within a few hours of our vet appointment to evaluate his current lethargy. We discovered him at 6AM when Andi came down for tea and Easton’s breakfast. He lay still, so peaceful and relaxed in his favorite sleeping spot near his doggy door. Lesson learned - and that is our privilege, unquestioned by those who matter, those who get it, those who are as invested in the perfection that is our Golden dogs.
You can't tell most people about the death of your dog, not quite; there is an expectation that you shouldn't overreact, shouldn't place too much weight on this loss. In the whole scheme of thing, shouldn't this be a smaller matter? It's just a dog; get another one. One of the unspoken truths of American life is how deeply people grieve over the animals that live and die with them, how real that emptiness is, how profound the silence is these creatures leave in their wake. Our culture expects us not only to bear these losses alone, but to be ashamed of how deeply we feel them. The death of a pet is, after all, the first death most of us know. I know that is true for me.
Rest in peace my sweet, playful Easton boy. I will never forget you and will wait to hear your bark when we meet again at the Rainbow bridge.