On living till you die

Yesterday D&L gave me first refusal on a big pile of dog stuff they’re getting rid of since they plan on never having another dog. I suggested they might want to defer that decision for a few months, because nearly everybody I know who buries a dog swears off ever going through that again and most change their minds within a few months. But their minds were made up, they said: They were both old and getting older fast with numerous health issues each. They were determined not to leave a dog abandoned in a shelter when they were too old to care for it or dead.

From a humanitarian viewpoint, of course I completely approve. I’ve mentioned myself recently that I might regret taking on a puppy at my age, in the fullness of time, if it turns out the dog outlives me. As we saw with Laddie, the dog can take that kind of hard.

But, I suggested, there was still the possibility of a compromise. What if they decided they really wanted a dog in their house – they both complained about how quiet and empty it suddenly seemed – and so looked for an older dog that had been abandoned under just those circumstances? No, no, they insisted: They were done with dogs at their age.

I follow their reasoning, I certainly didn’t argue, but upon reflection I’m not sure I agree. There’s being reasonable and realistic about your age and prospects, that’s always rational. I won’t be taking up skydiving or MMA fighting very soon. But that’s not the same as giving up, turning your face to the wall and getting ready to die, which is kind of what I heard in their voices. Personally I’ve become a strong proponent of living till you die.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to On living till you die

  1. Ben says:

    Everybody has their own definition of what “living “ means to them. I have also sworn off pets, but for an entirely different (albeit selfish) reason. It’s because my definition of “living “ means not being tied down. It’s the same reason I don’t have kids anymore, besides the fact that children are biologically impossible for me.

  2. Malatrope says:

    Precisely! I plan on not worrying about what might kill me, until someday I just faceplant into my BBQ. What kind of life can you have if you constantly worry? Live like you’re 30, with maybe a bad cold.

  3. Robert says:

    Malatrope just gave me my new mantra “faceplant into my BBQ”. Thanks, Mal!

  4. czechsix says:

    As the saying goes “You can get busy living, or you can get busy dying. The choice is yours.”

  5. Goober says:

    Absolutely. There’s nothing stopping you from working out an agreement with someone and putting your dog’s disposition in a will. I’ve seen this far too many times. Old folks just get… ok with the idea of dying, sure, but the step after that is what bothers me. The step where they just kind of give up and die while they’re still alive.

    I kind of like the “secondhand Lions” idea of living. If I don’t die in my 90s while trying to fly a home-built biplane through my barn, I’m going to be sorely disappointed in myself.

  6. Joel you can help them through this … I agree though that losing a longtime pet can be as painful as losing your spouse … unless one foots already in the grave an older rescue might not be such a bad idea … plus there’s two of them … please tell them many have felt this pain … you and I for sure … Patrick

  7. winston smith says:

    I recently made the same choice that D/L have made. The large breed that i must have lives about 10-12yrs, tho my last girl lived past 14(extremely rare). A requirement i impose on myself is that i must be able to lift and carry my dog to safety/care with no assistance in the event of an emergency. This has happened to me before. My last 3 dogs have weighed 112, 136, and 122. At my age and with my college hockey knees and hip, i must be realistic that I wont be able to do that in 10 years. Even assuming i am still alive.

    I literally cant imagine leaving behind, aka failing in my obligation to care for a dog for its entire life. Thats just me, and we are all different. Please, no one take this as me being judgemental because we all do what we can do.

    But yeah Joel- i have thought of taking in an old dog or fostering. But the heartbreak of losing that one is still there. Sometimes theres only so much of that you can take in life. For now, i am just going to enjoy the hell out of other folks’ dogs without that total attachment.

  8. Mike says:

    I understand where D&L are coming from because my wife and I are in a similar situation. Our little lady is 15 now and has asthma so she get an inhaler shoved onto her face every 12 hours. After the latest visit to the vet, we were told that there is now a thyroid issue and a liver enzyme issue. The vet had some tests in mind to figure out a cause, but north of two grand for these tests on a retired person’s pension ain’t going to happen. So we make her comfortable and wait. All this adds up to serious heartache as we watch our little friend slowly fade away. And, we have decided that at our age, we don’t want to go through this any more.

  9. wayne charles dygert says:

    In my opinion, you’re

  10. wayne charles dygert says:

    on the right track. (born in ’46) vivimus dum vivimus

  11. --jim says:

    I’m where Winston is right now….if the next Shepherd lives as long as the last two I would be in my 70’s…and hard pressed to get them in the truck…when the time comes

    Still have other rescues here and the way it usually goes someone will send one our way again

    Will have to see just how optimistic I am that day

To the stake with the heretic!