It is a sad, difficult issue to think about, at least for me and my dog, Chance. The likelihood of my physical demise gets closer and closer. With another birthday just behind me and my physical condition deteriorating, I need to think about “final wishes.”
The priority for me is Chance, who has been through so much with me and who counts on me for everything. Chance, too, is getting up there in years, although I think he is as smart and handsome as ever, the possibilities of adoption for an older dog, a “mutt” no less, is remote. More to the point, as much as Chance is the center of so much of my thinking, he turns to me for everything. I joke that I am just the “food guy,” but in truth when he is scared or worried or just wants company he comes to me. Even when other people are around, I am the one he counts on to protect and love him.
Chance is also the one that I turn to for love and kindness. He sleeps with me and sometimes when my demons are too frightening and the pills will not let me rest, I hold onto his paw and stroke his face until I fall asleep.
I also know that no one will care for me if I get seriously ill and take care of Chance, too. They will separate us — me in a hospital or SNF and Chance in a shelter waiting to die alone. I won’t let that happen.
As odd as this sounds Chance and I had this discussion one night, and in a clear voice he told me that if I died he would not want to be left behind. He wants to go with me. He does not want to have his life put in the hands of strangers who will not understand him, who might not revere his soul and heart as I do. He wants us to go quietly into that good night together.
Now I feel it is my duty, when the moment comes — and it could weeks, months, even longer — to have a plan for both of us. I want to die looking into his eyes and for him to see me looking at him with all the love and adoration that one creature can have for another.
I will figure it out. Of all the things I have fucked up in life, this will not be one of them.
PS I am not allowing comments to this post. I know the killers and the hunters and the meat eaters are out there ready to slaughter with their hate another kind animal with more soul and heart than they will ever have. I also don’t want to hear from the do-gooders — the people who want to pretend we will all live forever and that none of this is necessary. They are living in a fantasy world. I am living in a real world with a real creature that I love and will care for until my very end.