Dancing in a Dark Room

April 5, 2014    1234263_10100863629511674_1909314683_n

On Monday, the veterinarian will come to the house, put the dog to sleep and make arrangements for disposal of her body. The choice, made more difficult by the fact that I didn’t expect to have to make it so soon, has left me feeling as though I’m dancing in a dark room without knowing where all the furniture is – torn between the rapid deterioration in her abilities and the thought, (at increasing risk to my own physical health) there should be one more thing I can try that would help her get around a little longer. If there is, I can’t think of it.

Even the cat seems to sense the changes in the dog’s health. The last two mornings, she has come to touch noses with Indika – something  she’s not done since Indika came to live with us this last time.

My son and I talked over the decision by phone, agreed it was best for both the dog and me and did our crying together. He was glad it will be done here at the house, where I can be with her at the end . My friend, Kathi, hearing that the decision had been made, volunteered to come over on Monday to give me moral support through the process.

So, with the details taken care of, I’m left with only two things to do – make this weekend as stress-free for both of us as is possible and, since this is my blog and I can write what I wish, to write a loving obituary for our dog:

Indika was born in Ozark, Missouri, in 2002. One of a litter of pedigreed boxers, and the only white boxer in the litter, she was adopted by Rob Easley soon after her weaning. Since she would not be bred, she was spayed shortly thereafter.

Her childhood was spent in various apartments in Springfield, Missouri, where she sometimes accompanied my son on camping and canoeing trips or spent frequent evenings with other dogs at my son’s friends’ houses – romping and wrestling until she and the other dogs were exhausted. As you can see from her picture, she was quite the looker in her youth.

In 2003, my son and I bought the house where she spent most of her adulthood. Although she continued occasional visits with friends, she became more of a stay-at-home dog, patrolling the perimeters of our yard while I gardened (even learning to charge the hose for a quick drink as I watered the garden,) visiting with neighbors that stopped at the convenience store next door, challenging strangers she thought might invade her territory, or racing back and forth along the fence with the dog next door.

When my son worked evenings, she spent the time upstairs in my apartment, looking out over the store and parking lot like a queen surveying her domain. When the store closed for a few months, between owners, she seemed genuinely distressed that her subjects no longer came to visit and was just as genuinely delighted when the store opened again under new management and her loyal subjects returned.

Throughout her life, she was a lady of the highest character – loyal, loving, (mostly) obedient and gentle. She loved my son (and, by proxy, me) with her whole heart, tolerated the cats as part of her family and gave us all that she could to the very end. We will miss her with our whole hearts.

She was the very essence of the Good Dog.

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13 Responses to Dancing in a Dark Room

  1. Caitlin says:

    I am sad for your loss of this wonderful companion. There comes a time when one must measure the pain vs joy in living. I respect your decision but, as a person who has made that decision a number of times, I wish such choices didn’t have to be made. I think this is the first obit for a dog I’ve read. Thank you. Funny thing is, I’ve been thinking about what kind of dog I’d like to have and came to the conclusion this week that I’d like a boxer. Isn’t it ‘something’ that I found your piece in my mailbox just after I’d decided! Perhaps she’ll be coming in spirit to live at my house on Monday. I’ll take good care of her. Now you rest in peace, too, my dear.

    • theozarker says:

      Thanks Caitlin; I hope your dog will be as loving and full of life as Indika has been. She’s been everything we could want in a dog. Do ask about any history of hip dysplasia in the dog’s family. Boxers and other larger dogs are particulary prone to it.

      And then, love and enjoy her or him.

  2. jj says:

    This is such a hard (but necessary) decision to make. I had to put my old Foxy Dog down this last fall, and I still miss her terribly. My thoughts are with you.

  3. You helped a fellow earthly creature! Something to be proud of.

  4. graveday says:

    So sorry to hear this. Twelve years is a tad short, as you mentioned, but you get what you get.
    We took on an older female who is now thirteen and in way, way, better shape than when she arrived a couple years ago. Her coat shines, she has bounce, and sports a thin layer of fat where ribs boned out before. She even got through a horrifying and still mysterious bout of paralysis that lasted about two weeks. Still, she lives in a parallel world to our Jack Russell who is a mere eight.
    Twelve years has a nice apostolic ring to it, more so since he is white. Bon voyage, Indika

    • theozarker says:

      Thank you, grave. My son was told she would probably only live for around six years when he got her, so we were blessed with twice the time we expected to have with her. Sounds like your dog is a lucky gal to have been taken in by you and your family, but I’m sure you’ve gotten a good return of love for your investment.
      I hope Indika has lots of green grass and maybe an upper window to look out of. :)

  5. Nadia says:

    My heart aches for you and your son. RIP Indika wherever your spirit soars, you will be always loved and missed by your family .

    We have two wonderful loving dogs who seek each other and us out every day for play …. and the sheer thought of losing either of them makes me tear up…. the sheer joy our partners in nature make of their lives provides us a wonderful example of another way of living out our time.

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