I took my Pitbull to the vet for a follow-up visit after we spawn her. While we were waiting for the assistant to bring her back, the look of a black Labrador caught my attention. His black eyes expressed a deep and sad look.
Curiously, I asked the doctor what was wrong, and he told us that the dog was sick, and sadly the lab results showed no improvement. And the owner was considering the option to put him to sleep.
That’s when I understood why the look of that dog made an impression on me. It was the same look that my Topy had several years ago.
Topy was a Maltese-French Poodle crossbreed my daughter received as a Christmas gift when she was three years old. He looked like a Maltese but had a Poodle face and long curly hair.
He lived with us for almost 14 years, in four houses and three different cities. In the end, the age and problems from an accident weighed too much to bear.
We took him to the vet, and he gave us the sad news. He had cancer, and though he could prescribe some medications, there was no recovery in sight. Also, that he would be in pain most of the time. So, the best option was to put him to sleep.
I wonder the best option to whom.
To the doctor so he could charge the insurance?
To my daughter so she wouldn’t see him suffer?
Or to the dog so that he could feel no more pain?
After an almost endless weekend by his side, rubbing his tummy, patting him on the head, and scratching behind his ears as he loved me to do.
I thanked him for all the wonderful years and the memories he shared with our family, for his mischievousness and the happy times playing with my daughter or laying at our feet.
He looked at me peacefully.
You could say it was because of the medication, but I’ve felt like he listened, understood, and somehow approved our decision.
The next day I took him to the vet by myself, for it was too sad for my daughter.
As the doctor inserted the needle and the fluid went inside, I hold him in my arms and told him he was always a loved part of our family.
He looked at me as to say thank you and closed his eyes…
Since that day, over fifteen years ago. I’ve always wondered if our pets understand what we say. Why we take them to the vet for their shots. But most of all, if they comprehend that we make this tough choice because of how much we love them.
Or if that sad look in their eyes is just a plea to help them end the pain.
Anyway, as my thought returned to the doctor’s office, I saw the little dog’s family by his side. I wanted to walk by their side and tell them I understood the pain they were going through. His precious dog also knew that was the best choice because of the enormous love they felt for him.
But I restrained myself from doing it and I just kept looking at those sad black eyes.
In silence told him, don’t worry, buddy, everything will be ok, your family loves you, and they are doing this to end your pain.
And my last thought before he closed his eyes was:
Please tell my Topy that we still love and miss him every day.
@Jose Luis Ontanon Nunez 2021