Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The death of a hunting dog is only made tolerable by the memory of his life

When it was finished, I stood in the parking lot holding my sobbing wife, staring at the veterinary clinic.

Though Chase, my hunting dog, had shown remarkable valor and bravery in his pain, at length I needed to shut the suffering down. The tumor had spread through his nasal passage, down the jaw line up into his eye and brain.

Once so tireless in the blind, once able to make such remarkable retrieves, he could finally, barely hobble from the house to the yard. His hearing was gone, his eyesight was clouded, the tumor continued to grow, yet he fought the pain, he endured the bleeding, his was a valiant life and a valiant death.

Life has a course to follow. I once chose a puppy. That puppy grew and matured into a wonderful hunting dog. He became my constant hunting companion. We enjoyed many years together. He then grew old, feeble, and died. Life ran its full course. Yet, there will be no more sunrises to share, no more boat rides to the blind, no more remarkable retrieves to brag about.

Sitting there so trusting, Chase took the injection, sighed and went limp in my arms. I hadn’t been able to contain myself then and the tears began to flow. I didn’t want him to go, I didn’t want it to end. After what he had given me for 17 years this was the best that I could do for him? He deserved more, he deserved better.

The realization is, my hunting partner of 14 years is gone.

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