ARE NEVER EASY
As faithful readers of this column are aware,
there has always been a shining star, a character that surfaces from time
to time and hopefully brings entertainment to all who read about her
I'm talking, of course, about our almost 17 year
old pug, Lucy. And this is the last column I'll ever write about
No, she's not dead. I'M JUST HOPING SHE WILL BE
I'm well aware that's a terrible thing to say.
But before I get crucified, let me explain. 99% of the people who have
come into contact with her in the last few weeks have had the same
Unfortunately, the 1% who don't think that way includes
my wife, who is hanging on until the last possible second, perhaps hoping
for a miraculous recovery from the old age ailments that make Lucy a
shadow of her former self.
"You're a murderer," she quietly whispered as
Lucy sat contentedly on her lap at the breakfast table the other morning.
"Look at this beautiful face. How could you want to end her
I did indeed look. Her eyes were filmy, and she was
blind. The beautiful black hair around her ears was now gray, and she was
deaf. But her tongue still drooped out of her mouth, still too big to fit
inside, and she looked as peaceful as ever. Maybe not beautiful, but
I was secretly happy to see my wife hanging on. It
bodes well for me in my old age. I was always concerned a couple of coughs
and a runny nose and she'd pull the plug on me. But clearly that is not
On the other hand, there comes a time when it's time,
and the time has come for Lucy. She's been old for at least four years
now, no longer the energetic little black pug that bounded up and down the
stairs. She's lost the ability to control her bowels, and her arthritis
has reached the point where she can only walk in circles, and sadly falls
over after a few steps.
But she still likes to eat and drink, and we don't
think she's in any severe pain. She cries out in the middle of the night,
waking us up, but we think it's more out of loneliness, because she calms
down after we pet her and make her comfortable in her bed.
My wife took her to the vet a few weeks ago, and she
has no discernable terminal disease. They gave Lucy an increased dose of
steroids for her arthritis (she's been on them for years, meaning she'll
probably never get into the Pug Hall of Fame) and sent her on her way.
It's just so sad to watch. She sleeps 19 hours a
day, curled up in her bed. She recognizes no one, and is long past wagging
her tail. My wife dutifully squeezes eye drops into her filmy eyes each
morning, and puts the steroid pills in her food. Then Lucy eats her
breakfast and goes back to sleep for the day.
It's sad, but there's one thing to remember: SHE'S
ALMOST 110 YEARS OLD IN HUMAN YEARS!!! She's had a great life, surrounded
by a loving family and a woman who has taken immaculate care of her for
almost 17 years of her dog life.
She's been a very lucky dog, and we've been very lucky
to have had her as part of our life. AND NOW IT'S TIME TO GO!!!
"I'm not a murderer," I finally responded.
"I just think her quality of life has deteriorated to the point where
saying goodbye is the best thing to do."
My wife glanced suspiciously at me. "For
Lucy or for you?"
Ahhh, that was indeed the million dollar question. Was
I being selfish, simply because I was tired of cleaning up her mess and
waking up in the middle of the night to soothe her like a newborn baby?
But I had a response ready.
"Are you hesitating to put her down because of
Lucy, or because of you?"
We did a stare down. And the answer came almost
simultaneously, and then we were back at square one.