Two events I knew were coming up, one deeply dreaded, one happily anticipated, happened last week.
My dear dog Duke was getting old (nearly 13 must be like 100 in German Shepherd years) and his legs were slowly giving up on him. We were still trying to make his life comfortable, trying all sorts of pain medication, but the decision that it simply was enough seemed so subjective, we were living in a grey area. When is it really enough, when do you decide he would be better off gone, is he in pain, is he still happy? Questions continuously on my mind for months. There seemed no right or wrong answer, but I did set one clear cut-off; if he cannot walk anymore it would be too much stress for him to have a joyful life. And then last week Thursday night while wandering through the house, his hind legs give up and he couldn’t get up again. On Friday there were no improvements, at his age surgery would seem a folly. So I decided the dreaded moment had come, I wish I would never have to do this but I had to say my goodbyes. 5 of his 13 years he spend with my boyfriend and me, adopted at the age of 8 as a dog that was deemed by many as better put down. Not socialised, horribly insecure, constant tail-chasing (and chewing even) and growling at everything he did not know. Well, never underestimate the ability of dogs to bounce back, to still gain trust. With a little love and patience he turned into the most wonderful, loving, sweetest and cuddly dog, accompanying me on so many walks through fields and forest (and as it turned out addicted to eating apples). Thanks for all those wonderful memories Duke, you will be dearly dearly missed.
And then exactly one week after saying goodbye I got the keys to my new apartment, the first one I ever really own. And we move on, busy with painting, packing, and demolishing. Even though it seems like such a cruel coming together of events, I’m thankful for the distraction. The idea of an association free new home is appealing, not expecting your dog to appear out of certain rooms, simply because he has never been there. Not expecting the noise of his feet approaching, because he never walked on those floors. Making a clean start, making new memories, but never forgetting the wonderful times we had.