So, What Was I Thinking?

December 5, 2005

So, What Was I Thinking?

Easy_1 Well, after three years of a full-time day job and full-time college classes on nights and weekends, the funerals of both my parents, one after a long and incredibly stressful dying process – I was thinking nothing in life was easy. And it was about damn time that something was.

That’s what I was thinking when a lumbering puppy mix between a lab and a whatever jumped over the fence started playing a game of over-size pawed footsie with me through her 4 by 6 foot enclosure at the we put down unwanted puppies county site they called the dog pound. And just as easy as she settled down on my lap for a nap on the ride home, that’s what I named her – Easy. And she was, mostly.

Of course, umpteen years later it’s easy to forget the three linoleum floors, two doors and a table top a young, gnawing half-lab caused me – but what the hell. They weren’t anymore troublesome than the holes she had dug in a distant part of my yard that a building inspector made me fill in before I could close when I sold that property. At least no one died.

Not long after getting her, that was my fear while walking her one day in a park around a new lake which had sprung up from the filling in of an old creek bed and a small valley. The rules required I keep her on a run and she had one – a chain, about thirty feet of it.

I was tossing out a stick and watching her swim and fetch it back when that damned must-be-dumb dog decided to grab onto the tip-top of an old birch tree that hadn’t had time to decay and fall to the bottom. She tried and twisted the top of that small tree and it pulled her down deeper – damned if she was going to let go without bringing it back to me. I was halfway to jumping in after her when she finally relented long before the birch ever would. She made it back to shore snorting water out of her black shiny nose. Scared the hell out of me that day, yes, she did.

Just like it scared hell out of me thirteen and some odd – fetch, catch it, and stop begging at the kitchen table – years later when the vet said she had to talk to me about the X-rays in the other room – the room with the shiny black image of a thigh bone that wasn’t where it belonged. It wasn’t even what it was supposed to be anymore, so deformed – freakish and malevolent, glowering from a light board on the wall.

My eyes rolled malignantly over each bump, break and perturbation of what should have been a sturdy bone that only looked like so much sadness to me now I could hardly stand to look. But I had to. No, I wasn’t going to see some magical answer in the X-ray the vet had missed. I just saw so much magic so quickly disappearing, eaten up from the inside, as it were, eating at the inside of me, too, now. Frozen, I couldn’t look away.

And so it was we came to be older, limping along together at another small lake in another small town all those years later and that damned dog Easy still loved the water every bit as much as she did when she nearly drowned in it so many good God damned years ago.

Why she stepped out into that mucky mess I’ll never know, but she did – finding herself unable to move, sunk down deep as she was, until all I could do was step in after her. Calf-deep in mud and knee deep in water I reached down and scooped her soggy ass up and cradled her until we both fell back on the bank – me half laughing, half crying and her just licking my face like she had done so many times, so many days over so many long years together. I cradled her there on the bank, in the sun light, warmed by so many beautiful memories.

Actually, I never stopped cradling her. I cradled her in the back seat of the car as her overly-long Labrador tongue lapped at the top of an open window unaware it was her final ride in a car, which she always enjoyed right to the end.

I cradled her as I lifted her up on the gurney and I cradled her even more and buried my face in her coat while the vet did her number. I cradled her as I felt everything that was so good and so God damned Easy all those years slip away into a relaxed mass of flesh I couldn’t comprehend but could only love as it became increasingly weighty in my shaking arms.

I can’t recall the things I said to her, though I know I said much. Whatever it was is buried somewhere deep down in my heart – where she is – where it and she will always be – so Easy, so beloved, so pure.

What was I thinking? That something in life could be Easy, I suppose. But I know better now. Don’t let people fool you, Me_and_eznothing in life is easy – and certainly nothing worthwhile. But some things are so beautiful and all but necessary you have to learn to accept the dreadful uneasiness they may inevitably bring one day. And such is life.

And such is the death of things we love, perhaps. It’s what it must be, I guess. But it sure as hell isn’t always Easy, either.

