The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 January 2003

Very much on a human scale

One of the reasons I have resisted getting a pet is that I know the poor creature's time on earth is short, and dealing with the end of that time is likely to cause me the sort of emotional upheaval I would prefer to avoid — it's not exactly like losing a family member, but it's close enough.

A couple of weeks ago, Alan Sullivan described the last few hours of his beloved retriever:

I kneel to rub her head and neck, then I press my cheek against the soft fur of her shoulder. Long and rangy for a Labrador, Maud has shrunk from a robust eighty pounds to a gaunt sixty. Her limp flews tremble with pleasure at my attention, and the rotten teeth chatter. Those teeth are her bane. She can scarcely eat any more, and she wouldn't survive another major round of dentistry.

All right, I'm rationalizing. And I keep thinking that Steve or someone else might contemplate similar rationales over me some day.

The vet comes in three hours.

I had read that when it was a new entry, and I promptly put it out of my mind alongside the other things I'd rather not contemplate. And it stayed there until yesterday, when Bill Peschel reported on the death of the family's senior house cat:

Ever try to explain to a five-year-old girl about death? It wasn't pretty. Nor to hold your 12-year-old son, who grew up with the cat, as he's sobbing into your chest, full of understanding that, eventually, we all go, and that, if he's lucky, he'll get to bury his mom and dad before he, too, shuffles off into eternity.

There really isn't anything else I can say after that.

Posted at 1:02 PM to Life and/or Death

TrackBacks if any:

Well, down through the years I've lost a lot of pets -- hit by cars, killed by dogs, poisoned by neighbors unknown, jumped over a fence while still chained up (that was the hardest one to take).

The main effect it all had on me when my mother died 11 months ago was to make me think I was ready to deal with losing a person I loved.

Not even close. But I hate to try to imagine how it would have been if I'd never dealt with death before at all.

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at 3:12 PM on 1 January 2003

What Kevin said. Word for word.

Posted by: vickie` at 4:20 PM on 1 January 2003

Skip the accent grave. I finished the Mumms this afternoon.

Posted by: Vickie at 4:21 PM on 1 January 2003