Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Our dear old friend is leaving us this afternoon. After almost fourteen years of family fun.
Actually Hitch has been quite the handful, and we like to say that we were probably the only folks around at the time willing to invest in him. He was a rescue dog from Oklahoma, where they haven’t heard of no-kill shelters, and the rescue we got him from had brought him all the way to California to save his skin. But he was emotionally frail, even damaged. Afraid of literally everything. He’d been adopted and returned at least twice. It took him an agonizing six months to warm up to me, though he took to my wife, Sue, right away. She’s always been our Hitch whisperer.
Eventually trust was forged, and Sue, Hitch, and I became an inseparable trio. We went everywhere together, on hikes, on road trips (because he couldn’t be kenneled), on routine errands. We both worked at home too, so he was hardly ever without our company, and vice versa.
I’m feeling a lot of melancholy today, even though I know that, at the age of 15-and-a-half, he’s in the outer reaches of dog life. He’s tired. Can hardly walk. Eats like White Fang but can’t squat very well to do his business. His eyes tell us he’s ready to move on.
We’re having a vet come to the house, and she was kind enough to provide a sedative for him so he won’t be aware of what’s happening. He should be sound asleep by the time she arrives, which is good because Sue and I would hate to see him in a state of fear at the end.
The strangest thing of all is that a little creature like this can be such an enormous figure in your life. He can dominate your world for years, and then, one day, he’s simply gone. He leaves a giant hole behind.
And, we realize, gone too are the years of our lives that we spent with him. Add up your last couple of dogs and a huge slice of your time on earth is covered. Kind of terrifying.
It all goes very fast, ultimately. And that’s a big part of the melancholy.
At least dogs go to a very nice farm in the country when they leave. That’s a pleasant thought.