What a year it’s been – many things have made me question just about everything in this mixed up world. Friday afternoon, after a long painful decision making process, I held my dog, Bodey, as the vet put him to sleep. This was very hard. We lost Buck earlier this year – he was my first dog and for many years, my best friend. It was very painful to say goodbye to Buck, but he was getting old and his insides were consumed with Cancer. To hold him while the doctor inserted the needle of pink solution was very hard, but he was already asleep because the cancer was found in the middle of an exploratory surgery. There was no doubt in his case what needed to be done. With Bodey, it was far less cut and dry. At times he seemed happy, which made it easy for us to forget that the rest of the time, he was not. I watched as his eyes drifted from what looked like confusion to becoming lifeless. I held him so tight – on my knees - my head to his head and begged him for forgiveness. I have wavered back and forth ever since, between feelings of extreme guilt for playing God and having pride that I made the decision out of respect for him. We thought about what we could do for Bodey to make his life better for a long time, but in the end we realized that nothing could be done. Many long conversations with my wife and the vet resulted in our decision. His congenital condition had gotten him to a point where his quality of life was just not as good as he deserved. It was my duty as his owner to decide for him when the time was right and I truly believe it was the right time – but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Friday afternoon, Carrie, Lylli, and Myself spent some time alone with Bodey saying our goodbyes. I brought him to the vet alone – I told Carrie that there was an 80% chance that I’d make it there – but as I drove, out of the blue, I got a rush of strength causing me to sit up straighter as I drove - filling me with the feeling that I owed it to Bodey to be strong for him. After it was done, they left me alone with him for a moment – it killed me that I couldn’t close his eyes – they kept popping open. After I regained my composure, I looked into his eyes again and saw for the first time that they weren’t spinning – he was so still – I imagined when he was alive, based on how his eyes constantly spun and darted all over, that his life was spent with that feeling you get when you get off the merry go round at the park after the neighborhood bully traps you on it and spins you as fast as he can until you lose your lunch. That’s how Bodey spent his life. He could no longer move around very well, he often whined , and when he tried to get somewhere, he would inevitably crash into something – the frequency and intensity of those crashes were getting to the point where he was really going to hurt himself soon and I believe often did hit things so hard that it dazed him for a minute or two. I felt that he spent much of his time embarrassed and wanting to do things that his body would not let him do. As hard as it was to do, it was time.
Dear Bodey –
I hope you can forgive me for taking your life in my hands. I know you are in a better place. A place where you and Buck are running today side by side. OK, probably not Buck because you two really couldn’t care less about each other – but for my illustration and to make this a prettier illustration, let’s just say you are together. Regardless – it’s a place where you are finally on that level playing field for the first time with the others that you are playing with. You were such a sweet, gentle, innocent, beautiful boy with a wonderful soul – I hope that the time you spent with us was as good for you as it was for us. I know there were many people that couldn’t understand why we brought you into our lives. I could see in many of their eyes that they didn’t agree with keeping you alive – they couldn’t see, in you, what we saw. I whole heartedly disagreed with them until recently. The vet that assisted in your birth wanted you to be put to sleep right away, but you somehow made it from a concrete cage in Fort Dodge Iowa to our family and home for 4 ½ years. I want to thank you so much for teaching me everything that you did about seeing life in a different way – quality of life is not measured by how fast you run the 100 yard dash. In just over 4 weeks, our daughter Gracie will be born – she too will most like measure successes in her life much different than most. I’ll admit that I’m scared about the many things we will face as a family with Gracie – But I want to thank you, sweet boy, for helping me prepare for them. I am so sorry for those moments that I lost patience and got angry with you because of things that you could not control – when I reflect back on those times – my anger and frustration were the result of not being able to fix your issues and I’ll admit, I sometimes am not very good at knowing how to deal with things I can’t control. I know there will be times with Gracie that I won’t be able to fix things, and I will use the experience with you to remember that it’s nobody’s fault and that it does no good to get angry in these situations. You taught me so much that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and.
Rest in peace, my sweet boy – I will see you again someday