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  1. Daniel says:

    That’s a beautiful way to say good-bye. My sympathies, Dan.

  2. Sweetie says:

    Easy was your dog Dan?? So very sorry, I have a similar tale named Sheba. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I was nose to nose with her petting her head as the doctor did his thing. I am crying right now for you and Easy, but remember JMHO but All dogs go to Heaven.

  3. danascully says:

    I feel your loss, Dan. I’ve been through the same thing. Pets can become such wonderful allies and friends.

  4. toothfairy says:

    Dan I feel your pain because I have been there as well with my beloved “Chris” he was my first baby.
    You made the hard decision, you set her free.

  5. sprite says:

    This is a beautiful poem. :O) I beleive one day I will see all my precious ones. :O)
    Reading that brought tears to my eyes and down my face they streamed. I have been there so I know, she was a beautiful golden girl.It has been almost 3 years now but I still remember all the fond memories of all the love she gave us for 7 short years. That can never be taken away. It will always always remain in my heart.
    Thoughts and prayers for you. :O) Thanks for sharing. I have found it helps.

  6. islandamethyst says:

    Sorry to hear Dan…I know the feeling well.

  7. jadensmokes says:

    Condolences Dan. Dog truly is man’s best friend. Can’t write more, still crying from the news and the way you delivered it.

  8. abigail says:

    Oh man, that just SUCKS! I’m so sorry.

  9. penelope says:

    Dear Dan:
    I don’t know you personally, but I visit your weblog frequently. Please accept my condolences. I have lived through the deaths of 3 cats (two I had euthanized), but I can’t imagine how I will feel when it is one of my dogs’ time to go. You were right to do what you did– so don’t worry. Every so often, out of the corner of my eye, I see one of my departed cats, but when I turn to look, the image has disappeared. (It sounds crazy, but it has happened far too many times and at moments when I am not thinking of them at all.) Maybe Easy will visit you in a similar way. Keep your heart open to the possibility…

  10. linda vankampen says:

    Dan Goose bumps on my arms,swallowing hard,.Easy was a gift- who you appreciated and loved immensely. P. (cat) left 19 yrs ago,she still appears. Now have 17 and 18 yr old cats,both in kidney failure,both on IV’s for fluids every couple of has days, maybe… I know the twists of the heart!
    For the one closest to leaving, I have just created a CD of music that depicts her life..from her name, her spirit, her soul,etc…. Blessings Dan
    Easy’s story has blessed this board today.

  11. sprite says:

    Dan, It helps to share your feelings with others. Please know that we care and we know how you are feeling. I just rearead your story and cried again. My heart is broken for you.
    I will share my story as well. As I said above my heart goes out to you. I know as we all know that have had to go through this that it eats at your heart and ver soul. They give you unconditional love, and ask for nothing back. A little treat here and there but other than that they adore you. :O) This is about my girl Angel. :O)

  12. k.jeanne says:

    Sweet and lovely, Dan. Easy is lucky to be tucked in YOUR heart for safe keeping. Sounds like my Glory aka Party Girl: Lover of life valiant fighter, always a friend. She died at 14 from a degenerative muscle disease. She barked in the middle of the night to call me to her when she was dying. She was peaceful once I reached her and held her.

  13. Aunt Em says:

    Dan, I am so sorry, been through it twice, its the hardest thing in the world to go to. Godspead Easy, there is no more pain. What is left of you is the love that you brought.

  14. susan says:

    You were thinking what every dog lover was thinking….
    Thanks for sharing that with us (I type this as my dog sits in the best chair in the house watching me).

  15. sadie says:

    Ohhhh. Lots of hugs going your way. Lots of them.

  16. donnaanna says:

    Dan, I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry to read about your parents as well. Sounds like you have had a lot of pain in your life. My dog is 14 now and I often wonder how I will handle it when she goes. It’s just too bad that they can’t live as long as we do. Just try to take solace in the fact that she is at peace now. Thank you for sharing…

  17. Christina says:

    Oh, too many memories of a good dog gone.
    We all have them, you know.
    It doesn’t make it any easier.
    I’m so very sorry.

