There is an uncomfortable vacancy out in the backyard.
It's the same painful emptiness I felt when Mr. Harvey died.
I put our dog down Thursday.
Our other dog keeps going out there--looking for her. He feels the void.
It's very painful. More painful than I ever imagined.
Mike and I got married in the spring of 2006. After we finally moved into a little rent house with a yard, the itch to get a dog soon set in.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, with nothing to do, I twisted my husband's arm into driving out to the animal shelter.
We made several rounds, looking at all the dogs. They have mini enclosures out back where you can "test out" a canine. I think we walked two dogs. But the key ingredients of chemistry and connection were missing. Before leaving, I begged to make one more round.
We spotted her immediately. Where did she come from? How had we missed her? She was white with light brown ears and a pink nose. She was sweet and calm.
We took her out to the enclosure. She put her front paws in my lap and settled in.
Best $90 we ever spent.
A worker passed by and said, "Oh, are you taking that sweet pointer?"
The check-out lady then told us her story:
Chloe (that was her given name) was transferred from another shelter. They didn't know anything about her history, except it was obvious she'd had a couple of litters. She had a terrible infection in her uterus. Being an older dog (six years old) and a stray, she should have been euthanized. But the vet on call that day took a chance and fixed her up.
We brought her home to our little bungalow and she fell right in sync. She was our first baby.
She would have been 15 in November.
The vet had said yes.
We said yes.
That yes led to 9 more years of a happy life.
When most would have said no--she was old, damaged. Second hand. Used.
Even the smallest yes . . . .
Yes. Let's be friends.
Yes. I will marry you.
Yes. Let's try to have a baby.
Yes. Let's adopt.
Yes. Let's move.
Yes. I'll take the job.
With all the opportunity that a yes can open up--our hearts open too. Open hearts, open to love--they are vulnerable. There will be pain. It's always a risk to say yes. God knows this. He's felt it. All of it.
The pain is worth it. Never let the fear of pain make you say NO.
Friendships will be betrayed.
Love will grow cold.
Divorce will happen.
Miscarriages will occur.
Rejection is evident.
Disasters will take place.
Dogs will need to be put down.
Love anyway. Take the risk.
Let's just say more of that.
I follow Susie's Senior Dogs on Facebook. I saw the sweet story of Rusty, a 13 year old dog who was adopted finally, only to succumb to cancer 4 1/2 months later:
Rusty was originally scheduled to be euthanized at the shelter. And that was almost the way Rusty left this earth. But thanks to his mom, Lisa, who drove two hours to give this boy a different ending, Rusty left this earth as a respected and valued family member instead. We are ever grateful that for the last 4.5 months of Rusty's life, perhaps his most important months of life, he was able to know love thanks to Lisa and her family's decision to bring him home and care for him.
"I don't for one second regret our decision to save him and bring him into our family. He had brought so much joy and happiness into our home-and that's something I'll never fully be able to repay him for.
He has shown me what true unconditional love can be and how strong of a dog he was. He had no reasons left to love or trust-but he did it anyway and he did it willingly. I'm so thankful for the last few months with him, but I know I'll truly never be the same. For his last few hours with us, he was spoiled with steak and endless treats. Thank you for featuring his amazing story on Susie’s Senior Dogs- we tried not to let it get to his head too much."
Rusty's original post: http://on.fb.me/1ZImfJJ
Yes. Love--no matter how small or short--is ALWAYS WORTH IT.