“Good boy, good boy, good boy…” The man’s reassuring voice filled the air, as it had many times before. “Good Boy” had been his name ever since that long-off day of pain and fear. The man, then a stranger, had coaxed him, limping and torn, into the man’s car and taken him to the vet, ultimately giving him a home. The man had called him “Smithers,” and other names since then: “Young Man” in casual conversation, “Bad Dog” when he’d sprinted off in irresistible chase through the weeds or peed on his sleeping arch-enemy, the cat.
But he knew his real name was “Good Boy” by the way the man murmured it during years of friendly hugs and scratches, and, after a good long life, the way it was voiced with concern when merely walking across the room became a difficult task, and then with more urgency during those distressing times when his muscles locked up in spasms and his bladder loosed uncontrollably.
Always the stroking hands and the reassuring voice of the man were there. And now they were back in the vet’s office, as they had been in the beginning, and Good Boy heard the sadness in the man’s voice and wished he could in turn stroke the man’s fur gently and call him “Good Man” to reassure him that everything was all right. If sadness was being apart, then joy was in being together, in the now, in the final breath, in feeling the touch and hearing his name, “Good Boy.”
Ok, crying my eyes out. Addy, Jewel, Ginger, Tiger Max, Good Boys (and Girls). You hit the target, Sis. Good work of heart!
Sorry to make you cry, unless you needed to, in which case you are welcome! Thanks for the kind words!
How heartbreaking. Was this something you just went through? If so, very sorry to hear it. 😦
I used to work at my boss’ home office, and this was something that happened between him and his dog. I tried to be supportive. When he finally had to put Smithers to sleep, it was really hard for him. I wrote this months ago, and decided to post it now that he’s had some time to recover. I have had to say goodbye to a number of pets over the years, and it is always very sad.
Well-written and incredibly sad. It brought me right back to the moment we had to put our 13-year-old Black Lab Catfish down when he had a brain aneurism that burst. I recall sitting on the floor in the exam room at the vet’s, Catfish’s head resting on my lap as I stroked his back and talked to him softly, letting him know that he wasn’t alone as he drifted away. People who don’t have pets will never understand the unconditional love they give us and the anguish we feel when it’s time to let them go.
So true, you get me.