For all who have ever owned a pet and had to say goodbye to them.
Here's a poem that I wrote as I contemplated:
There is a room, next door, where people and living creatures go
When their time in this room is past
They know not when, nor do I
When that auspicious time will be their last
I wait in this zone, this uncertain room
Waiting in case I am needed, for that time may come
When things that we cannot know yet, become known
Meanwhile I feel I’m barely living but waiting
I am needed, you see – not just for me, but others
Others who want to know or those that need my care
I am not free, it is my choice, but I live in this zone
Of the great unknown, sadly, accepting, philosophically you see
The feelings are both exponential yet numb
There is no fear but uncertainty, a sad duality yet certainty of fate
And still we live in this fear driven divisive world~
Cut down this, cut down that, get your medication or else
I do not know what it’s like to be you, nor you
Know not what it’s like to be me
All I know is that my heart is there for you, little tho that may count
A relic from my past of feeling, deep down, sadly... unloved
I cannot change what is done, only forward moving we go
Knowing my errors of the past and knowing there’s nothing to do
A certain apathy creeps in, what on earth can I do now
Whatever decision is taken – how can I be certain, it is sure for the best?
I wrote this before I had to make a decision that appeared to be for the best; no matter whether we make that decision or not, it's REALLY tough; I am grieving the loss of a pet that I devoted nearly 14 years to; I reflect on her earlier existence that I know not of; the scars that told me things had not been great, a paw that would get infected frequently due to the scar tissue, an ear that would get regularly infected and subsquently operated on ... the lumps and bumps that developed and sadly her arthritic legs that she used to bound up and down on when she was approximately four years old when we adopted her. She was rescued from the Bath Dogs and Cats Home; as I look at life nowadays, it is an ever increasing battle to do our best by these creatures who are either lost, abandoned or stray from their original home; perhaps to get away from an uncertain abuse. I feel strongly that my dog had been abused and as she aged, the scars took their toll within her. Let's not go down the vet bills route!
In the last few days of her life, she met up with her original "adopter", my daughter - it was clear that her legs no longer functioned properly and the following day she clamped her jaw shut and would no longer eat, although mildly tempted by a sausage that was subsequently abandoned. It is so sad to see a dog, that was once so active, now infirm and barely able to move without her legs giving way. I got her a dog buggy to help us both to get out and about:
Sometimes judgement was abound; it's not really a dog's life to go in a buggy, they should be out walking after all - they are dogs! But I felt this might have been giving her the best of both worlds; seeing the great outside for a good few sniffs and being let out to do her business; some may agree, some may not.
Either way, I hope she enjoyed her life with me and that the painful decision to finally let her go gave her the peace she needed. Healing now, over rainbow bridge.
I'd like to add I'm no stranger to losing pets, having had at least 5 cats and one rabbit since the 1970s, every pet gave so much joy but the time to release them nearly always happens sooner than we would really like.
To everyone who has loved and lost a pet, I raise my glass to you and celebrate their lives with you.