Personal Entry Here; just my musings.
We put Ben to sleep yesterday afternoon, and while it was painful as hell, it was the best thing we could have done for him. As I walked today, I realized that I wasn't questioning the decision AT ALL - which makes it clear to me that it was the right time, and the right decision, for us, and for him. I miss him, but I'm glad he didn't suffer.
I can honestly say, I didn’t know how I was going to deal with the actual act of putting Ben down. I had talked with David McDonald, our main vet in Park City, the day before, and he went through the process, and told me that he felt that it was probably the best way to go, to the extent that if he had incurable cancer and had lost all quality of life, he’d call his partner at the vet clinic and have him put him under. Maybe an exaggeration (maybe not!), but between that, and Gary’s comment that if we could put Ben down at a point where he was comfortable, not in excruciating pain, and not to the point that he had lost control of his bodily functions, I felt equipped to make the decision.
Actually, it was sort of tough. We didn’t know, when I took Ben in yesterday, if it was a joint pain thing, and he could get a cortisone shot, or if it was just the cancer winner. About 3am that morning, when I had carried Ben outside, I had a pretty good idea that it was the end, and I talked with him (Ben) about it. Ben seemed like he was done, though. He just seemed so tired. The guy fought the good fight, but ultimately, the cancer won.
I’m just glad that he was able to go with dignity. I always hoped that he’d be able to die without diapers on (it just doesn’t seem all that ‘manly’ – or even just dignified), and given the fact that we couldn’t get his right size diapers in, and we were making our own (not that this factored in to anything), it was easiest to take his diapers off to be examined. And he didn’t have diapers on when he was put down. It’s a little thing, but Ben With Diapers wasn’t TRULY who Ben was. He didn’t mind them, but he was so much more of a dog than what he was in the last few months. I guess for me, it was symbolic that he was his former self. The last few months were, but they weren’t HIM.
And while my beliefs of the afterlife are scattered across various faiths, and absences of faiths, I am 100% certain that Ben has been reunited with Billy, and he’s trying to reform Billy (with little faith that Billy can be reformed; if anything, he’s been storing up tricks to teach Ben). Regardless, I am certain that Ben and Billy are together again, playing like puppies. And if St. Francis is hanging around anywhere, I’m sure he’s trying to get the two of them to stop being so sneaky! *grin.
Ben holds a special spot in my heart, for many reasons. I’m so sorry that he’s gone, but I’m glad that he went with dignity. And I’m glad that he showed me that I can deal with this; I don’t have to fear old age with pets; it sucks, but the trade-off is worth it. I didn’t know Ben that long, but I can safely say that there is no way I’d pass on the pain on losing him, if it meant not having the joy of knowing him.
Requiescat in pace, amici. (And no, that probably isn’t conjugated right, but I can guarantee you that Ben isn’t going to worry about it!)