A couple of weeks ago I had posted on WeBlogDogs about Casey, a Sheltie that my ex and I had in common. My ex had the “care and custody” of Casey and I think he did a great job. He treated our dogs as the kids we never had. It’s hard for some people who have children and grandchildren to understand those of us who treat our dogs as family and children. No, we’re not anthropomorphizing them. I know my dogs are dogs but I do my best to make sure they have the best food, training and love because I want them to live a long, healthy life.
The weeks after I went to visit Casey at my ex’s house, I ran into my ex several times at his work place. He has a shop in an antique store here in town and I am the bookkeeper for the antique shop so I tend to see him every week or so as I go in to pick up work items. I made it a point, though, to seek him out to see how Casey was doing and whether he had had the strength to put him down. He hadn’t at that point.
A week ago he walked Casey over to my house to show me how well he was doing. Actually I didn’t see it. I put all my dogs outside so they wouldn’t overwhelm poor Casey and my ex and Casey came into the house. We removed the leash from Casey so he could wander around the house. He definitely liked all the dog scents that are in my house, but the tumor on his brain stem caused him to walk leaning to the right. When he walked into the kitchen, he couldn’t keep his footing and ran into the kitchen cupboards several times. It broke my heart.
I kept talking to my ex about how keeping Casey alive by pumping him with fluids every day because the mega esophagus caused by the brain tumor wouldn’t allow him to drink water without him aspirating it into his lungs. My ex was also giving Casey prednisone for what reason I don’t know. But between the prednisone and intravenous fluids, I felt he was being kept artificially alive and not allowing him to die in peace but rather prolonged his suffering. My ex couldn’t really argue with that but he felt that there were times when Casey would perk up and act like the young pup who loved to go for walks so much and barked at passersby on the street.
My ex and I actually got into some at-length discussion about his current relationship with his live-in girlfriend, finding happiness in life and how to deal with loss. You see, I do understand that he’s had a lot of loss in his life, but no more than anyone else in this world. People die, animals die, it’s a fact of life. Is it easy? Hell no. But we all have to find a way to deal with the loss of those we love. For me, it’s all about faith. I truly believe I will see my beloved dogs and family members who have passed away again. I KNOW it in my heart and that knowing makes it easier for me to let go of my precious furkids when the time is right.
I received a text from the antique store manager two days ago asking if I was coming in to the shop and that my ex had had Casey euthanized that morning. I felt such a sadness in my heart at losing Casey but at the same time I was happy that he was free of his body that was causing him such agony. Before I went into the antique shop, I wrote my ex a card telling him that I thought he was a great caregiver for Casey all these years and that he had done the right thing by releasing Casey from all the pain. My ex read the card and started crying. We talked for awhile, gave each other a hug and he decided to keep me in contact with Brenna, the last of the Shelties that we had together when we were married. That’s a big step for him since his girlfriend absolutely forbids him to have any contact with me. Hopefully he will let me petsit Brenna when they go on vacation so I can see her again.
And Casey, you were a great dog. You gave my ex lots of love and healing during some tough times. I’ll always remember how you always barked at other dogs when walking as if you were saying “keep away from my family”. You were a beautiful and brave little guy and I hope you’re running around at the Rainbow Bridge like a mad man and chasing all the cute Sheltie girls up there! I’ll never forget you!