The Paradox of the Dog

Note to reader: I wrote this while I was teaching a class on writing. The lesson was “show v. tell”. While it is sad, it is also what happened written as a narrative. Thanks for reading.


It’s well known that dogs don’t live as long as people, but seeing your beloved pet leave this world is as just as traumatic as losing a friend or family member. Dogs are our fur-babies, big or small, all squiggles that shake their bodies from head to waggly tail. Young dogs, old dogs, house dogs, farm dogs, working dogs and show dogs; total devotion on four furry paws. 

Lying helplessly on the cool walkway, our beloved Sophie poodle laid unresponsive to our presence. Weak, yellowed with jaundice with splotchy red patches on her belly from being unable to stand and pee. Her eyes glued together with sticky green bilirubin mucus seeping from her damaged-beyond-repair liver. 

We knew then, that something had to be done. Four days in a veterinary hospital, tubes snaking from her body to the bag of fluid keeping her alive, foul-smelling vomit and feces, separated from the comforts of home, her time of rest was due. She fought hard — rallying occasionally to lift her head, standing courageously to take a few steps, yet unable to defeat the toxins warring against her aging body. 

“Should we take her home? Let her pass there?” I asked my husband meekly.

“Home?” His incredulity was surprising. I thought perhaps she would be comforted by the familiarity, the sounds and smells, that she might just “pass” more peacefully there.

“No,” he finally whispered. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I knew he was right.

The young vet approached us. She wasn’t in her usual scrubs. It was her day off. But she was there, offering a more peaceful solution, if that was what we wanted.

We did. We didn’t. Yet we did. 

“When would you like to …?” she began.

“Now,” I said. Let’s do it now.

It didn’t take long. A needle inserted into the IV tube. Her jagged breathing became softer, slower, until finally, it fell silent. Her peace had come. The price of our sorrow, oceans of tears and great gasping sobs. It was the right decision. 

Published by donnageisler

Former marketing professional turned teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Living in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Lover of poodles, large and small.

2 thoughts on “The Paradox of the Dog

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