When we went to the Post Office to check the mail today, there was an envelope in the box from the Deschutes County Dog Licensing Department. It was the annual renewal notice for Buddy the Dog’s license. The card inside contained all the details about Buddy’s breed (mixed), color (black and brown), size (just right), and about our contact information, and it had instructions for renewing Buddy’s license to practice being a dog for another year.
At the bottom of the form was a box to check if we were not renewing the license because “The dog is no longer in my care.” And below the check box was a blank line labeled “Reason.”
I checked the box, confirming that “the dog is no longer in my care.” Then I thought about the reason.
- The reason is that when we got Buddy I was 60 and he was about a year old. And while I was slowly (it didn’t seem slow at the time!) making my way from 60 to 71, Buddy was living a whole wonderful, happy, dog lifetime.
- The reason is that there are some things in life you just can’t fix no matter how hard you try!
- The reason is that after caring for him through ACL surgeries on both back legs, and making sure he had all his shots, and feeding him, and protecting him, and giving him the best life we could, he got sick with something the vet couldn’t cure.
- The reason is that the world we live in, the real world, has light and dark, easy and hard, good and bad, joy and pain, love and loss. And we loved him and we lost him! (By the way, the predictable pain of loss is never a good reason not to take the joyful risk of loving long and deeply! I promise you that!)
- The reason is that we had to make one of the most difficult decisions of our long and happy lives and put Buddy down so he wouldn’t suffer, and then second-guess ourselves for the next few weeks even though we knew then and we know now we did the right thing at the right time.
- You want the reason the dog is no longer in my care? Those are the reasons! But even I know they didn’t want a philosophical exploration of the amazing relationships that develop between people like us and our dogs.
So I wrote “the dog died” and sealed the form in the envelope and took it to the Post Office. Then I had a little cry.