Last night, we watched a show on the Discovery channel talking about those seventeen-year cicadas. The cicadas' evolutionary trait of "predatory satiation" allows for most of the cicadas to survive the advances of predators based on sheer numbers; there are always enough survivors to ensure procreation. After seventeen years of development as nymphs underground, the surviving adult cicadas only live several weeks... When they die, their bodies decompose and become a part of the soil, providing nutrients for the plants that will then sustain the nymphs who will live underground until the next seventeen-year cycle is complete.

I couldn't avoid making the connection of this circle of life to our pup, Regis. Right now, Regis is laying on the floor near my feet as I type this. I can hear Dave getting his keys now in order to bring him to the veterinarian. This time, it isn't for the chemotherapy that was helping him battle the lymphoma that he was diagnosed with three months ago; that treatment quit working weeks ago. Today, we will say goodbye to Regis.

We knew yesterday that it was time. Regis' lymph nodes were swollen so badly that it looked like he had golf balls stuck in his mouth and cheeks. He had two accidents, unable to make it overnight or let us know during the day that he had to go outside. His food bowl has remained at the same level over the past four days. Instead of bounding down the stairs, following us, he stood at the top, tentatively trying to make the first step, then backing up, knowing that the effort might be too much.

But, knowing that it is time doesn't make it any easier.

This morning, I had an interview. I tried to keep the entire thing out of my mind in order to stay focused. On the way home from the interview, I was torn between wanting to get home to see Regis and spend time with him or driving around for as long as possible, knowing that when I got home, Dave was going to take him to the vet. I kept thinking... "In three hours, in two hours, in one hour..." I saw the blanket in the back seat of the car, used for Regis when we would go "bye-bye." What do we do with the blanket now? Or his leash? Or the goodies that we never had the chance to give him?

When we first found out that Regis had lymphoma three months ago, we decided to have him cremated... We'll keep his ashes and when we move to our 'forever house,' we'll plant a tree and place his ashes beneath it. It seemed like the best way to tribute our friend. Allowing his ashes to become part of a living thing that would be a reminder in our daily lives of the best dog that anyone could ever wish to have.

And I know that the hurt that we have now is only a tiny payoff for the immense love, fun, and comfort that we've shared with Regis over the past years.


Jennifer said...

We had our dog cremated with his favorite blanket, and we have the collar in the urn. The vet may use the extra blankets. Then you know they are helping other creatures in need. When we went through this, it was one of the most painful things I've done to date. We spent the afternoon on the deck writing down all our good memories of him too. My condolences.

rosemary said...

Oh Violet I am so sorry....we lost Penelope a little over a week ago. I know what you are feeling. I still have Penny's collar in the kitchen. I can't put it away. The vet came to the house and Penny was able to be in the forest for her last moments. For all Regis gave he got equally in love from you and Dave.

Caroline Bender said...

Always a hard moment for any family. See the kids' book The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. It talks about this returning to the earth. Helpful reflection for any age. ~~CB

Nobody™ said...

I'm very sorry to hear about Regis. My own pup isn't doing so good these days, some days she's fine and other days not so much.. I can't stand the thought that some day she won't be with me anymore, so I think I know how you feel.

Mishka said...

So sorry to hear about your loss...we had to put our cat of 19 years down a few years ago and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do but I know that it was better for her to go with my holding and petting her than any other way.

They are like members of the family and even though we have our other cat here, I still miss Madison too.