Sometimes it IS a Matter of Life and Death

I’d forgotten what it feels like to contemplate death, to hold a life in my hands and be forced to make a decision between life and death. It’s a terrible feeling.

I lay awake Sunday night contemplating what I would do if faced with that decision on Monday, if the vet said Sophie’s little problem was life threatening or life ending, if I had to give the thumbs up or thumbs down.

I feel so stuck sometimes with the responsibility of three dogs hanging over my head, preventing me from traveling at will, holding me back from being carefree and spontaneous. It makes me crazy when I’m in the throes of a story that moves through my mind faster than I can get the words on paper only to have to stop fifteen times to let the dogs out and in and out and in and in and out, to check on the mad barking and the door rattling and the incessant cat/squirrel/butterfly chase in the backyard. It makes me crazy! (I know, I said that already. But it makes me crazy!)

I think to myself, Never again! No more dogs! And I fantasize what my life will be like when my days are free to roam at my leisure without having to rush home; when I can get up in the morning when I want to rather than at the insistence of a dog who’s spotted a gecko on the screen door; when I can walk barefoot through my kitchen late at night without stepping in puddles of slobber or whirling eddies of dog hair that pile up between twice-daily sweeps. But to get to that day, I will have to go through three deaths and the weight of that is more than I can bear.

When faced with the prospect of actually losing one of my tormentors, I find that I am a puddle of goo just waiting to happen.

dog and butterfly

Dog and Butterfly (click link for 3LeggedDogInk)

There are so many aspects to consider when making life’s tough decisions. Sometimes it feels like we can’t go on living with whatever little inconvenience is stuck in our craw, when a splinter turns into a stake through the heart, all melodrama and hyperbole. But sometimes it is a matter of life and death and every thought you’ve ever thunk falls away. Every life is precious and beautiful and worth living to its fullest. Even if it is only to chase one more monarch through the honeysuckle or pounce on a lizard in the moonlight.

I discovered yesterday that when push comes to shove, there is only life. One day, the alternative will present itself and the time will be right. For now, for Sophie–and for me–life is the only way to go.

6 responses to “Sometimes it IS a Matter of Life and Death

  1. Though they wrap me in a thick layer of responsibility, I wouldn’t be without my two. Interesting article, thank you for posting.


  2. Thanks for commenting, Maria. Pets do make life interesting!


  3. That is so true. Death is just too final. I don’t think I’d be able to let my dogs go too, and I hope I’ll never have to make that decision.


  4. For me, of the many decisions I have made in my life, include ones that were completely life altering such as; divorce, moving across the country, having children, and returning to school when my kids were little were difficult. However, making the decision to euthanize my sweet girl, Java, was quite possibly the hardest decision, and most heart wrenching one I have ever made. More often than not, I question whether I made the right choice. Only one other time have I had to do that and I know then there was no choice but with Java it still eats at me. Very sorry that you had to contemplate this fate, glad to know she will be alright and cannot wait to see you.


  5. Hi Amy. Thanks for reading and commenting. We have to trust that we make the best possible decisions for our pets with love and compassion and I’m sure that given the circumstances, your decision with Java was the best and only choice. My experience with Sophie is giving me a new perspective on my life and where I put my attention. As much as I believe that We Are One, I must also accept this passage I came across yesterday in “The Four Agreements Companion Book”: Light is the messenger of Life; it contains all information, all power, all possibilities, and all potential of Life. Light comes from everywhere and fills everything. Different frequencies of light act as a mold or blueprint for all the different forms of Life. There is only one living being manifesting in billions of forms.” And I am happy to experience the form that is Sophie.


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