  18. They call times like these ‘passages.’
    While the heart weeps for what it lost, the soul is joyful for the love it has known.

  19. iwabwu says:

    Dan ~
    Sorry to hear about your loss. Thanks for saving a life from a shelter. They reward you many times. I’ve always felt it is better to have them for a short time and love them, than not to have known that loving little spirit.
    Peace be with your family.
    ~ Ibby ~

  20. weet says:

    “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
    Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
    We cherish memory as the only certain immortality
    never fully understanding the necessary plan.”
    ~ Irving Townsend ~

  21. Colorado says:

    Until I had a pet, I never knew how much they enrich our lives. They ask for little, but they give so much.
    With sincere sympathy.

  22. roy says:

    Easy was one lucky dog to have known a friend with so much love.
    Now all dogs in dogheaven are going to know about Dan.
    Take care, Dan.

  23. sandra says:

    Dan, I am now sobbing…. and I’m so sorry about your dog. You’re beautiful story was a tribute worthy of his love. I’m also sorry for the loss of your parents. We’re blessed by love, but, losing loved ones leaves us in a place of sorrow which will never make sense until the day we join them and they’re there to wipe away our tears.

  24. slappy says:

    Hey Dan,
    Guess I needed that cry. I’m sorry. Feel I’ve gotten to know you through your blog. So sorry for all your losses. What a beautiful and great dog. What a wonderful sharing of your experience. God is good. We are lucky enough to have people and animals in our lives to really enrich them. You must have had great parents, they raised a great son. love you dan, hang in there, we are all here for you.

  25. jennifer says:

    And one more thing that isn’t easy, Dan. . .reading your beautiful, heart-wrenching words. Easy was one lucky girl to be loved like that, and I’ll bet she knew it!

  26. 99.9 WRWV-FM says:

    Know it sounds funny
    But I just can’t stand the pain
    Girl I’m leaving you tomorrow
    Seems to me girl
    You know I’ve done all I can
    You see I begged, stole
    And I borrowed
    Ooh, that’s why you’re easy
    You’re easy like sunday morning
    That’s why you’re easy
    You’re easy like sunday morning

  27. CSI says:

    Dan – your story brought tears to my eyes. I have a dog, and have had to put one to sleep in the past. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  28. suzyqueue says:

    Dan, thank you for sharing your love for Easy with us. You’ve touched my heart deeply; what a beautiful memorial for a wonderful friend.

  29. newswatcher says:

    Dan, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and companion. I have to believe in the Rainbow Bridge. They will be waiting for us when we get there.
    Thank you for sharing.

  30. kate says:

    My thoat is in a knot. It hurts. So does my heart for your loss of Easy. Why did I have to read this at 11:06 PM. 🙁
    So sad for you.
    Life is never easy, until you have something like Easy in your life.

  31. frenchymom says:

    I am now in tears after reading your beautiful tribute. As ahe always has,my precious Maltese,Silky has jumped into my lap to kiss away my tears.
    Your tribute was truly touching. I lost a dog 14 years ago and still find it painful. While I know I will one day feel that pain again, the joy of my pets make the pain worthwile. After all, if it wasn’t worth having, it wouldn’t be painful to lose.
    I’m glad you have so many happy memories with Easy. I chuckled at the thought of the two of you falling back on the edge of a pond.
    Thank you for sharing something so close to your heart.

  32. Pundita says:

    “But some things are so beautiful and all but necessary you have to learn to accept the dreadful uneasiness they may inevitably bring one day.”
    For some reason this calls me to remember “Places in the Heart.” Deathless place. To give another a place in our heart is to touch God, I think.
    Thank you for sharing a profound teaching with us, and for the joyous friend you portrayed.

