I put my 15-year-old lab, Aggie, down in November. It was a very strange experience. While I witnessed both of my parents’ deaths, I was really aware of the fact that I was calling the shots for an animal that had no agency. I knew what my folks said. I knew what they once believed. No such luck with Aggie.
I’ve killed a lot of animals in my life, from livestock to vermin to adolescent cruelty. As I get older, death seems harder. My earlier justifications seem kind of weak now. I wince when I hear a mousetrap snap.
And, of course, a dog is a special thing. I didn’t know how much you could love a dog.
All I could think was that if the roles were reversed, I’d be OK with Aggie deciding my fate. If she gave the doctor the nod after carrying me in and having me shit and piss all over her, I wouldn’t think I was getting a bum deal. I think I would thank her.