I know the time is near that Tom and I will have to place our dog Gordon in the car and make the fateful drive to the doctor's office. I know that very soon we will have to make the impossible decision. Everyone tells me that I will know when it is time to put Gordon down. But how will I know? Gordon still has life in his shinny, almost human eyes. He still wags his tail when he gets a treat or you rub his belly. He still barks when he wants to be heard. But he can't walk at all anymore and he sleeps most of the day. He can't control his bowels either, so I spend my time cleaning up after him. And he is so skinny now, his bones protrude from his once muscular frame. My instinct is to feed him steaks and ice cream and make him happy for the time he has left.
I slipped out of the house today to fill my depleted creative well. I bought a brightly colored scarf and immediately threw it around my neck. I felt alive. Then my mind drifted to Gordon. Driving home with my new purchase snugly tied around my neck I thought about how it would feel to bring Gordon to the doctor and stay with him until he was dead. I don't know if I have the strength to do this. But, I also know that I don't have the strength to let him die alone.
Gordon has been a part of our lives since the boys have been little and his pending death feels like a great marker of time.
We rescued Gordon when he was a puppy. Will was just born when one of our gold fish died. We promised Kyle a new fish. My mother, who already had Alzheimer's, her caretaker, Tom, Kyle, Will, and I all went for an outing to the pet store. Outside the store I spotted Gordon. He was with a few other puppies that needed a home. I took one look at him and knew he would be part of our family. He was sweet and quiet and beautiful. Tom looked at me like I was crazy, but I could tell in his eyes that he had fallen in love with Gordon instantly.
We took him home and quickly watched sweet, quiet Gordon turn into a wild puppy. He ran around chasing his tail, chewed on everything, and bolted out the front door at any opportunity. But he was always sweet. If I was sad he sensed it and would follow me in my room and lay by my bed to keep me company. I miss those moments now.
Gordon has not only watched my boys grow up, but their friends, too. He was so patient and gentle when the neighborhood children would come over and try and ride him like a horse. Now these boys are almost men and when they stop by the house, they always take a moment to bend down and give Gordon some love.
I am deeply moved my the passage of time.
When Gordon was a puppy, Kyle needed 'cootie' shots to protect him from the girls. Now, Kyle has a girlfriend and I am sure doesn't feel the need for a 'cootie' shot. When Gordon was a puppy, Will couldn't talk, now Will tells me wonderful stories filled with laughter and thought.
Gordon fell into the rhythms that became our lives. He mirrored our growth and echoed our love. Now he waits to die.
I am deeply and forever moved by the passage of time.
When Gordon was a puppy, his energy was electrifying. I must stop myself from chasing my tail and remember to sit with him quietly and appreciate the precious passage of time.