All Dogs Go to Heaven (but why do I have to help)

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Paris is the poodle. Rest In Play, my Monsieur Paris.

I said to a friend that loving your pet AND planning their death should not go together.

It. Just. Should. Not.

I used the quality of life scale developed by a oncologist for animals (you have to scroll down a bit to get to the scale part of this article).

So I knew this day would come because of Paris’ diagnosis (not cancer, a degenerative spinal column disease). It did not make it easier.

I love my vet. I love him so much, I wish he could be MY doctor. It did not make it easier. I gave Paris as much time as I possibly could.  It was not easier.

I think part of what held me back was that Paris was mentally still very much here. It was as though his body and brain were not connected. He would look perplexed as his body failed him. Repeatedly. He even look embarrassed as he tripped and stumbled.  But I don’t think he felt like dying.

He felt like running and playing fetch. But he couldn’t. And to do so, hurt.

He also felt like humping our female dog whenever he could which, God love him, I hope I have that much pep when I am that old and decrepid. But beyond Aspen not being charmed by his efforts, he just couldn’t.

I finally came to the conclusion I was delaying the decision because of MY comfort- not his. And that was not okay.

It was okay with Paris because he was a good, loyal dog. He would have waited if I needed it, I’m sure.

I think the only thing that made it “easier” is accepting it was not going to be easy. I embraced the “and”. It was right AND it was terrible. It was time AND I wish it wasn’t.

I didn’t have to stay. But dropping him off to feel scared and lonely in his last minutes felt worse.

I felt staying with him was what I needed to do to complete the contract we’d made. Paris and I.

He came into my home and added joy and love. He cleaned the floor of scraps. He was excited to see every single day. He barked a little too much, but he was new to the forest and trying to keep us safe. He was gentle and polite with the cats. He basked in the ear rubs. He just got up and moved when Little Sir was too rambunctious. He did his part.

So staying with him was mine.

I knew I would cry. I took his collar off. I brought his ball. I rubbed his ears the way he liked. I thanked him for his years of service to his humans and told him he was a very good dog.

I believe in Heaven. I believe animals get to go. I don’t know how it all works so, please, let’s not get bogged down in the technicalities. I believe in a lot of things I don’t fully understand. Cars. Men. Photosynthesis. God.

I believe my animals are in Heaven. Healthy and loved.

I believe they are at peace

AND

I did the right thing

AND it is terrible.

AND sad.

AND hard.

AND I am not getting any more pets for a while.

AND I should have not gotten Paris.

AND I am glad I did.

1920254_10202250385320035_1491448109_n Rest In Play, Monsieur Paris. Good dog. Good dog.