Received a call from Jessica, my little sister-in-law, a couple of hours ago. She was sobbing uncontrollably, and I was scared something terrible had happened. I immediately thought of her parents. Were they OK? Was she OK?
“Is my sister there?” she said, bawling.
“No,” I said. “Are you alright?”
“We had to put Rosie down,” she replied. “We put her down.”
Initially I was relieved that no human was hurt. Thenâ€”the sadness. Rosie was a 14-year-old golden lab. Jessica is 20, so she pretty much spent her entire life with the dog. I never had an intensive emotional attachment to Rosie, though I greatly enjoyed her. She was laughably dumb … in an adorable way. She never seemed to fully understand whether to come or go, or what exactly was going on. Her breath could be absolutely brutal (an odd mixture of motor oil and moldy oatmeal), yet she was an incredibly loving, affectionate dog. Like my dad, you could scratch her back for hours and she wouldn’t move. As is the case with most of us, she just wanted love, attention and a little food when she was hungry.
Rosie had been diagnosed with cancer, and she put up a good fight. By the end she was blind, deaf and beaten down by a tumor-laced body, yet she continued to waddle along and find her way. Yesterday, Jessica told me, she had a horrible turn for the worse. She fell … couldn’t walk … lost her will.
They put her down this morning.