I had my dog put down yesterday.
On one of my best friend’s birthdays.
My son was in the room with us, but I regret not reminding him to say goodbye. He thinks Coco is sleeping at the doctor’s.
I had them make me a clay pawprint.
And I can’t help but wonder whether I did it out of convenience or necessity.
Coco was 16 years old. She lived a long, full life for a dog. There was never a dull moment. She had a glorious time, and I loved her with everything in me.
But the last few months were hard, even when there was nothing wrong. The last two days were the hardest.
I told myself I was prepared. I told the vet I was prepared. How on Earth was it possible that I was so prepared?
I wasn’t. I completely shut down and lost it once the euthanization happened. I’m pro-euthanasia. But this just seemed horrible.
She had no say. What if she wasn’t ready to go? What if I acted too hastily? What if she would have pulled out of it? She’s pulled out of everything else, after all.
I can’t help but wonder if I did it for her comfort or mine.
It’s hard work to take care of a dog. It’s something I’ve been struggling with lately, especially with my mental health going all haywire.
It’s even harder to take care of an aging dog with seizures. What if she still had good years left in her, but I cut them short because I was so hasty to be rid of the responsibility?
Would I have done the same thing to my son? To stop his suffering? Was she even suffering?
I know she was. Her last two days were spent seizing and sleeping, seizing and sleeping. But she seemed so alert and . . . okay otherwise. She seemed like Coco, but more loving. Maybe she knew what I was thinking.
I think it’s going to take a long time to get rid of this guilt. Part of me knows I did the right thing, but another part — a part I cannot control — will always wonder. Did I do this to alleviate her pain or my own?
Am I wrong, either way?