Dignity

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I sat in the waiting room trying to immerse myself in an article about the reasons why we talk funny to our pets, and that it’s healthy. I tried not to listen to the Vet as she spoke, but I pulsing help it. The door was less than 10 feet away, and was not solid oak. My father sat next to me, silent, also reading. Some article about fatty tumors in large breed dogs.

I couldn’t focus on anything, but the muffled laughter and conversation coming from the examination room. Kandy was silent the whole time. She made no sound, which was a relief considering her leg had been bothering her for so long. It wasn’t until recently that we noticed a bulging mass around her hip, and wondered if we would lose yet another beloved dog to cancer.

After about a half hour my mother and the dog emerged. Carefully, but still happily, Kandy limped over to me. She sat at my feet, smiling her puppy smile as mom and the Vet went to look at some vitamins and pills. Kandy’s tongue lolled out of her mouth as she gave me her puppy smile. She always seemed so happy. It was hard to tell if anything was wrong in the first place. She was always such a trooper. Pushing herself to the max. The husky in her was strong and beautiful, while the lab in her was sweet and playful.

She was the perfect combination of energy, and intellect sometimes.

Once she had gotten upset that I did not turn on the television when she knew Meerkat Manor was on Animal Planet. She was angry. Angry enough to look right at me when she pooped in the corner to show her disapproval, with eyes that said “No one else is home. No one will believe you.” Mom did believe me. There was a stain on the carpet to prove it.

On the way home my mother fumed to herself about how odd it was that she and the dog, both suffered from arthritis, and not here on different dosages of a few of the same medications for it. The Bet had informed us that she was not going to get better, but she would eventually deteriorate. It was only a matter of time. I could already see the struggle within my mother. We didn’t want to make Kandy uncomfortable and we didn’t want her to be in pain, but at the same time…you hate to put an animal down for something treatable, and worse, something you also live with.

I have two cats as well. More about them later. But one of them I particular, Oliver, is an animal I worry about hitting too close to home. He’s orange. Sweet. Huge. Like really huge. An enormous cat. I often wonder if he will develop diabetes. I wonder if I really would have the heart to put him down. I tell myself I do, but it still hurts. It’s too close to home. It’s too real. I sit here keeping myself alive with insulin injections, and wonder if it isn’t possible to do the same with them. The. I consider how selfish I want to be to keep him alive. Then it goes deeper, because I wonder again at the amount of dignity one owes another living being. If I am willing to keep living….is he?

I don’t know. I have seen him as an endearing companion, but also….just a cat.

I wondered if my mother deals with the same struggle inside. Seeing as I am made from her DNA, I can only imagine she does.

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