My dog is dying. There's nothing I can do for him except to keep him company and comfortable; the massive tumor on his shoulder could not be removed, and now has begun to go necrotic, rotting from the inside out. The vet has bandaged it, but he's soaked through two sets of bandages and I feel horribly guilty - guilty that I didn't catch the tumor sooner, guilty that there wasn't anything I could do once the tumor was found and deemed inoperable due to anemia, guilty that I've decided to help him out of his pain on Monday, guilty that I wish I'd done it sooner.
Nevin, my good dog, knows none of this, of course. He only knows what is now... the ebb and flow of pain, managed by pills that he's obliging enough to eat without being forced. He doesn't seem to think of the past, of when he was happy and healthy; he doesn't seem to think of the future, or wonder what it will bring. He just knows Now.
I am the human in this relationship. The memories of Nevin in happier times belong to me to hold in trust; the knowledge of the future, when I take him for his last visit to the vet, is mine to hold as well, even though I don't want it. I'm having trouble with the Now, seeing him lying and trembling on his dog bed or hiding under my bed and refusing to come out. I can't help thinking that I should have insisted that we put him to sleep on Friday, despite my family's objections... my husband and son had a camp out to go to, and my sister-in-law wanted to have her chance to say goodbye, too. In the Now, I want this to be over for him, without suffering, as much as I don't want him to go - want him to somehow defy the vet's diagnosis and heal.
I wish I wasn't the one in charge here, wish his fate wasn't in my hands. I wish Nevin could make the decision for me, and pass quietly in my arms like my beloved Riley-dog did, in the sunshine of the back yard, not needing help from the vet. But I am the human, and I am in charge.
Sometimes, it really sucks to be the human in the relationship.
Nevin, in happier days.