Last month my mother had to have Charlie, her spaniel, put down. It was time, but of course that didn’t make it any easier on her or my dad.
My mother inspired my love of dogs. She loved having animals around and cared for ducks, geese, lambs, cows, and cats as much as she did for dogs. But now she is 75, unsteady on her feet, and has some heart troubles. She thinks that Charlie may have been her last dog.
Of course any of them can be our last: I could get hit by a car tomorrow, leaving Kunga and Lucy behind. But it’s different as you age, and have to think more about your responsibilities. I think my mom would love to have a new pup, but there’s no way she’d be able to take care of an active dog or go through the potty training at this stage in her life. I’ve seen her get smaller and smaller dogs (we had Danes when I was growing up), but at this point any dog may be too much to walk, feed, and play with. I know she wouldn’t want to leave the burden of a dog on my dad in case mom should be the first to go.
How do you decide this? What has to happen to make you say, when this one goes, there will be no more? And how must that feel?