I wrote the skeleton of this story a couple of days before I had to euthanize my therapy dog Ani.
The question I awoke with that morning was: If you could never eat an apple again would you wish to experience it in all other forms or would you choose to have the apple disappear from all your senses?
Memory can be “madness” and awareness is sometimes the suffering. Life is basically memory and imagination if in fact there is a difference.
It seems obvious that anyone would choose to see apple trees or notice the smell of baked apple pie but the alternative might be less painful. If one is unaware do they suffer less?
The experience of missing out involves a knowledge of or expectation of something different. Being five minutes late for the bus is being fifteen minutes early for the person next to you. Both kick at the cold but the same event is grief on either side of expectation and ultimately acceptance.
Having three brothers I was accustomed to missing out on apple pie but when I was incarcerated and hospitalized I seldom experienced the depth of specific disappointment. A slight awareness and imagination was tortuous but to have been fully aware of the actual taste of my Mom’s apple pie or the feel of warm sand and rhythmic waves would have exacerbated my ‘madness.’
Reading these thoughts in light of the unexpected passing of my pet leaves me not with an answer but another question: Would you choose the experience knowing the pain that is inevitable or is Love itself an upfront acceptance of and or investment in loss?
Most of us know triumph but everyone knows sorrow. As I type this my dog Ani is growing cold in the back of my car. She was euthanized today and I am doing my best to procure similarities with 5.5% alcohol. Ani had bone cancer and one of her bones was fractured and disintegrating. Now I am.
If you’ve owned a dog you have or will have to say goodbye. To say I was fighting back tears at the veterinarian’s view of things is laughable but I tried.
Ani wasn’t an average dog that I crated up and cursed the cold with twice a day. She was my therapy and only friend. We spent the last 10 years in each other’s company 24/7.
I did not train her but if I swore she nuzzled up to me. She knew I was having a hard time if I cursed. I guess I will have to come to terms with the fact that now no-one will love me when I am unlovable.
The veterinarian said it would only cost me 30 bucks for paw prints and a measly $400 for some assholes who didn’t love my dog to guarantee that the ashes in the urn were in fact only Ani. Screw you and your mourning marketing. Poverty is impervious.
If you’re local you’ll wonder how this asshole expects to bury a dog in March. I half built a granite garden within view of Ani’s bed in the house. That is where Ani will rest. About all I have to do is thaw 15 bags of topsoil from whichever garden centre is open and stocked.
I don’t know what most people say to their dog as they slip away but I said “thank you.” I said “thank you” and I massaged the inside of Ani’s ears like I always did.
When I first got Ani I named her sANIty. I was dissuaded by the premise that she sounded like a boat but in hindsight calling her from a distance would have been problematic. “Sanity,” “Sanity Come.” If it were that easy to summon sanity you wouldn’t be reading my blog. Part of me will always call Ani from a distance but our closeness can never be argued.
I dedicate this story to all therapy and service dogs. Very few wear a vest.