I was reviewing photos and came across this one of Achilles. He was a good boy.
I went through some photos today. Came across this one of now gone on ahead ACDx Stella (foreground) and Achilles, and smiled. I was privileged to share years with them.
You may remember that we let go of Achilles, aka Chili Dog, earlier this year.
Our vet clinic is in a network which gives people who let go of a pet, buy and plant a tree in the pets’ memory. So there’s been an informal ceremony every October since the year 2000. The municipality generously allows this to happen in a public park. We’ve planted trees for BoJo, Kendal, and Stella. So of course we bought a tree for Achilles. I put in a request for specific species, a Red Oak (Quercus rubra), which is native to both Texas (where he and I came from) and Ontario.
The ceremony was today and it’s a fine October day – mostly sunny, cool, and breezy. I was very, very pleased to find a healthy Red Oak sapling tagged with Chili’s name. So we planted it. It was no trouble at all, just like Achilles was. It’s near Stella’s and Kendal’s trees.
I may not live long enough to sit in its shade. That’s fine.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. -Greek proverb
We let go of Achilles Saturday. He quite abruptly became lethargic. Had difficulty standing, refused food, so we went to the emergency vet.
The exam revealed that his pulse was thready, she was unable to clearly his heartbeat, his paws were cold. Something sinister (the vets’ exact word) was happening. it would have taken extensive testing and diagnosis to find out what was going on. Considering his age (14? 16? More?), aggressive action was problematic. We made the hard decision to let him go as gracefully as possible.
When we adopt a dog we implicitly make a bargain that we will be a responsible owner, which includes making difficult decisions.
This is the part of that bargain that really sucks.
Nonetheless I would not have it otherwise. As my brother wrote this morning, ‘It really sucks that our dear four legged friends will almost certainly die before we do. Even knowing that I would not give up the love, affection, friendship and fun they give us.’
The Bentley is a forehead blaze common to Australian Cattle Dogs and ACD crosses. When an ACD goes on ahead, the ACD world says ‘His (her) Bentley is glowing brightly.’
Chili’s glows brightly now.
My treasured Achilles, asleep.
Achilles, dozy dog on his cushy bed.
I thought it good to revisit a photo taken one year ago today. Handsome, treasured Achilles.
Achilles patiently watches and waits while I take a few photos.
I have never seen such an exquisite snowflake as this one, on Achilles’ ear. Unfortunately for you, my reader, he moved a fraction of a second before the shutter tripped.