Monday, February 09, 2009

Alas poor Oberon...

I took Obie for his final vet appointment last Friday. His life was no longer fun in any way for him. He had stopped eating, refused to take his pills and was having great difficulty getting up and down the stairs to go outside. His hair was coming out in huge chunks from all the stress and pain of shrunken muscles and arthritis in the hips. I couldn't bear watching him waste away.

When I got to the vet's I found I had to wait in line for my pet to be euthanized. A woman ahead of me began sobbing inconsolably as her cat was put down. Fortunately, I had left Obie in the truck while I went in to handle the paperwork and payments. To sit there and wait with him while that was going on would have been too much to take. So I sat alone in the lobby and silently dabbed at my own tears while the woman mourned her cat. Once she left, I went out for Obie. Carried him in and held him in my arms. He buried his head in my chest as the shot brought him down.

I felt for the vet and her staff. Euthanasia's are scheduled at the end of the day. The final final appointments. Hell of a way to end your day and to have them stacked up in a row. Life sucks when it has to end, that's for sure.

Oberon was a big dog with a Husky's coat and eyes, and a retriever's joy in fetching objects. He lived a good 15 years. The past couple of weeks brought about a rapid decline. He wasn't going to get better and the pain was only going to get worse. It's a very hard thing to go through, but I only hope that should I face that kind of death, I'll find the help I need to go beyond the pain.

I got back in my truck and headed home to pack for Cincinnati for a weekend of professional development. I left the cat in the care of the pet sitter. Got on 71 and headed all the way down past Columbus through Queen City and on into Kentucky to a hotel at the airport. A four and half hour drive. For company, I had the new Kinks box set, Picture Book. I sang along through the six CDs all the way there. I sang away the ache in my heart for Obie for most of the way. But certain songs brought tears to my eyes. Misfits, for example: "Because it's true what they say, every dog has his day."

When I found Obie 15 years ago, he was a lost puppy in the middle of traffic in East Ave. I was a first year drama teacher, too poor to buy a car, walking home from school. I spotted this scrawny dirty puppy and called him out of harm's way. He attached himself immediately to me, imprinting like a newly hatched gosling, and he has been a one woman dog for the past 15 years. Totally loyal. I am missing my shadow tonight. He's not under the computer table. He's not giving me the bizarro eye stare indicating it is time to go outside.

Obie had one white eye and one brown eye. His eyes had been deteriorating of late. Sometimes I'd find him standing vacantly staring at nothing, looking lost and bewildered. Doggie dementia, perhaps.

Above is the last portrait of Oberon with favorite squeaky toy. We had a good time together over winter break. He loved to catch and fetch his toys. We had a good long run together.
Alas poor Oberon, I knew him well...a canine of infinite joy in squeaky toys.


Dave P. said...

We're so sorry for your loss. We went through that several years ago with a beloved Aussie of 14 years. It's great that you saved him and that you had a great, long run together. Take care!

KevinBBG said...

I'm sorry to hear about poor Oberon, I know what it's like to lose a pet, it's more like losing a close friend or family member. I still miss Nikko even though it's been 5 years since she died.

mud_rake said...

We, too, had to endure that pain for our beagle of 13 years. I told my children and wife that I would go in with Happy while the vet put her to sleep, but I could not bear it and left the room in tears.

My heart goes out to you.

Village Green said...

What I'm noticing now is how 15 years of dog-human habits suddenly come to a halt makes for a jarring day. The dog and the human establish mutual rhythms that enhance the quality of both lives. I have asked Ophelia the cat to step up and play more, and she is happy to oblige. Still I expect another dog to land here sometime this summer.

Greater Akron Partnership For Sustainability said...

I'm sorry to hear about Oberon. I know you'll miss him. Peace.