This morning I had to put my dog Tasha to sleep. She had ovarian cancer, very advanced. There was no sense in trying to remove it. Since she'd never been spayed, the vet suggested that the cancer was most likely malignant. He didn't even charge me for the visit when he first diagnosed her. My wife and I decided to leave her alone until such a time when her appetite subsided and her suffering became apparent, then we would put her to sleep.
She was eleven years old and we've had her since my wife and I first got together. She was a tiny little furball then. Chow chows are very hairy, and she was no exception. The one constant thing she brought into our lives was dog hair flying everywhere.
A mixed breed, she seemed to take the best of what her chow chow features had to offer, and shed some of their less attractive ones. People would pull their cars over on the street to tell us how beautiful she was. With her golden mane she looked a bit like a lion. So much so that when only a baby, when seeing the opening credits of any MGM film that has the lion roaring before the beginning, my daughter would always yell out "Tasha!" while pointing at the screen. She was a gorgeous dog.
She got her temperamental behavior from her chow chow side. She was never one to associate with other dogs nor with people she wasn't familiar with. Very unsociable. We were a little nervous, wondering what her reaction would be when my daughter was born. She'd never taken to children at all. But from the start she took it upon herself to let her in as part of the family, sniffing and kissing her, and standing guard beside her crib. She would later play the parts of horse and dressing mate, as Christina chose her to be the victim of her imaginative games. I never heard so much as a light growl out of her.
Those who've never had dogs can't possibly understand the pain you go through when they pass away. Or perhaps the thought of it is enough to dissuade them from having one in the first place. But what people fail to comprehend is that all the costs and suffering that come with having a dog, and the burden of looking out for them at all times, are far outweighed by the sheer pleasure and delight that you derive from their friendship. Dogs teach you to love and show you how to be loved; they fill your life with warmth and affection. I don't regret not having whatever things I may have missed out on because I had a dog, not for a second. The tradeoff is much sweeter than most can imagine.
Thank you Tasha. I'll miss you!