Okay, let’s talk about this…

First of all, thank you very much for all the comments. I do appreciate it.

For the record I know perfectly well that I did the right thing and what I blame myself for is making him suffer through six endless hours before I nutted up and – did the right thing. And probably I have a lot of dead chickens to thank for crossing the threshold into “yes, he can pull the trigger.” Because I’ll be honest with you – I spent my whole life wondering if I could do that exact thing. So no, I’m not wallowing in self-loathing over shooting Laddie.

But that doesn’t change how grotesque this is. If anybody ever woke up one fine morning and said to himself, “You know what would be great today? If I could shoot a Corgi!” it’s just really important you don’t hire him on your police force.

In my mind and maybe yours there are two basic kinds of purebred dog: Big capable dogs bred for work, and carpet dogs. Corgis … turn out to kind of bridge that gap and maybe that’s what makes them so preternaturally adorable? Or maybe it’s just that trick they do with their eyes. All I know is once Laddie settled in and really decided I was his person, this was his place and he was cool with that, and that took a while … Well. I liked having him around.

Thing is, I would class Laddie’s breed in the very bottom slot on my list of “dogs I’d like to shoot in the head” if I started having that list. And Laddie is the only one I know. So. Grotesque.

But my description of those six hours is if anything understated. I put him through six hours of hell while I contemplated nonsense about how normal people don’t shoot Corgis, there’s got to be some specific rule against it. I’ll just have to carry that, I’m quite sure I’ll never entirely forgive myself for taking so goddam long to shoot him.

The cancer – that was just bad luck. Dogs never get as old as you’d like. I’ll mourn for him, but life goes on. Like Magnus and Fritz and Ghost and Little Bear, Torso Boy has a place in my heart.

But Jesus Christ! Was Murphy on coke or something, to make me shoot my own goddam Corgi?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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16 Responses to Okay, let’s talk about this…

  1. Fitz says:

    You’re too harsh on yourself. 6 hours?
    How long do you give the little guy who chased off a herd recently to fight for a few more weeks of life before you know what you have to do? How long do you need to steel yourself enough to tear out a bit of your heart?
    Easy enough to second guess yourself, but I’d have douts about anyone who didn’t need hours to say “it’s time” in that situation.
    And yes, it is grotesque, and Murphy is a meth’d out rage zombie this year.

  2. Ben says:

    I’m not literate enough to add anything useful to what Fitz said, except to say he got it exactly right.

  3. Beaner49 says:

    As gut wrenching as the deed was,it falls into that category of it had to be done.
    Many would have been unable to .
    Yet the logic of the situation will never, never override the emotion of actually doing it.
    Love cuts both ways.
    TB will always be a part of your life, just remember him fondly
    Look for him when you you cross that brightly colored bridge everyone talks about.

  4. Norman says:

    I’ll third the motion on what Fitz said.

    And add this: Joel, you had the courage to do what needed to be done, the integrity to accept the responsibility for doing it, and the compassion to agonize deeply over it.

    Those are the traits the best of mankind hopes to achieve.

  5. paulb says:

    Can’t add much. Cancer seems to have a bit of random effect. One case is diagnose, and bury. Next is diagnose, treat and not bury. Sucks but it is a big unknown

    As to Murphy, he is a drag queen on meth with a incoherate rage.

    You are handling it as well as can be expected.

  6. winston smith says:

    OK, I’ll change my wording. Dont beat yourself up for not knowing that those 6 hours were his last. You held out hope that it was a bump in the road to the inevitable death and hoped that it would get a little better soon. Thats human. Thats all of us.

    I speak from experience:
    Akita #1 died from lymphoma: should have let him go 1 to 1.5 days sooner.
    Akita #2: out of the blue, couldnt have seen it coming, timing was irrelevant.
    Akita #3: similar to TB- me grasping at hope overnight until he gave me The Look that says ‘Dad dont let me suffer longer’. This one is truly my greatest regret in life. If i only had the appropriate drug to at least let him rest until the vet opened and for the trip there.
    Akita #4: based on #3, i was ready with those drugs this time (legal, i have a close relationship with my vet)
    You cant know everything. You educate yourself to make the best decision you can possibly make with all the facts in hand at the time and then live with yourself knowing youve done your best. Its all anyone can do.

  7. Tom from east Tennessee says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and for the difficult circumstances. I hope you’re able to come to peace with it, and I know you’ll always remember Laddie. If it helps any, I don’t think you had any other choice and I’m sure you did the best that you could.
    I lost my beloved terrier 15 years ago to cancer and it was probably a different kind (does it matter?) but went from “a little sick” to having to euthanize her in less than a week. The last night she couldn’t breathe and I knew it was time, hard as it was. I think you did the best that could be done.

