To everything there is a season. A time to be born and a time to die.
Rita died on Monday. She was old, but she didn’t die of old age. We requested euthanasia. The vet agreed it was time. She was 13 years old. Her hips were shot.
Still, she’d had her moments over the past few weeks. We’d tug her up onto those wobbly hind legs; she’d waddle off, tail wagging, and look back at us proudly. We noticed her gallant effort. And that made the road ahead harder.
If she had been able to talk, I would have asked her: Do you really want to go on living this way?
What kind of question is that?! Of course, I do! Ever notice how you limp more and more? Your right knee is shot. Is it your time to go?
Maybe it’s good dogs can’t talk.
To everything there is a season. A time for love and a time for hate.
Yes, I hate her for stealing our hearts, for trusting us with her life, and then forcing this upon us. All the way to the clinic, she said not a word. She sat on her haunches looking out the back window as though she’d never see this world again.
We opened the back hatch and lifted her in our arms. She gazed softly into our eyes. She knew we’d never do her any harm.
She had come to us from a rescue center as a scared and skittish puppy. It was a cold February day. We carried her into our warm house. Maya, our black lab, couldn’t wait to sniff her butt and lick her ears. And just like that, Rita had a mate.
When Maya died a few years later, we adopted a black lab. Rita adored her younger sister, Lucy. She sniffed her butt and licked her ears. Lucy gladly returned the favor. Often.
When our infant twin granddaughters crawled on the floor, Rita would sniff their diapered butts and lick their ears. They hugged her hard and tight. She watched over them. They came to call her “Dog Mom.”
Now our lovely Rita is gone. And Lucy is forlorn. She sits on her haunches and gazes softly into our eyes. And we into hers.
To everything there is a season. A time to speak and a time to be silent.