Today, I joined my wife and daughter at the vet’s office to help Jekyll cross the rainbow bridge. I know that Jekyll did not stroll across the bridge, he ran with joy at full speed. Jekyll was a good boy.
He was my daughter’s dog. Twelve years ago, she was working at the Helping Hands Humane Shelter. It was a job she loved, but her involvement in the disposal process eventually got to her and she left. While she was there, she alerted us of old small dogs whose time was running out. We adopted a couple of these elderly dogs and gave them a nice retirement. Our vet told me that Lottie, (she won the lottery- she already had the Bingo marker of death dobbed on her tag), would be a good dog for a veterinary class- she had so many things wrong with her. He estimated that she was 18 years old. She lived with us for two fun years. She was a delightful Toy Poodle and one of the best we have had. But I digress…
One day at the shelter, a tiny puppy came in. The puppy had apparently been run over in a parking lot. One eye was dangling and a front leg was broken. My daughter fell in love. She talked the consulting vet into removing the eye. Somehow, the rest of the dog healed.
Jekyll was mostly Corgi and had a beautiful brindle coat. He knew one trick: “Wink”. He was mostly a very gentle dog, although when the new baby came he was jealous. He looked like a junkyard dog, with one eye and twisted front legs. If someone came to the door, he transformed into the meanest looking vicious dog you can imagine. However, come in and sit down and Jekyll would beg for attention.
My daughter has had some rough times. Rotten men and poor choices. Struggles with school and times of near poverty in crappy housing. Jekyll was her faithful companion and protector. We would sometimes bring a big sack of dog food with our care packages. My daughter loved Jekyll so much. They were best friends.
For a few years Jekyll lived with us, while she lived in apartments that didn’t allow large dogs. Jekyll wasn’t that big really, he usually was just over the limit. We loved Jekyll as our own- he was, after all our Grand-dog. And boy did he love it at our place! Good food and plenty of it, other dogs to play with and a big fenced yard. Every time he would go outside, he and the neighbor’s dog would run back and forth along the fence line. I think that this was his favorite activity. Despite his twisted legs, he would run like the wind. He also liked to fetch. He and I spent hours throwing and retrieving.
So today was the day. We took him to Doc Henderson, a wonderful vet and a wonderful human being. He has done this for us many times before. He always weeps a bit as we cry our eyes out. Such a good man.
I slipped my daughter a sheet of paper as I left to return to work. This poem. I sent it to Doc Henderson last time. I’m sure I copied it from a similar diary on KOS. I tear-up every time I read it. So, here it is again:
If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.
You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.
We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.
Take me where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.
Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.
--- Anonymous ---
One of the many things I love about this community is the love and compassion we share about our dogs and cats and other critters that share our lives. Let us not change that, shall we?