Gertie, a Love Dog

Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Following the metaphor one post below. Got knocked off my board, almost carried away by rip tides. Gertie has cancer, maybe a couple of weeks to live. Vet this morning.

Pet euthanasia. I’m an outlier on this one, I know. I realized how opposed I am to it when Buck died in my arms at the UofM vet hospital. The pink liquid the vet injected worked. He died. All I could think: he trusted me.

Since then all of our dogs but two, Orion and Sorsha, have received home hospice care until their death. What I want for Gertie, too.

Climbing down into the dark well that is my aversion. The well is deep and cold, might be bottomless. Might be my Mom’s death is in there. I know for sure the issues of trust and choice are. Our dogs trust me with their lives for their whole lives. They have no ability to enter into the decision.

Lots of folks, the majority I imagine, the great majority, see euthanasia as a final kindness. I don’t. It’s wound up in what’s convenient, less messy, easier.

Gertie has trouble walking now. When Orion reached that stage with his osteosarcoma, we had to euthanize him. I couldn’t pick him up, take him outside, bring him back inside. 190 pounds. 30 pounds more than me at the time. Even though I agreed it needed to be done, I still couldn’t stand to be there.

I was in Kate’s sewing room, hyper-ventilating and crying. Feeling like I had betrayed both Orion and myself. Kate was there. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t support her, or Orion, but, I couldn’t.

Now that Gertie’s home I took her doggy bed down from the loft. Kate suggested it. Gertie stayed up here with me most days since we moved here 5 years ago. Even when her back right leg gave her trouble, a botched operation on a torn acl, she came up here on three legs. Now Murdoch is here, lying right where the doggy bed used to be.

Her diagnosis is neither unexpected, nor unusual. Gertie’s an old dog, our oldest, at 12. And, a rascal for all 12 years. So much fun. Sweet, too. Her kisses were meant. Not random licks for salt or submission. How do I know? I just do.

The well. That holy well. I remember the first time. When the doctor told Dad and me, Mom’s stroke had left her in a vegetative state. No coming back. Damn. 17. 3 in the morning at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis. Hard plastic chairs. Down. Down. Down. I didn’t climb back up out of that well until I quit drinking.

The holy wells of Ireland and Wales are portals to the Other World. A place where rags get tied on trees, flowers left by the opening, or, where the water gushes up from Mother Earth.

Suppose this means I need to go down this well again. Still. Live at the bottom for a while. Greet the darkness, my old friend. Might be where I get my love of fecund darkness, of quiet darkness, of the longest night.

Anyhow, Gertie. We’ll make her comfortable.

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