Almost 14 years ago, I came home and this red pup was sitting on my porch. She was the puppy of my neighbors dog, but we had been getting to know one another, mostly because the neighbor didn’t care about her and let her and her mother run in the streets. She had made the decision, on her own, that she wanted to be my dog and so she came over and waited for me. She was half Australian shepherd, but red with brown fur mixed in. I called her Rue because she wandered the streets, Rue because she was brown like a roux, Rue because she looked like a kangaroo with her big ears, Rue because her eyes were so woeful looking. SHe turned onto a wonderful dog, playful, smart, loyal. She was dedicated to me and me only. Her eyes followed me wherever I went. I could leave her on the car with no windows and she would wait for me to come back. Today, after she had been sick for a long time, I finally knew that it was time for me to let her go. This is the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. I wanted to keep her here, for my own selfish reasons. I fought with myself, rationalizing that she could go at any time, that I was making a choice for her that I had no right to make. Last night, I tried to feed her. She tried to eat, but with the first bite, could not swallow. She looked at me and I knew it was time. This morning I called the vet. The hardest call I have ever had to make. Tears in my eyes as my students came in, I had to hide my face so they couldn’t see. I came home. I carried her outside and laid her in the grass. I was blessed with a beautiful day, cool and breezy. I out a blanket down in the grass and laid down with her for her last few hours. The vet was kind enough to come to my house so she could die at home. First she was coming at 3:45, then 5:15. As the day progressed, she grew weaker and weaker and quiet and still. I knew I had made the right decision, but I still wept and wept. I lay with Rue from 11 am until 4:57 when the phone rang, the vet was on her way. As I petted her, the church bells began to toll 5 pm. The light was growing dimmer. I had wanted her to go outside, in the grass, with the breeze and the trees. I met the vet at the street and walked her and her assistant to Rue who was now lying still, on her side in the grass. I sat with her and petted her. I told her I loved her. I couldn’t watch, so I just turned away. I felt when she was gone. I felt her stillness. No more labored breaths escaped. She was gone. The moment has come. These moments that are so long and surreal. Time extends for an eternity in every direction. I laid her to rest under an orange tree. Maybe she will make it grow big and give lots of oranges. When I eat the oranges, I can think her. I love you my Poops. Rest in Peace. I hope I get to see you again someday.
The Loss of Rue
15 Dec This entry was published on December 15, 2012 at 1:05 am and is filed under Uncategorized.