  8. Mark says:

    You can only do…. what you can do.

    I am sorrowful you had to put your family member out of pain.

    I am proud you were able to do it.

    You should be too.

    Bullet in the brain of an unsuspecting animal is the most humane way available to you.
    Drugs may be equal, but the delay in getting drugs into your pet may cause agonizing pain.

    God bless and get a mutt puppy when you are able.

    They are more stable than pure bred lines.

  9. I’d be more worried about you Joel if the decision to take hard, final and irrevocable action seemed quick and easy. I know you said that dealing with the chickens had let you know that you were capable of such a major decision and action, but there’s a big difference – chickens are food, not pets or family that we care about.

    I’m sure that those terrible 6 hours were endless agony for you, but I sure hope that when my end time comes that I’ll only have to suffer for 6 hours before it’s over.

  10. Phssthpok says:

    “In my mind and maybe yours there are two basic kinds of purebred dog: Big capable dogs bred for work, and carpet dogs.”

    Just know that in the short time Laddie had out in the desert, you gave his ‘Working dog’ instincts a chance to emerge and shine. Laddie got to LIVE his last days instead of them being relegated to a ‘Carpet dog’ *existence*.

    Smelling the wild, marking territory against interlopers *for realsies*, Jeep rides, chas..er.. HERDING cattle, playing tag around some scrub-brush… *LIFE*… not mere Existence.


  11. Matt says:

    Joel, you did just fine. The fact that it bothers you after the fact shows you are a man of good conscience and character.

    Go get another dog that needs a good home.

  12. Titan Mk6B says:

    It’s one of the things that happens when you are top of the food chain. Plus when you can live 60-100 years and a dog is 10-14 (approx) this shit happens.

    I’ve always said that one of the biggest problems of being human is that we outlive our pets. Or really, the friends that they become.

    Hell, I am tearing up over your loss and what I will have to face when I have to make the same decision on my dog who is 9 years old now and is possibly the absolutely most loyal dog I have ever owned; and I have had a lot of them.

    After I lost the one before him I swore I would never get another dog because it hurts just too much to lose them but my wife changed my mind. I am glad she did because the best medicine for losing a dog is to get another one.

    I hope I helped.

  13. VietVet says:

    I had to put our much loved Sassy down three years back. Her little schnauzer heart failed and I couldn’t bear her suffering. I swore I’d not have another, but I’ve had dogs in my life since childhood. Last year I acquired an eight week old Great Pyrenees pup as a farm dog on my little fifteen acre paradise in the woods.

    You never forget a dog. You’ll forget a lot of people. Jedediah is my buddy, too damn big for a lap dog, not fearful of any other living thing and I’ve no question as to his love, loyalty or company.

    You did the hard things. Grieve, remember and enjoy the memories.

  14. Frank says:

    As a new member of the fraternity, there are some things I need to pass on, first like fight club, it’s not a topic of discussion. ( Partly because in some places it is a crime , for which some Karen will happily turn you in. ) I don’t pretend it makes any sense but that’s life. Also you will find that this type of conversation can make the people around you VERY uncomfortable, if you feel the need to vent, find a person who is also of this” club” and talk it through. Most other people especially city folks will not understand what you are going through and will go out of their way to make you feel way worse.( Believe me!) God blessed you with a good dog, he also blessed you with this task. We don’t know why perhaps he will tell you on the other side, but for now understand this is something that you me and many other people have been selected to go through in preparation for something else. What that is, your guess is as good as mine. I tell people ( and I have to remind myself sometimes) God doesn’t give us more than we can bear, all trials and tribulations are in each of our paths to mold us into something that he desires. thank God for all your blessings and look forward to what he has in store for you. I’m sure it will be something special. Be well be happy

  15. Dude, if you hadn’t given him those 6 hours to see if the tide turned back, you’d be hating yourself for that. I think all of us have done something similar with a pet or even with a person. When the patient can’t communicate, you have to make the best decision you can with the info you have. As long as what you did was from love, it isn’t’ the wrong decision. And I totally believe that.

  16. fred lewers says:

    You have my sincerest sympathy. I had to shoot my german shepherd Atticus on new years day 2017. worst day of my life. A dog and some cats have a way of burrowing into your heart and wallowing out their perfect little spot. I waited too long to put mine down and had to do it myself. But the pain does subside. eventually. after a loooong time. dont second guess yourself. treasure the memories. they’ll be even better when your heart heals.

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