The Lifespan of a Fly

What is down must come up
April 26, 2010, 9:37 AM
Filed under: Generalizations

Duke, Halloween '09

There is one word in the English language that is the root of all of our fears: death. Even if we might pretend that the final destination doesn’t scare us, human intelligence is the knowledge of death and its finality. I’ve led a blessed life, I had never known anyone that died until I was 23. Before then I always wondered how I would handle grief, I was afraid that there might be something inside me that might not be able to feel. However, that wasn’t the case. I’d rather not go into the losses that I’ve experienced recently, but there comes a time when you need to consider the death of someone you love deeply and without restriction.

Duke is my fourteen-year-old mutt. Someone once called him a “bitzer” (bits of this and bits of that) and I think that’s what I’m going to name his breed. He’s the smartest dog I’ve ever known. For years he’s wowed friends and strangers alike with his intuitive understanding of the English language. His best trick is speaking, but he doesn’t only perform at one basic command. Rather, we falisify a conversation that sounds a little like “Do you like hotdogs?” “Ruff” and so on. About two years ago I began to attempt to prepare myself for the inevitable: his death. The first time we met he had been picked up as a stray and was sitting in his small kennel at the SPCA looking miserably out at the families milling about looking for their new family member. We snatched him up as fast as we could. On some level, we knew that this was the dog to complete our family. That was ten years ago, and last weekend we reluctantly prepared ourselves to say good-bye to our friend.

Duke’s been experiencing some behavioural problems that mainly stem from his gradual loss of eyesight. He gets surprised more easily than before and if you frighten him he’ll likely snap at you. Always a dog that marks, he began marking inside my house. This might not seem like a big deal, but when it occurs on a regular basis it’s unbelievably frustrating. So, after many tears (and not only on my part), we decided that it might be time to relieve him of his pain. Our vet, a wonderfully empathetic woman, insisted on performing some tests on him before we did anything drastic. We agreed, and two hours later learned that his urinating was a bad bladder infection and his lethargy was due to a low thyroid. I couldn’t help myself, I wrapped my arms around her and cried my relief out.

I know that it’s only been postponed, that eventually Duke will be ready to move on, and that day will come quickly. But for now, I have my best friend and I couldn’t be happier.


3 Comments so far
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Don’t tell Buddy I said this, but Duke is totally the cutest dog ever. On Saturday when I saw him, I couldn’t believe how much he looked like just a young puppy and how much he reminded me of a teddy bear.
I’m glad you get more time with him ❤

Comment by J

This is the first time I’ve gotten to read part of your blog…almost brings me to tears thinking of losing pets…I’ve lost one so far in my life (well, one if you don’t count the countless gold fish and various critters, but anyways, I’ve lost one dog before)…it was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life – the only thing that could compare is watching my godson in the hospital trying to fight for his life. I cannot tell you it is easy Tannis – I think we all, as humans, are well aware that it is not. I am glad to hear that you have been blessed with more time with Duke – I truly feel the happiness poured into those words that you have more time with your best friend. Keep on writing – I think this is a great idea – writing a blog – I believe that it will become a form of therapy…for both you and your readers…talk to you soon and Good job! 🙂

Comment by Tash

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuukke!!!! You’re back…

Comment by Zack

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