As they say, “in the grand scheme of things,” it may not seem so important. But to my wife and I it is quite significant. Last week, we were prompted (ethically and lovingly) to send our Airedale Terrier pooch of (nearly) 11 years to Heaven – being over 80 years, when adjusting his age to that which is comparable to humans. His blood work showed kidney failure. If he was human, it would have been the circumstance to go on dialysis and be on a transplant list. The whole episode came on quickly, and as a result of the kidney failure he was unable to hold down food or water. Overall, he had always been a robustly healthful dog.
We held him in our arms as the vet administered the meds, Henry always knew was loved.
We are not ashamed to say that we love a non-human creature as much as we love Henry.
The pain is tremendous and we get chocked-up many times each day – so much so that my throat has begun to hurt again, after a quite recent bout of adenoiditis. That said, we are not ready to give up the pain, or try to run from it. Initially there were fleeting thoughts of removing reminders of him from our household and such, including my downtown business location. But we realized that we didn’t want to do that. It is strange sounding – even though it is heart-wrenching, it feels better to embrace the pain.
Commonly, other than to run errands, or go out for a few hours or some such, Henry was never alone. We took him on our trips. Together, my wife and I didn’t take any flying trips while we had Henry, we just couldn’t stand to leave him in a kenneling facility. During that time, we didn’t have anyone who could stay with him. Previously, we frequently flew to our vacation destinations. If my wife, who is an ER charge nurse was working, he went to work with me each time. If she was off, he stayed home and held down the home fort.
We have never had children, so no doubt it is possible that we have been extra close to our pooches. Having said that, we have never anthropomorphized them on an any obvious level – never been tempted to think or believe that they are somehow human. This is in NO way critical of people who do, it is just not our way.
Having Henry in our lives has been a splendid blessing, and that is what is so important to us. Nothing was any more fun or good-feeling than being with Henry. We took him on at least two long walks each day – he was always ready to go do things. Airedale Terriers were initially bred for hunting, but we are in no way hunters. He certainly considered squirrels and rabbits as potential prey, but he wasn’t allowed to find out for sure.
It seemed impossible for him to be aggressive toward other dogs or toward people. Albeit, for whatever reason, he had a severe dislike toward a veterinarian we used to take him to, and that is the ONLY person he ever tried to bite. He could be quite stubborn in some instances, but not to any extreme.
We believe that having Henry in our lives was quite in the spirit of the right thing for the right sake. He was a kindred spirit who loved and wanted to be loved, and he was SO loved, loved not just by us, but by so many of our friends and acquaintances – being QUITE social. He brightened up our lives and the lives of so many others. It doesn’t get better than that on this earth.
My wife and I have discussed that we believe that he will be there greeting us when it is OUR time, just like our other previously deceased loved ones. It is a SO wonderful part of a sparkling spine-tingling/shivering ‘glimpse of Heaven.’
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