Thursday, December 07, 2006

Requiem in Pace my Canine Buddy

His condition worsened quickly. He started to stagger a bit. He did try to eat, but it all came back up. He needed me to hold his head up to sleep Sunday night, and in the morning he wasn't able to hold water down.

We took him in late Monday morning. He had always been a dog that preferred being outside, and he showed interest in the world outside the car windows, so I held him up so he could see. At the clinic he was happy to see some other dogs. And when I let him out of the car he wanted to walk around and sniff. It was a sunny day, and he had been stuck inside for weeks by the cold except when he had to go out. Walking in the sunshine invigorated him for a little while, he enjoyed it while his energy lasted. Then we went inside.

The only regret that I have about the only other dog that I had adopted and had a close relationship with, was that I did not stay with her through the end. This was many many years ago, I was just a teenager. And, when given a choice by the veterinarian, I opted to wait in another room. Yet, I took her body home to bury.

That was one of the points when I became aware of our strange contemporary relationship with death. One of the experiences that lead to years of consideration and study of thanatology. Those years lead to a very Gnostic view, before I discovered Gnosticism and recognized it as my path.

This week, I did the opposite of those many years ago. I stayed with him through the end, then when he was gone, there was an outworn form.

It is still very difficult. I walk several times a day past the door where I let him in and out, or would go out to play, or just peek out the window to check on him. When I am thinking about something else, the thought often intrudes to check on him, or let him in. We grow together when we live together. We become family, regardless of species. I did not call him my dog or my pet, I called him my buddy. And though we did not chose each other to begin with, we chose each other over time, and that is the meaning of family.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Father Troy,

My thoughts and prayer will be with you as you moan the loss of your freind.

Love,

Marsha+

Jordan Stratford+ said...

Troy+

With great sorrow for your loss, I shall light a candle for your buddy at Mass on Sunday.

Courage.

jp said...

Troy, you have my sincere and heartfelt condolences. As a fellow dog companion, I can't imagine what you must be going through. You and he are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Five years ago our dog Rex became very ill while we were on vacation in California. The place that boarded him had to take him to the animal hospital. I had to come back early for work, so the next morning after returning from my trip I went to go see him. I was hoping to keep him alive until my husband and children came back also, but he was suffering too much. So I stayed with him the day after Christmas until he passed on. Although I was incredibly sad, I knew he was ready to go and I felt he was relieved to be free from his material body. Almost a year later is when I started attending the Gnostic Church.

Condolences on your loss of your dear friend.

Andrea

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of the loss of your dear companion. Peace

Ken in Calgary

Eirik Kaasa said...

Dear Father Troy,

I just felt like giving you my support. I have had two dogs, both of them I have followed through on their last journey. They literary died in my arms, and I am so grateful I was there with them - and I think they needed me there. I truly believe that animals, like us, have a soul that lives on and that we always are connected somehow.

Best wishes,
Eirik from Tofte, Norway