Just the way life is
She had wanted a dog as long as she could remember. She had nagged and argued, begged and pleaded. So when they finally agreed it took her a while to realize they were serious.
He was seven weeks old when he arrived, half husky half lab, yellow with the husky’s curly tail, and the cutest puppy ever to exist on planet earth. He grew into the cutest dog on earth. People stopped to admire his uncommon looks and were met by an energetic, people-loving dog with an eager tongue.
He was strong – even the vet commented on his solid bulging muscles, and he could topple a full-grown man if the man was caught off-guard. If he got loose he would effortlessly and tirelessly run off with a husky’s stubborn independence. Catching him was a long and frustrating procedure. But they loved him.
The neighbor boy was afraid of dogs and would sometimes throw rocks or squirt waterguns at him when he was in his pen outside. When they found out about this, they quickly put a stop to the situation – but the damage had been done.
They could do anything to him and he wouldn’t react in any way, other than possibly trying to crawl under the bed when his patience ran out. Like most dogs, he could occasionally nip if a game got too boisterous. But he would never, never hurt them.
His experiences with the neighbor made him afraid of all males, especially boys about ten years of age. His reaction was to nip, and if he got loose he would nip any boy he saw. They took him to a specialized dog trainer and started working intensively with him. But all wounds don’t heal.
And things got worse. Since, despite all precautions, he sometimes slipped out the door, keeping him meant he would have to have a muzzle on at all times. But how could you put a loving, happy, healthy dog – only 2½ years old – to sleep? It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t theirs. Life just wasn’t fair, she thought and they all thought. But the choice was now between a miserable life or a humane death. Love hurts.
After the heart-breaking goodbye which had followed a yet more heart-breaking decision, she and her dad drove him to the veterinarian’s, clouded in a heavy silence. She wished once again that she could cry. But her tears were locked deep inside.
She had seen the procedure many times from when she volunteered at a vet’s: first a tranquilizer in the rump, and by that time – it took about 15 minutes to work completely – the animal was basically unconscious. Then anesthesia intravenously through a foreleg, and finally the actual poison was injected into the bloodstream. The vet she had worked for used to, about ten seconds after the poison was given, poke the needle into the fleshy muscle of the heart. No movement.
The first shot was given, and he gradually relaxed, first sitting, then laying, and was finally stretched flat out on his side. Together they carried him from the waiting room to one of the examining rooms. Soon he could hardly lift his lids to view the goings-on, and had slipped into dreamland. The last thing he did, before unconsciousness took over for the last time, was to thump his tail against the floor three times. At last her tears came.