Friday, 17 July 2015


Not long after our dog TARA died, a friend asked me to
look after his four-legged friend for a while, so I did.  Two weeks
after my doggie-sitting term had ended, I bought a puppy, ZARA,
who was the final dog out of three that my family had over a nearly
26 year period.  Let me tell you something - people who don't like
dogs - or any animals in fact - and are untouched by an animal's
death, are unnatural.  There's something missing in them and
they're very probably latent serial killers.

But that's another subject.  When Zara was a few months
old and still in the process of getting her jags, I was sitting in the
vet's one evening and a dog could be heard whining behind a door.
The vet came out to speak to me, and I caught a glimpse of a black
dog which must've been tethered to a table leg or something.  As I
was speaking with the vet, the whining increased and the dog start-
ed scratching at the door and yelping.  I asked what was wrong
with it and the vet replied "It's getting put to sleep."

Anyway, after my business was completed, I made my
way home feeling a little sorry for the dog, but too delighted with
my own pup to dwell on it.  A few years later, I ran into a friend, who
mentioned that he'd been given the very canine that I'd once looked
after, because its owner couldn't keep it any more.  "What happened
to it?" I asked him.  "I had to get it put down because..."  I forget the
reasons why, but I asked him where he'd taken the poor dog, and,
sure enough, it was the very vet's where I'd taken Zara for
her course of injections.

I checked the timeline with him and it matched.  It was then I
realized that the poor creature had been the dog behind the door,
and must have recognized my scent or my voice - hence its frantic
scratching, whining and yelping in an attempt to be rescued from
what it must have sensed was its final fate.  And I had failed it,
and it had gone to its end unloved and unwanted.

Looking back now, I'm not sure what I could have done, if
anything, but it still bothers me every now and again to this day.
I'd only looked after it for a fortnight or so, and it wasn't as if it was
'my' dog, but that poor creature must've hoped I'd rescue it and I let
it down, unaware of its identity 'though I'd been.  Humans are often
pretty useless when it counts, and I was found amongst that par-
ticular number on that sad and pitiful day.  Alas, I no longer
even recall the doomed dog's name.

Regrets?  I've had a few...and this was one of them.


TC said...

1. You could not have known.

2. There was nothing you could have done. If your friend "had to" have the animal put down, then it was (presumably) hopelessly sick or injured, and it was too late for treatment.

That said, I agree that there is something missing in people who don't like dogs, and who are unaffected by an animal's death.

Kid said...

Unfortunately, TC, the dog was in perfect health. I think it had been passed from pillar to post once too often and understandably found it difficult to settle down in yet another new 'home'.

A woman I know recently had to have her cat put to sleep. The cats name was Sox, and a male friend of her's response, on hearing the news, was "Well, you'll just have to pull your 'socks' up and get on with things!" When upbraided for his lack of sensitivity, he replied "It's just a cat!"

That's what you call a bona-fide, first class, triple 'A' @rsehole!

Colin Jones said...

I've never owned a dog and I've never wanted to but I'm not "unaffected" by an animal's death or its' suffering - in my opinion it's far too easy to acquire an animal which means you have people who buy pets on a whim and then have no interest in them.

Kid said...

Yes, I've often thought that when someone buys a pet and then doesn't look after it properly, they should be put to sleep. (The owners, not the pets.)

Phil said...

We had to put our chinchilla down recently. It's traumatic. She lost a lot of weight and stopped eating. In the end she couldn't breathe she was gasping for air even with oxygen and the anti biotics weren't helping and you can't exactly operate on a chinchilla. She was 13 years old. She would eat raisins from your mouth and give you a little kiss. She was only a rodent but she was a member of the family know what I mean.

Kid said...

Sad story, Phil, and I know exactly what you mean. Pets are family and those that don't get that have something missing.

Graham said...

I've had to have three different pets put to sleep due to sickness. I was there when they put my dog to sleep and it made me regret not being there when our cats were.....I mean REALLY regret it. Now, I think that you need to be there with them, no matter how hard it is on you. My dog was old and afraid, and I like to think because I was there next to him, stroking his head as he passed, it was a little less frightening for him.

It was the saddest thing when they all died, because they ARE family and they love you unconditionally and will wait all day long for just a few minutes of contact with you (especially the dogs.....sometimes I think the cats are just biding their time until their plans of world conquest come to fruition).

Kid said...

Graham, have a read of my post 'One Last Walk' (type it into my home page's search box) and you'll see that I know exactlywhat you're talking about. And you're right about cats - I think they consider us as THEIR pets.

Philip Crawley said...

Great post - I felt sorry for the dog even though I'd obviously never met it, and I can identify with your sense of having failed the poor canine. It's called empathy and in my experience there are far too many people without it. Be it for putting yourself in someone else's place or being sensitive to what pets might be feeling. The guy who made the sox comment clearly is empathy-free (guess he thought he was a wit and turned out to be only half right). We had two cats, raised from kittenood, for many years, one living to the ripe old age of 17 and hardly ever needing a vet visit during his life. Kidney failure got him and I was with him for that final injection. Since then we have been dog owners, cats suited our lifestyle at that time, dogs do so more now; our first dog lived for nine years before a heart defect, which we knew he had, finally got the better of him. Our current dog is six and still behaves like a puppy - so much energy. Couldn't imagine life without a family pet.

Kid said...

I still have dreams in which Zara is still alive, Phil, and when I wake up, I look around to see where she is before remembering she's been dead for nearly 17 years. So I suppose I must miss having a pet, but I don't think I'll ever have another because, as time seems to go faster the older I get, its life would flash by too quickly for me. The last 11 or 12 years seem like only 3 or 4, whereas our middle dog Tara's (Zara's predecessor) 11 and a half years seemed longer than that. That's because I was only 16 when we got her, and I was 27 when she died, which seems a greater span of time when one is younger. I wish I had half the energy dogs have, Phil - even old ones.

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