Well, here I am on that old, familiar trail… sad, uncertain days and nights spent shepherding a beloved pet through his final season of life. One of the hardest aspects of this long walk is bearing the responsibility of deciding when it’s time to say “goodbye.” It’s the age old ‘quality of life’ dilemma that is so easy to discuss in the abstract, but nothing short of harrowing when you are this close, this emotional and this accountable.
Late last night after several rounds of listless pacing, my sweet pup finally curled up in an exhausted heap under the nightstand next to my bed. I slipped out from under my quilt, slid down onto the carpet and stroked his little head. I looked deep, deep into those hazy eyes hoping.. praying.. for guidance.
But there was no mystical message, no clear sense of how to proceed. What I saw instead is what I’ve seen every day for almost sixteen years. It’s what I saw in his bright, eager eyes on the day we attached a big red bow to his cage in the pet store and surprised our daughter on her 8th birthday: unconditional love, total devotion and trust.