Saturday, November 1, 2008
Many, many moons ago, when David and I were first married, we found ourselves, for the first time ever, unfettered by anyone saying, "No, you cannot keep the kitten, I don't care if it followed you home."
The end result was that within 7 weeks of buying our first house, we had brought home 2 ginormous puppies to join the three cats we already had. Then, 2 more cats were saved from the "certain death" of not having us for a home. Then, a year later, another puppy that brought new meaning to the word 'Ginormous.' (yeah. It's word. Look it up. It's after 'enormous' and right before 'gigantic' and is a synonym for 'gargantuan.')
I remember sitting down for a cold beer and a quiet read of book while discussing that fact the we had a whole house full of very young animals. While we didn't have enough brains to say no to anything fuzzy, we did have enough brains to know that having so many young animals at once would mean that in a decade or so, they would all be old... and passing away at about the same time.
It's been around 12 years since then. Our St. Bernard passed 2 years ago from cancer. A heart condition and coyotes took their toll on a few cats. One horse died from a chronic disease, the other from a freak accident. Our rats died of very, very, very old age. In the past 2 years, my oldest daughter has had to say goodbye to too many beloved friends. It's just about heartbreaking.
For the past 6 months I've been trying to gently tell her that the time is coming for our two ancient Great Pyrenees, Aspen and Klondike. At 12 years old they have gone well over 2 years past the top life expectancy for their breed. For the last few vet appointments, the Dr. has stopped short of asking me what experimental therapy I've been using on them to keep them going this long. But no matter how much you hope, eventually the clock catches up with all of us.
Klondike passed away peacefully in David's arms this morning. Her poor body just couldn't keep up with her spirit any more.
I think back on how young and foolish we were to bring in so many animals to our lives in such a short time. Foolish enough to not think of how heartbreaking it would be for us to say goodbye them all at once as age catches up with them a lot sooner. But really, how sad for a child who never chose to have such a large and furry family, and watch them leave one by one.
"How does anyone have one dog? What do you do with just one dog?"