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.