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She just lay there in her own mess – calm, not even trying to clean herself up.  And the last thing I am is calm.  Not agitated, but not at peace, because how do I know if it’s time – the inevitable while we’ve watched her grow more feeble, eating less, walking on wobbly legs.  Lord knows she’s had a long, full life as one of our two-legged and four-legged family.

Yesterday for a few hours she was like an ancient child:  bright-eyed even with clouded lenses, panting for tidbits of ham.  The newly self-appointed alpha dog harassed her in the yard, but she stood her
ground long enough to pee before coming back in the house.  Half the time she’s knocked to the ground, a growl her only defense, but so far she’s been able to get back up.  I’m half her age in people-years, and it’s twice as hard for me to get up from the floor than it used to be.  The inescapable losses of aging aren’t fun.

I wish with all my heart I knew what to do.  I know we’re going to lose her this year, and I’m as prepared for that emotionally as anyone can be facing the loss of a loved one.  But I wish God would just gently take her home while asleep, or even the heartbreak of watching her stop eating altogether and the vet saying there’s no cure.

But this….I feel like I have to play God.  We’ve had to put pets to sleep before – a dog with stomach cancer and a cat who could no longer walk.  Last year, our daughter’s cat since childhood stopped drinking water and dehydrated to the point we knew there was no hope.

But this….a fastidiously clean dog just lying silently in her mess, seemingly resigned to the situation.
Sure, she can’t always make it outside in time, but what about yesterday?  Her 30 minutes of sparkle and life?  Yesterday she ate half her breakfast and wanted a few bites of my sandwich at lunch.  I know she wouldn’t eat her dinner, or breakfast this morning nor wants a treat now. What am I supposed to do?  Is she finally dying?  I am.  Do we need to put her down?  I just want to know, and I don’t.  I want to do the best thing, and don’t know what that is.  I don’t want to hurt like this anymore.

Taz, show me what to do. God, tell me what to do.  I don’t know the answer, and it’s killing me.


About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.


  1. postaL rates  October 4, 2011

    i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

    • Joy  October 4, 2011

      Thank you so much. I hope you read the follow-up blog to this one: You Need What You Get. It was really really hard to let Taz go. My mother died two years ago, and I lost my older brother to cancer five years ago, and I didn’t grieve for them as badly as I did for this sweet girl. Totally unconditional love has an unbelievable power.

    • Joy  October 4, 2011

      One other thing: I know it’s been a few weeks since I posted a new blog, but a new one will be out this week. Had to finish finals for a class, then was out of town for a conference all last week. I really appreciate your support.

    • Joy  November 7, 2011

      Thank you! I appreciate it!

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