It’s my ‘birthday’ but my heart’s still broken

It was one year ago today that I had my operation related to my heart attack. For all intents and purposes I consider today an unofficial ‘birthday’ because I’ve been given a second chance at life. During that year I’ve been able to reflect on what’s important to me, do things I normally wouldn’t and appreciate everything that life has had to offer to me. In a strange way I feel like Ebeneezer Scrooge. I should be happy and overjoyed.

But I’m not.

My dog, Farley, had just celebrated his 15th birthday this past November. Unfortunately, the day that I always knew would be coming is today. I’ve made the painful decision to bring him to our vet and let him pass peacefully and with dignity. This has not been an easy decision as I’ve flip-flopped repeatedly on whether or not I should go through with it. Even though he has difficulty he can still walk and he still gets excited going outside. But his body and his mind are betraying him – he’ll try to run but it will only be for a few feet. He suffers from cognitive dysfunction syndrome which is getting progressively worse. His arthritis is causing him to lose the function of his rear legs. There have been many a night and morning where I’ve had to carry him up or down the stairs.

We were supposed to have warm sunny weather the past few days. It seems that after I made the decision to let Farley go it has been raining. It seems like Mother Nature is always sad when she knows one of my dogs is going to leave me.

I’ve taken Farley out for car rides and to parks that he enjoyed where he’s been able to romp around and sniff. On Monday, I gave him a bath – his last bath – so that he would be nice and clean for Dr. Werden. It gave me a chance to bond with him and feel close to him. Last night I slept with him on the floor on his dog bed in the living room. He doesn’t really like people snuggling him but he let me lay my head on him. When it was time to go to sleep I led him to the stairs, picked him up and carried him to the bed where I laid him down on Angela’s side of the bed. He immediately snuggled up to her pillows and fell asleep.

As I fell asleep I dreaded having to face today.

Morning finally crept upon us and I started bracing myself for the wave of emotions that I’d be wrestling with. Friends have come by to see him one last time and have wished us well. He had chicken for breakfast and we ate hamburgers with Inky. Right now he’s snoozing in the office while I sit here typing, praying that 6:15, the time of his appointment, never comes.

A lot of people may not have the type of bond that I have with Farley; some people may not understand it since he’s ‘just a dog’. But to me he’s not just a dog. I’ve had him since he was just a few weeks old. In the absence of human children he’s been my son, my friend, my confidant. We’ve had adventures and good times; we’ve seen each other through bad times and disasters. He’s my family. He would be me if I was a dog.

I’m losing him today and I haven’t felt a pain like this since losing my dad and Tobey.

I love you, Farley. I always will.