It’s not like we weren’t warned this was coming.
Those of you who follow me here or on Facebook have seen me post about my dog Arrow. Specifically, the medical issues he’s been having for the last few months, mostly caused by being 16 years old. Arrow’s life had been growing increasingly burdensome, as it ultimately does for all of us who get very old.
This morning, it was clear he’d had enough. We quietly and peacefully set that burden aside.
As sad as it is — I’m crying like a beauty pageant runner-up as I write this — it’s all okay. Sixteen years is an excellent run, even if that last year was mostly a walk. Arrow spent every day of his life with enough food, a warm and dry place to sleep, space to run around (and track back inside, which he did on purpose), and his family around him just about every minute of his life. He licked, growled at, peed on, or just sniffed all that he surveyed. He may have groused if I was more than 10 minutes late with his dinner, but such trials only highlight the good times. Overall, I think I did right by him.
But the problem with having a dog that lives a long time is that he’s part of your family for a long time. He spent a decade and a half carving out a little grumpy hole in my life that’s going to be tough to refill. I’m going to miss my little buddy.
Dog lovers often say things like “be the person your dog thinks you are.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I think it doesn’t go far enough. Arrow thought I was a food dispensary and leash Nazi that also gave him belly rubs. Instead, be someone worthy of the loyalty your dog gives you.
Goodbye, Arrow. Despite what you might have heard three times a day for your entire life, you were a really good dog.