I married into mutts. Danny adopted two rescues about a year before we met. But over the past 10 years—two dating, eight wed; seven moves, five states—I came to love Monkey and Shug as my own.
We lost Monkey on Thursday. A combination of diabetes and Cushing’s disease left us little option but to put her down. The vet came to our house and we all sat on the floor—me, Danny and Shug—and through sobs, we told Monkey we loved her while she took her final breath.
I have some serious regret about my decline in attention for the dogs over the past few years; they took a backseat for me when our son Jude was born three years ago. In her passing, Monkey is reminding me of the very reason I started J&T in the first place. And that is: live for now. Walk dogs now. Find time for family and friends now. Chase dreams now. Tomorrow is not promised. That will be Monkey’s legacy to me.
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I emailed a friend who recently had his dog euthanized for advice. This is what he wrote back:
ANY TIME you put your dog to sleep is a bad, bad time. That time is coming for every dog owner. Just know this, and please tell Danny, that there is a good way to not have this intense pain and tears. And that way is to never own a dog. What an empty life that would be, dog-less.
It reminded me of a phrase that my wife and I use for strength in tough times. We leaned on it when we lost a baby 24 weeks into a pregnancy, and again a year later when my sister passed away suddenly. And that is: Everything worth doing hurts like hell. To love something, you have to give your whole self to the cause and risk the pain that comes along with that.
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In the spirit of The Ensemble, I wanted to pass along a couple links today. Two writers I greatly respect have written columns about losing their dogs and they’ve been comforting to re-read:
- Peter King: Requiem For A Dog
- Bill Simmons: One Final Toss For The Dooze
- Peter King: One Goodbye, Lots Of Football
And the origin of the phrase, ‘Everything worth doing hurts like hell,” comes from a short fiction story printed in The Atlantic in 1997:
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