  33. truthbetold says:

    our dog who we adopted from the spca is named glory and she is just like my child – I wouldn’t know what to do without her – I know it is hard but maybe Dan you can go the shelter and adopt another friend to love – I think Easy would like that 🙂

  34. WstCoast says:

    What a beautiful story, but with an ending that has left a knot in my throat. I’ve been through it, too, with my pet. Your story brought up all of those memories. I’m so sorry, Dan, for the loss of your loyal, loving pet.

  35. reality says:

    That had to be one of the saddest, most heart wrenching descriptions of loss I have ever read in my life. Losing a loved one, be it animal or human is an inexplicably painful event. You Dan have so profoundly and eloquently put it into words. We most definitely can feel your pain. My sympathies.

  36. reality says:

    Dan if you would email me some nice pictures of your pet I would love to paint his portrait for you as a memorial to him/her.

  37. jolari says:

    Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you

  38. MoonShadow says:

    Oh man…I am sooo sorry, Dan.

  39. kim says:

    that brought back memories of my golden. i miss the old girl. sorry for your loss.

  40. Longtimelurker says:

    Dan –
    Thank you for being there for her in the end – a courageous and unselfish act – an “Easy” decision made by you during a lot of anguish.
    More importantly – Thank you for giving her a life.

  41. John says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your beloved friend. So sorry for your loss. I’ve had three dogs, and two had to be put down. It’s the most heart-breaking decision, but also the most humane, they look to us to end their pain and suffering. I hope some day you’ll take another friend into your heart. Again, deepest sympathy.

  42. lionhunter says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your doggie, Dan. Growing up on a farm in rural southeast Texas we lost a few pets to rattlesnake bites, speeding cars, even coyote bait. But every time we lost a doggie, we cherished the next pet we got (or got stuck with) a little more.
    I do hope you do the same when you’re ready- I know I don’t have to tell you how many animals are out there that need a good home, and I firmly believe that dogs at least are intelligent enough to know they’re in good hands and be very grateful for it. As for my personal experience, I recommend you consider rescued racing grayhounds. When you’re ready.
    It is amazing to me how human beings have the capacity to care so deeeply about a pet, or a cause, or a missing girl who they’ve never met and her family. God bless.

  43. just_lurking says:

    Sympathies 🙁
    Lost my dog last June, thankfully it was quick and happened at home. He was old apparently, 90 something years by the chart at the vet’s office. Seems the bigger the dog, the faster they age – which seems backwards to me.
    Donated the money I was saving for a purebred to the Humane Society after Katrina. I’ve been to the pound a few times and still haven’t found another dog that touches me. Guess it takes a while to get over the loss. And I also think pets, the right pets, the pets that we are meant to be with somehow find us – at least that’s what my cats tell me, especially the one that was a stray, cared for by my neighbors, the one that followed me into my house one night six years ago when I was bringing the dog inside.
    Luck and yah, nothing is Easy.

  44. klrclsr says:

    Dan, I feel your pain and loss. I lost my “Ellie’ after 13 years. She was such a blessing.
    Remember you gave your dog a forever home, love, friendship, sharing and caring, you have done something not many do for their animals.
    No one will ever take their place. sincerest sympathies.

  45. Erik says:

    awww, shoot, I did not intend to cry, but I new it was coming. Yes, I’ve lost a couple myself, a black lab I had from college on. To my family dogs are better than people, you can trust them more. Peace Dan.

  46. luvmycairn says:

    my heart breaks for you Dan. The loss is enormous. May you find peace in the memories of Easy’s happy life. God bless Easy

  47. Rose says:

    Dan, I was feeling quite content to just read your blog, but now I have to do a little more. I am so sorry for your loss, it is a familiar one to me also. Its just heartbreaking to lose a good friend…
    be well

  48. mark says:

    I along with so many others, send condolonces to you Dan. I as the others have lost several dogs. One of which was stolen from me. That one in particular, but all of them are always in my thoughts. I still hold out hope that I may find him again.

  49. Mano says:

    I was lucky to know Easy. And she was a great girl. I am sorry for your loss.