For the past two weeks, I've been coming up with all sorts of schemes to make Gordie the pug's life better. He can't stand to pee anymore. He poops while sitting. He can't eat without me propping him up between my legs.
Yesterday, I decided to build him a little skid to keep him up on his feet, one that rolls around so he can get places, like to the food bowl or to his water. He still loves to eat and he has a wonderfully silky coat, so he still has life in him, right?
I knew I was kidding myself. I've been in this space before with Hannah the retriever who was so riddled with cancer that the only respite she found was lying in a snow bank or on the tile floor. And also with Ming whose eyes became wild as she fought to breathe.
When I look at pictures now, I see a different story. Look at this photo. Lovely Hannah, still smiling on the outside while wasting away on the inside. She was dead six weeks after that Christmas.
These are lies we tell ourselves just to keep our beloved pets close. We lie to ourselves because we can.
Gordie's situation is a bit different.
With Gordie, there is still wiggle room. I can let him go on for a few more weeks until he stops peeing altogether and stops eating, or I can do the right thing and let him go.
It's his time.
He's had a wonderful life. He survived bladder stones, pancreatitis, two serious dental surgeries, obesity and nearly lifelong incontinence. When he was healthy, he never shut up. He tried to kill the Baby Skylar when she came home. He's put up with Finnigan and Sophie jumping on his head even when he couldn't fight back.
He's lived for two years with only a few teeth left in his head. He's toddled around the house seeing only shadows.
In spite of his declining health, he's done everything we've asked of him. He stayed with us for one more summer, revived himself on thyroid pills, occasionally barked at shadows, snorfled in the backyard, swatting at phantom windmills. He kept me warm every night and cuddled and licked me, and made me feel like the most important person in the world.
Soon, there will only be the dream of Gordie, as he slips into the other world, into a space we can only imagine. Will he join the other dogs? Will he disappear into darkness?
Regardless, there will be no pain.
That is the ultimate gift I can give him this Christmas. A life with without fear, an eternal home without discomfort and worse. After all, that's what we all want in the end.
These are difficult days. I will not do a countdown. You will know when he's gone when I post a single photo.
But shed no tears for me or for Gordie. We've had a blast together. Try to remember him, and Ming and Hannah together in eternity. We're putting the band back to together.