Mar 7, 2007

But Can't A Girl Look?

As I've mentioned before, having an old dog really sucks. Almost everyone in my family keeps telling me to have her put down because she's become little more than a four-legged hairy lump who shits all over the house indiscriminately, but I can't do that. I simply can't, with any semblance of a conscience, kill an animal simply because it's become an inconvenience to me, or because that animal is no longer "fun". She isn't in any pain, she isn't unhappy, she simply exists in a way that no longer has much to do with me or anyone else in this family, save for her brief happiness at greeting me when I come home from outside the house. And so she lives on.

But it still really does suck. And considering that I've had a very good long time since my dog began her decline to ponder how much I wish I had a "fun" dog, the waiting for her final demise makes it even harder. I often feel very guilty about my daydreaming of the puppy I will own once poor old Cordelia has shuffled off this mortal coil, yet I can't quite seem to stop my wishful thinking. I find myself regularly shopping through the lists of available puppies at shelters in my area and become wildly ecstatic when I see that one of the dogs "of my dreams" is available right now. Chihuahuas, Min Pins, toy Jack Russells, Pugs. Inevitably, I become very depressed when reality sinks in again and I glance down at my sweet old girl lying at my feet. I know there is no way I could ever bring home a new little bundle while she's still here with me. After all, that would be the ultimate betrayal, wouldn't it?

I've been doing this for months, and I can't seem to stop myself. Every weekend I manage to find a dog I could adore were I to go and bring it home, but last weekend was the worst. I saw a nine month old Min Pin up for adoption at the Mass Humane Society and I thought, "How perfect! A tiny purebred dog, still a baby yet housebroken, and in need of a family. And the $200 donation fee would go to the Humane Society and help other homeless dogs and cats" (it turns out after the fact, rather horribly, that this little dog was stolen from the pound late Sunday afternoon when thieves cut through the fence and made off with him, so I hope, hope, hope he's with a loving family and not being abused by monsters somewhere). I was so happy for all of ten minutes, until I realized once again, that there was no way I could do this to my beloved Cordelia. In fact, I became so depressed, I cried. I know that sounds silly, but having a canine companion is very important to me. A vital part of my being, if you will, and having a dog who can neither see nor hear me very well, who can no longer go everywhere I go and who interacts with me very little in her fog of dementia, simply doesn't fill the need I have for the doggie friend that inhabits my world. At this point, save for those blissful moments of homecoming, I am little more than a home health aide to my old friend, meeting her needs until such time as they can't be met any longer.

My husband has now forbidden me to look at the little dogs. He says he can't understand why I put myself through the pain of seeing all the available little puppies out there when I know I won't get one until Cordelia is gone. I tell him that it starts out making me very happy to see all those lovely little dogs waiting to be chosen for their forever homes, and being able to imagine myself owning one or two of them, and it's only after the fact that it makes me sad. He says that because the sadness inevitably always follows the initial happiness, I should know better than to look at all, and that it's just stupid to put myself through this over and over again. I know he's right but I just can't stop. As the years roll by with Cordelia living on and on, yet becoming less and less of a viable pet, I grow more anxious for the day when I'll be able to shop for a new friend for real, not just in my mind. I'm more than ready, yet desperately trying to keep strong my patience and my love for my long-time companion. She's been a magnificent dog, and I cherish the 16 years we've spent together, but one of us has grown very lonely these days and it's been a long time coming.

1 comment:

Blanche said...

Keep up the good work.

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