Monday, 25 March 2013

An Old Border Collie.

The humane decision was the hardest to bare. On a summer’s evening, he lay still on the green grass. His silky ears drooped elf-like as the flowers around him seemed to reflect the beauty of his personality. He did not bark anymore or bring his hoop to me begging me to play. The wind blew through his fur and on this day, he could not chase the wind and run down the garden. Today, the birds didn’t fly away and the squirrel didn’t mock him. They all sat on the garden fence wondering what had happened. These were his friends for many years. 

My tea and a half eaten croissant lay untouched. I remembered how he would take my croissant at teatime and run as fast as his paws could carry him. Robbie often looked back and laughed at me because he knew I could not run as fast as him. Time stood still.  The eerie nature of death spun around me affecting the trees, the wind, the flowers and the luscious grass. The sun was dead. The clouds had  returned. There was no sound of his jingling collar. The replay started in my head. 

Tears streamed down my eyes for my mind’s eye could only remember his wet nose nuzzling into my arm only a few hours ago. He did not know the importance of the decision I had to make. He came to me with his hoop and asked me to play with him as he had done every day for twenty two years. I had embraced him but I had to be strong. My eyes peered to the floor while the tears dropped uncontrollably. The floor was smeared with blood. The blood dropped from him yet he wished to play his last game of hide and seek or chase the birds down the garden. He waddled gradually down the garden obviously in pain. I knew today was the last day I would see my best friend. I had to make the decision to end his life. He had cancer and at twenty-two, his vet had stated that there was nothing to be done for my dog. 

Strength was the hardest thing to find as it is shrouded in the weakness of love. Human beings had always been prone to flaws and selfish traits but when the world had let me down; at home I knew Robbie had waited for me patiently. His barks would take the tears away and make me smile on the worst of my days. Today, though he was weak and didn’t bark to comfort me. Memories of how he had waited patiently for me outside school in the rain, refused to eat until I had dinner, woke me up when he saw someone in danger and pawed the emergency button to try and help my father, came running through my mind. 

This fateful day drove a sword through me. This pain crippled me.  He was only a dog but to me he had been my best friend for many years with his distinctive playful character. How could I kill the one I loved? Prayer was not my forte but today, I wanted to believe that through my decision, the one above would watch over my wonderful friend. Today, I needed to dial G for God and say “ Hey Mr God, take care of my best friend because it is time for you to look after him, make sure he has that same dog food and his hoop to play with”. I had no assurances. I simply had the powers of nature and my belief that Robbie would be safe, safe from the wickedness of age. 

My voice trembled as I asked and paid for two vets to terminate my dog in his own surroundings. Robbie had preferred flowers, his garden, his own furry quilt and I for one did not want him to be frightened. We laid our tired dog down for the last time. We stroked his black and white fur. The tip of his tail was white just like the first day he had been brought to me as a puppy. His tartar teeth showed as he panted playfully. His strength was leaving him and his whimpers indicated he was in pain. His coat of black and white silk grew cold. The injection had been given into his right paw, he  quivered then lay still. Gradually his pupils widened and our tears dripped upon his coat. 

Robbie was laid to rest at the bottom of our garden. We buried him with his hoop and toys. The gusts of wind were eerie and blew through me on that day. I sat by his grave for what seemed hours. Clouds came and went, the sky turned from white to black. The moon appeared, Robbie did not howl like he used to. The moon disappeared and the bright orange paint wiped the sky. It was a new day. 

Through the corner of my eye, I can still catch a glimpse of my best friend on a bright sunny day. Instinct tells me he is well taken care of; he plays in the gardens of heaven and visits me in my dreams. He yaps with his hoop insisting I play with him, shreds my newspapers, sits on the dining table and gobbles up all the food, chases the birds around the garden, talks to the rabbit  - afterall he still lives through the memories in my mind’s eye.