Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Roller coaster ride

The last two days have run the gamut - incredible joy and soul-searing loss.
On Sunday, after a very, very long, discouraging run of competition, Teddy and I qualified in an agility trial. While, admittedly, we've competed only sporadically for the past 18 months, it was nevertheless discouraging to come away with only experience. Both of our runs on Sunday were fun and fast. Teddy stayed with me and did everything I asked of him. In Jumpers With Weaves Team Teddy made a couple of mistakes, one mine, one his, but we had fun and I was happy - especially since it had been months since our last competition.
Then in our Standard run - everything clicked. It was one of those instances when everything was going right. I didn't know if we'd qualified, the judge is a bit tight on time, but I was just thrilled. As it turns out, we succeeded and came away with not only a qualifying score, but first place in our class. Sheer, unmitigated joy.

And then there was yesterday. A normal day at work. I got home to find my sister Fran cleaning up a mess little Roc had made - he couldn't help it and he wasn't happy about it. I think we both knew then that Roc was tired of fighting the pain and disability that has progressed over the past year. So I made a choice and the veterinarian who has cared for him since the day I brought him home sent him gently into that good night. Sheer, unmitigated grief.

I love them both. Tears of joy and sadness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

He's old. We're done with him...

What will you do when your dog gets old?
Personally, I take care of him, and cuddle him, and let him do all the things he loves as long as he's happy and comfortable.
I recently learned that there are people out there who don't. When their dogs get old, they bring them to a shelter and leave them. Done. And then go out and get another dog.
And when I heard about their behavior, I rushed to judgement - deciding immediately that anyone who could do that was despicable and loathsome. Beyond contemptible. 
But I found out that there's a segment of the population that believes "it's what you do." They don't know that it's okay to cherish an animal throughout its life - however long that may be. It's what their families have always done, so it's what they do. When their pet reaches a certain age or level of infirmity, they relinquish it to a shelter.
Perhaps we need to work on educating people that they're allowed to love their old dogs forever. And stop seeing stories like this one:

Family surrenders 16-year-old Pomeranian to shelter because she's too old
Cassie used to be part of the family for more than five years, but on September 6, the 16-year-old Pomeranian found herself all alone and not feeling so great at the Carson Animal Care Center in California. Cassie's intake information indicates her family surrendered their dog because she was too old. Admittedly, 16 is a ripe old age for any dog, but isn't that the time for a soft caress, a soft bed and a familiar home? Not so for Cassie; sorry to report, and as if the family expected someone to rush right in and save the dog they dumped, here is what they stated:"...But they said that I spend most of my time indoors. I am house trained. I am learning how to walk on a leash. I should be the only pet in the house."