Yesterday we made the decision to have Jack put to sleep. A decision. A choice. He could have gone on for weeks or months I suppose; unable to get up and down on his own, limping across the floor and panting each time we lifted him and took him outside, barking and fretting for hours each day from his spot on the floor, jerking from pain during dressing changes. He could have, but now he won’t have to.
His quality of life was such that I know I’m not supposed to feel guilty about it. The decision was painful but the experience was almost cathartic. He wasn’t the Jack we had known anymore, though he remained the Jack we loved until the very end. The grieving process has been a strange mix of terrible sadness (I’m quite certain the sheer volume of tears I cried yesterday would match any other major life event, my dear grandmother’s death included) and relief.
I find I miss his physical presence the most today. The house is quiet. There are no bandages to change, food to prepare, pills to give, or barking to appease. Instead a big gaping hole exists where a loveable goofball named Jack used to be. I’m sad. I don’t know when that overwhelming feeling of sorrow will begin to fade. It’s just a dog. Except he wasn’t.