I have to put down my best friend of twelve years. I keep asking myself, who am I to decide the date of her death? What gives me this power? If I look at the big picture I don’t feel like I have a choice, but is the most heartbreaking decision I have ever made.
Nala has been an amazing dog. She has rafted many rivers including Hells Canyon and The Middle Fork of the Salmon. She has hiked thousands of trails all over the country and has traveled to the tip of Baja twice. She has not left my side since the day I adopted her. Since I made the decision to let her go, I have had a pit in my stomach. Physically ill. Nala is 14 and has a lot of pain. She has trouble getting up, falls a lot and now has bitten Zephyr. Well it was only a snap, but it did draw blood. I keep holding on. What makes this so difficult is she does have some quality of life. She enjoys eating and lying in the sun and going for small walks. However the risk for Zephyr increases every day and Nala’s pain becomes more and more pronounced. She is starting to become incontinent. The guilt of euthanizing is so heavy. Besides growling and snapping at my son, she has been the perfect example of true love. She never left me even though I have moved her to eleven different times. Lived with countless roommates and their various dogs. She sits at my feet, follows me from room to room and has slept by my side for 12 years. She has outlasted six different relationships and four different jobs. She is unconditional love.
I have an appointment on Wednesday. I am thinking of canceling it. I might need to take this journey with her week by week. Although I know she would not aggressively hurt Z, the images of a child we had to send to a plastic surgeon who was bitten by their family pet keep playing in my head. Those parents did not think their dog was capable of such a bite either. Their dog was also old and in pain. They lost their dog, their son has a scar for life and now is deathly afraid of all dogs. I don’t want that for my son. Oh Nala!!!!!!! How come the right thing to do totally SUCKS? I also know it’s not just about Zephyr’s safety. It’s about her pain. She fell down two steps today. She pants and pants, she not longer wags her tail.
Now I have to let her go. And as much as I know it’s the right thing to do, I am having trouble doing it. We have had a lot of loss this year.
Life is like a sand dune, always changing, moving and shifting. We are here to learn to love deeply and to let go. I keep reminding myself that people, things, and situations are always moving through our lives like the sand moves across the desert. I know that love goes beyond our attachment to the physical. It never dies. Love is endless. It is a bottomless spring. That said, how do I let go of that sweet fuzzy face?