I’m at that age when friends are becoming grandparents, and I hear a frequent refrain from them: Besides adoring their grandchildren, they express joyful wonderment at seeing their children become parents.
I’m not ready for grandchildren yet. But I’m going through a similar experience at the other end of life, watching one of my daughters manage the death of her beloved dog.
By the time you read this, he will be gone. His death — the euphemistic “putting down” — was on Friday, scheduled with care and deliberation. It’s been clear for months that the tumor on his heart was inoperable and the accumulation of fluid in his belly, making him appear as if he were pregnant with quadruplets, was the only part of him that was growing. His torso and limbs were skinny with deterioration, his gait awkward and his anxiety managed by an ever-increasing dose of drugs.
But my daughter said he never lost his sweetness and goofy enthusiasm. He had always been her dog. Our family had other pets — dogs, cats, fish, a pair of smelly, constantly procreating guinea pigs — but after going through a rough patch in high school, my daughter wanted her own dog and she deserved it.
Puppies and tween girls. You need only hear the-high pitched squeals — coming from the girls, that is — when the two meet up to know that they are a perfect pair.
Stacey Radin, a clinical psychologist, business-leadership consultant and mother of two children, knew that it would be a great match when last January, she started Unleashed NY, a non-profit organization that brings together middle school-age girls with puppies rescued from unsafe environments.
She started Unleashed after conducting a three-year research project that focused on women and power. “When I looked at very successful women, they were still struggling with the concept of power and how to use it effectively,” she said. “They were major influencers yet couldn’t transfer that to thinking of themselves as powerful.”