Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rest in peace, my sweet old man

So many things have happened, lately, centering around the ferrets.  Good things, great things, and I'll get up to posting those soon.

But Friday I had to help my little boy, my sweet old man cross the bridge.  My pup, Ben.

I shared his life for 12 years.  Since he was six weeks old, and my dad found him in a planter on the side of the road, as a tick infested bloated toad-look alike, and took him and his brother home.

He went from a rather ugly pup into a beautiful powerhouse seemingly overnight.  I don't have many memories of him as that tiny guy, just the bird's-eye view of  seeing him in the bathtub as my sister, Jamie, gave him and his brother their very first bath.

But we battled parvo and girardia, at the same time, and he came out strong and sure, and had quite the few split-nail incidents.  He was a pretty big guy in his prime, but he was always a lap dog, and the best, most vivid memories I have with him are cuddling on the couch and hugging him tight, so in love I couldn't even breathe for it.

We had our share of bad times, these past few years especially.  After the accident with him and Emma, things were never the same, and it showed.  God, did it show.

I regret so many things, and I think it's the worst part of it all.  So much regret and guilt.  Anger and fear.  And when we made the appointment on Thursday, to happen on Friday, all I could think is this is all my fault.  I got us here.

And I did.  I know my culpability in it all, and it breaks my heart as much as knowing that he's gone, now.  That I can never go back and make these two years right.

But Thursday evening and Friday, it was like back in the day.  Such good, good days we used to have and we had them again. We cuddled and shared hereness.  I hugged him so hard to me and could not breathe for my love for him.  We fed him doughnuts and ribeyes and raw hides.  I told him what was to happen, I told him he may not fully understand, and that he may be scared, but I would not leave him, and he looked at me with acceptance and awareness.

He knew, he knew, and we went outside and sat down on a hill, him in my lap, and he gazed out over his property, eyes half mast, sun shining and wind blowing and he said goodbye.

I rode in the back of the car with him when it was time, led him into the vet's office, a place he has always hated.  I held him so, so close to me when he was on the table and the injection was going in, and I kept thinking, I'm sorry, I love you I love you I love you I will always love you, all the while knowing that those we love the most often get the shortest stick, when we think the words and the feeling are enough, forgetting we need to prove it every single day.  He buried his head in my chest for a moment, then he turned and few moments after, he slumped into me and was gone.  I sobbed and clutched him to me, knowing it for the last time I'd ever get to.

I had brought a stamp pad, and afterward we were able to get a pawprint.  Yesterday, my sister and I went and I got a tattoo from a great, great place.  My sister and the artist worked with me to get me what I needed, on the inside of my upper arm.  The paw is his, the size and the look of the stamped print, it is his.  His mark on me that I feel so very deeply, clear and visible, and held close to me, to my heart, where I used to sling my arm around him and press him close where we were sitting, and where my arm rested across his side when we were sleeping.

I love you, Benny boo, and you were it for me.  My very own.

Rest in peace, baby boy.  You deserve it.


  1. Hi Sunny, not sure if you remember me, I'm salomey5, I think we met on Blog Catalog a few years ago if I'm not mistaken.
    Your post got me close to tears, as I know exactly where you come from. In March, I had to put my beloved old lady cat and companion for 15 years to sleep because of a nasty tumour that couldn't be removed, and it broke my heart. Definitely one of the hardest decision I ever had to make. It was like being forced to play God. That said, sometimes, you have to do something that seems horrible for the right reason.
    I'm really sorry for your loss. Just keep that one thing in mind though: for 12 years, thanks for you, Ben had a kick-ass life, just like my old girl did thanks to me.
    Be strong, and remember the good moments, because I'm sure they far outnumber the bad ones.
    Big hug from me to you.

  2. As soon as I saw your username, I knew who you were :) It's been a long, long while. I am so sorry for your loss, and I hope you are doing well.

    But thank you, you can't know how much your comment means to me, right now. I'm working through the guilt, but I know I will get there, where it won't hurt to think of him or see pictures of him. Just ... when you lose an animal primarily because of psychological/behavioral (though he did have health reasons, a burgeoning cancer of the stomach) reasons all those negative things block the grief, you know? But I know that I can't live in it, or dwell in it without cheapening all the good memories we had.

    Thank you so much. I loved hearing from you.

  3. You're very welcome. :)

    I understand how you feel, even after 7 months, I still feel pangs of guilt and still have moments when I second-guess myself and wonder if I shouldn't have waited longer, etc. Then I remember that by the end, she couldn't even swallow baby food mixed with water, and that in all likelihood, I did the right thing, even if it didn't feel right at all.

    I don't know the circumstances which forced you to put your boy to sleep, but the end decision remains the same: it's a very difficult one to take, and one that is hard to live with. But you'll get through it, time will help.
    And keep one thing in mind: our pets got real lucky to run into people like us who love animals and gave them the best life possible. When I feel down when I think about my old girl, I try to remember that, and it helps.

    Don't hesitate to stay in touch OK? I'm still in contact with a bunch of BC-ers through Twitter (I'm salomey5 there too). If not, you can contact me through my blog, even though I don't update it much, or email (same old username at hotmail dot com.)

    Take care and I wish you the very best.


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