05 July 2011


Conflate: noun. 1) To bring together; meld or fuse.  2) To combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole.

Thursday I have to have my dog put to sleep.

It’s time, I know that.  It’s past time, actually.  I’ve been wondering when this day would come, and putting it off.  She is ancient, especially for a biggish dog.  I’ve written about her before.  She has been declining for a while.  Her eyesight and hearing are nearly gone, as is her bladder control.  I’ve been washing rugs for months.  I buy vinegar by the gallon jug.

For the last couple of months (or years), we have had to help her get up off the floor.  We lift up her back end, under her back legs, and hold her steady until she gets her balance and starts walking.  But now, even that isn’t enough help.  She almost can’t keep all four legs under her at the same time.  We stand her up, she falls down.  We hold up her back legs and the front ones go.  T built her a ramp to get from the deck to the back yard and it works just fine as long as you walk beside her, holding her up.

So, yes, it’s time.  I called the house call vet last week to schedule an appointment, and of course he was out of town.  He emailed me back and we set the time for Thursday, 7 July at 4pm.  It’s ok that I had an extra week.  For one thing, she has gotten worse over the course of the week, and it has allowed me to really see that it must be done.  I wanted her to die naturally, in her sleep, but she hasn’t complied with that.  So, yes, on Thursday I must put our elderly family pet to sleep.

Conflate: to combine into one whole.

I can’t help but look at the other elderly dying family member. 

I am not conflating my mom with my dog.  Not really.  But it feels ominous somehow, or disrespectful, or like I’m tempting fate.  I feel like I am taking away what time Cookie has, time that she could be enjoying a treat, or watching the shadows of people pass by from the front porch.  I’m taking away the tail-wagging, tongue-lolling, happy to see me, cheerful individual who has lived in my house for 16 years.  Am I going to cause a shift in the space – time continuum that will cascade on to my mother?  By putting the dog down am I negatively impacting my mother’s survival?

Of course I know that this isn’t true.  My mum and my dog are not psychically connected.  It just feels too close to the bone, too close to the heart, too fragile.  Too something.

My mum still has some time left.  And, she is in much better shape than the dog!  She has good days and bad days, and yesterday was discouraging, but she is still her essential self.  But then, so is Cookie. There isn’t anything I can do, at this point, to lengthen Cookie’s life, and I wouldn’t want to.  She is tired.  She is old.  She is losing the sparkle in her eye.  If I were to keep her alive it would be selfish.  I’m not doing that. 

And I’m not giving up on my mom.