The Family Dog Dies

After growing weaker each day for a week, no longer eating or drinking, her ribs visible from weight loss, her look glassy and, I thought, a little frightened, and no wag at all in her tail, Ginger was put to sleep this morning.

The family had been crying on and off for days. On a quilt on the floor of a room at the sympathetic vets, we watched her fall literally asleep from a tranquilizer and then deeper from a heavy shot of anesthesia. Her breathing slowed and stopped.

Younger days

Younger days

We thanked her for her love and promised her our memory. She looked peaceful, except for an angle to her head that she never had while she was alive.

I’m shaken by how quickly a life can blink out, like a light bulb that has glowed for years, then flickers for a second and goes dark for good. We take the persistence of being alive for granted. Any living dog or human seems as if it will go on forever as it is now. What a stomach-churning shock when the life machine breaks down and quits, and life is gone like a puff of air.

Sadness is said to have its roots as a way for children to manage their separations from mother as they grow and change. That feeling of a disappearance, a hole in the air, helps us adjust to a new order of things. We slow down, pull back, find support, and finally regroup and revive. Ginger’s last gift to us.

5 thoughts on “The Family Dog Dies

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your Ginger. Yes, I agree with you, we take being alive for granted. To me it was obvious when my wife and I went to the vet to put down our 13 year old pit mix, Alex. I, erroneously, thought that she’d always be with us. Alex taught me so many lessons, and even until the end she kept on teaching me that I have to learn to let go. The first 2 weeks after she left I was numb. I cried while driving to the vet and again when I sat down in my car crying my eyes with my wife, but for some odd reason I couldn’t feel anything for the next 2 weeks. I hated it. I hated not feeling anything. And then, one day while I was driving it hit me, “My Alex, my teacher, my companion, my friend, the one being that brought so much love and balance to my life was gone, and you know what? I cried so hard that I had to pull over. I am glad I am feeling all this pain for her. She is worth it. I miss her like crazy, just like you and your family miss your Ginger. They never leave our hearts nor our minds. I am glad for that too. I am sorry about your loss and I am glad that you Ginger was part of your family.

  2. Brock and Nancy,
    Literally … I feel your pain! Ginger girl brought so much joy into the lives she sniffed! My favorite memory and photo was captured by dear Amy Turner of both Meredith and Molly in Ginger’s crate with Ginger… Nancy and I laughed for years over that picture. I suppose that s what pets are meant to do for us humans, bring us joy and comfort… The naughty memories always forgotten.
    Our golden girl Callie and her friend Ginger are now romping together after crossing the rainbow bridge from this human world into a world of their own. Love you loyal and faithful friend… Peace… Meg

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