Doree Shafrir had to put her dog down:
Watching a dog age comes with its own set of daily, incremental choices and changes. Her tan spots have mostly faded; she is grizzled and gray, and her eyes have the same film over them that I remember seeing in my great-grandmother’s eyes when I was a child. One day she can get up on the bed; the next day she falls, whimpering, when she tries to leap onto it, and no amount of coaxing can get her to try again. One day she stops barking when I turn the key in the lock and that is when I realize she’s losing her hearing, and at the park, when I’m not directly in front of her, she seems panicked and lost and I know she can’t see as well as she used to. She can’t make it up three, then two, then one flight of stairs.
Lee getting old reminds me of my own mortality; in her I see what it is to become elderly, to not be able to do the things you used to be able to do, to have things happen slowly, seemingly forever, and then very and irrevocably quickly. And for this I am irrationally and deeply jealous of people whose dogs die suddenly and young, because although they feel a different kind of pain, this is something they never have to face.
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