Barney went to heaven today, but he wasn’t like all dogs. Maybe I’m biased, or maybe I believed everyone who told me that he was special, but he definitely was. He was always a happy, goofy dog, and the most loving one I’ve known. When I went to see him for the first time at 6 weeks old his mom (a standard poodle) just nuzzled her head in my lap and I figured her puppies would be loving. He definitely was. I used to call him a pet whore because he would get it from anyone, anytime, anywhere. Everybody’s friend, as long as you were petting him, and when you tried to walk away he would just glue to your leg to keep your hand there.
Barney threw up on me twice on the car ride home when I picked him up for the first time. I thought it was the cutest thing. He used to run crooked because his feet were so big for his body. I made sure he was always socialized and went to obedience class. It was fun watching him light up every time he would discover something new. Like I got to see it for the first time again too. I guess that’s about a tenth of what parents with human children feel like.
Barney was with me through some hard periods of my life as well, one being a divorce. While he was in the hospital all last week it became apparent that this time was different because he wasn’t eating and late in the week, and especially over the weekend I just knew he wasn’t going to recover. Your mind starts going back through all the years you had with them and the places you lived and things you did. It’s also like the tough chapters in your life that they went through with you die all over again too.
I’ve always heard putting a dog down is tough, but I’ve never actually done it until today. Wow, is it ever. They took him off of oxygen so he could go outside and leading him there for the last time his tail started wagging. Only we knew what was coming up and that was heart breaking. They let us lay on a blanket looking at the lake. Sometimes at home when I’d let him go out and I’d walk back in for a minute if he didn’t come back in soon after I’d walk back out to find him just staring meditatively at the water. He was happy looking at the water today and being outside again. They gave him an injection to relax him and he slowly looked tired and laid down. Then there was the lethal one. Before it was all administered I could tell his spirit had left and he was gone. A small part of me wanted to yell, “NO!”, but the conscious side kept my composure. Once I could tell he was gone I suddenly didn’t want to touch him anymore. Like the dog I loved was no longer there, so what was there left to be petting. I’ve never experienced the spirit of a being leaving the body before, but it does make you believe that life has an energy and there’s just got to be more to it all.